International (MNN) – Three years ago, Barna Research Group asked this question: Is evangelism going out of style?
The findings say there’s a lot of talk in North America, but not a lot of action. When asked if they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, 73% of born-again Christians said Yes. Yet, the Barna report notes that “evangelicals also have among the highest rates of failure in follow-through from conviction to action when it comes to sharing their faith. Nearly one-third (31%) believe they should evangelize but have not done so–at least within the past year.”
To that, Mark Kordic of The Seed Company says, “The good news is: it’s not on the decline worldwide, and all it takes is a remnant. Even if ‘millions’ are involved as the remnant, ‘millions’ can reach the two billion [who have yet to hear the Gospel].”
Yet, that message seems to be getting lost among America’s Middle Class (largely, also the middle-aged), according to the same Barna report. That prompts David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, to ask, “Among these groups, has the Christian community lost a sense of urgency for those outside the faith?”
That question is also prompting a call to action. This week, a coalition of like-minded groups are revealing the International Day for the Unreached (IDU) at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tennessee. The Alliance for the Unreached is comprised of Reach Beyond, Operation Mobilization, The Seed Company, Missio Nexus, and Bibles For The World. Each ministry has a different approach to reaching out with the Gospel to those who have never had a chance to meet Christ.
You might be wondering: “Another international prayer event?” Or, perhaps you might be wondering how IDU might be different from the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Kordic explains, “It’s really modeled after that day, and that day is kind of a subset of the larger number of two billion who’ve never–or seldom–heard the name of Jesus.” Keeping them straight is easier when you remember their function.
For the first IDU, it’ll be held on May 15, 2016–Pentecost Sunday–because Pentecost marked the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church, equipping believers to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
This year, the IDU Alliance is calling on individuals, churches, and faith-based groups to pray, give and go–to put names to the faces of those billions. Learn about their countries, tell their stories, roll up your sleeves and put faith to action, says Kordic. “It really is the whole business of the Church to go into the darkness of humanity and share the hope of Jesus. You know, with technology and partnership, we’re closer to reaching that two billion than ever [before].”
Pentecost also set the precedent, when you consider that more than 3,000 people came to Christ upon hearing the Gospel in their own languages and context. The goal of IDU: to reignite a passion among believers to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Sound huge? It is. But reaching that goal starts with the first step, suggests Kordic. “We’ve got a 30-day prayer guide that day after day, somebody can be involved in, praying specifically for areas of the world that have never heard Jesus’ name. And then we’ve got a manifest for the unreached that is really biblically-based, that we’re asking people to sign.”
There are a variety of free downloadable resources, like the prayer guide, available at www.dayfortheunreached.org.