What COVID-19 can teach the Church about reaching the unreached

By May 13, 2020
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International (MNN) — The International Day for the Unreached is coming up on May 31. The unreached are people who’ve never heard the name of Jesus and have no idea He died for them. And the current COVID-19 pandemic paints a poignant picture of why believers should care.

Global Disciples is part of the Alliance for the Unreached, and we recently spoke with Tefera*, Executive Vice President of the Alliance with Global Disciples. Tefera says the world’s urgent response to mitigate the coronavirus is an example of the urgency the Church needs when approaching unreached people groups.

MTA New York City Transit personnel perform disinfectant sanitization aboard an R-160 train in the Coney Island Yard on Tue., March 3, 2020, as a precautionary measure in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo, caption courtesy of Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit via Flickr: https://bit.ly/2xWo166)

For example, New York City is seeing some of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the United States. Medical workers across the nation are rushing to answer New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for help.

Tefera says, “His plea for health care workers to come and rescue people from this COVID-19 pandemic is a great reminder for me to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers among the unreached people groups.”

According to Worldometer, the highest global death toll so far for the coronavirus in one day was 8,429 deaths on April 17.

In contrast, Tefera says, “About 50,000 people die every day without a single opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus in the way they understand…. In other words, those dying without a single opportunity to hear [the Gospel] are five times more than the people dying with COVID-19 daily.”

Do our hearts break for those dying without Jesus the same way they break for those dying daily from the virus? Do we feel the urgent tug to do something?

(Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)

Global Disciples trains near-culture workers to reach unreached people groups with the Gospel and raise up disciples for Christ. Tefera was recently in Vietnam training Christian leaders with a desire to bring Jesus to people groups in northern Vietnam.

Tefera says, “One of the participants started telling us that he is working with the Sila people group, which is really about 800 people in Vietnam but over 3,000 people in the whole world. They don’t have Scripture in their own language and are virtually without a witness to the Gospel. Some of the people came from Tay people, which is more than 1.8 million unreached with the Gospel. Some came from Mouang, more than 1.4 million people unreached with the Gospel. Some came from Nung, almost over one million unreached.”

“Hearing their testimony, my heart was crying. The Church of Jesus Christ needs to do something.”

That’s why a movement like the International Day for the Unreached is so important. It’s a time for the global Body of Christ to come together with one purpose – to bring the good news of Jesus to every tribe, tongue, and nation who still don’t know Him.

(Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)

As we approach the International Day for the Unreached, Tefera offers a few ways believers can pray:

“Number one, we have to pray for the Lord to prepare the hearts of the unreached people groups.

“Number two, we have to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers. Most of the unreached people groups reside or live in a restricted area — political restrictions, religious restrictions, there are many restrictions. So we have to pray for the Lord of the harvest to raise workers in close proximity to go and reach those unreached people groups with the Gospel.

“And also, we have to pray [for] this COVID-19 global pandemic to open new ways for countries to collaborate as they are collaborating with one another to defeat this disease. Let us pray for the countries to collaborate so that those closed doors [to the Gospel] will be opened.

“Finally, the key part is for the Church to unite together [and] to collaborate together to reach the unreached people groups around the world.”

To learn more about Global Disciples and support their Great Commission ministry, click here!

“What it will take [is] the entire Body of Christ from all over the world…carrying one mission Jesus has given us — [to] collaborate together, share resources together, and work together to reach these unreached people groups.”



Header photo courtesy of Brett Zeck via Unsplash.

*Last name omitted for security purposes.

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