International (MNN) – The International Day for the Unreached (IDU) is just a few days away. Are you ready?
Wayne Pederson is the Executive Director and chairman of IDU. He says, “The International Day for the Unreached is made up of a dozen or more organizations whose main purpose is to reach places of the world that are less than two percent Christian.”
This Pentecost Sunday, they will examine the different aspects of the Great Commission. What is it? Why is it important? What’s standing in the way of us completing this? Can the Great Commission be fulfilled in our lifetime?
Furthermore, Pederson says, “We’re trying to raise the awareness of North American Church to the cause of the unreached around the world.”
It cannot be denied that the numbers describing the unreached are staggering.
“There are about three billion people that have not had the opportunity to hear the Message of Christ. Not only don’t have the opportunity, but there are no churches, no missionaries, no Bibles in their language or their people group.”
And yet today, very few Church resources are going towards reaching the unreached, and a large portion of the Church is uninvolved in these efforts completely.
What’s Stopping You?
Some people may feel that this is simply too large of a problem to deal with. Others may feel like it doesn’t concern them. Pederson has an answer for both of those dilemmas.
First of all, he says we have to consider our motivation as Christians: “When we hear that… about 70,000 people a day are dying without the knowledge of Christ, that should be enough to compel any Christ-followers to get serious about this.”
And as to the problem being too large to deal with, Pederson says we have to remember that we are called the Body of Christ. We may be many members, but we’re in this effort together. And that’s how the Gospel will reach to the ends of the earth.
Pederson says together, we have enough time, talent, and treasure to reach all who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“I think when we break it out, there are enough resources here in this country—or in this continent—to be able to take on this challenge.”
One of the goals of IDU is to make the larger Body of Christ aware of what is happening within missions, and that the Great Commission isn’t just up to the few who are called to be missionaries. This is the responsibility of the Church.
That’s why IDU is held on Pentecost Sunday.
“This is the day in the Church calendar in the first century where Christians from all parts of the known world came and heard the Good News of Jesus Christ for the first time, in their own language. And 3,000 people… became followers of Jesus that day. And that was every language group in the known world in the Roman Empire.
“And we’re using the Pentecost Sunday to say this is a time when we need to reach out to every language group, every people group, so that many more can hear in our known world.”
And God is doing great things through those who are sharing the Gospel. While the numbers of the unreached are staggering, the numbers of people coming to the Lord are something to rejoice about. Pederson says, “We know that there are 3,000 people an hour that are accepting Christ each and every day.”
Pentecost Sunday and IDU take place just a few days after the start of Ramadan. This Muslim holy month is significant for movements like IDU.
“We consider that the Muslim people are not unreachable. They’re just unreached. It’s estimated that only 10 percent of foreign missionaries work among the Muslims, though Muslims make up 37 percent of the non-Christians in the world.
“We don’t need to be afraid or keep our distance from Muslims. There are many in the Islamic tradition that are looking for a new reality. And we know that people are coming in by the hundreds through dreams, through revelations… many are coming to Christ through media!”
He continues, “Ramadan should remind us of this huge unreached people group in the Islamic culture and how we need to focus our attention on loving them. They are not the enemy. They are people for whom Christ died. And we need to love them in the name of Jesus.”
Where do you fit into all of this?
IDU has a number of resources that can help Christians get involved in reaching the unreached.
“One of the things that the International Day for the Unreached is providing is a handbook for Christians to pray,” Pederson says. “And this will give them specific information about specific unreached people groups they can pray for. And you can find that on our website. You can download it from dayfortheunreached.org. But that’s the beginning of the process—to see who those unreached people groups are and to begin to pray.”
And, this Sunday, IDU is holding an hour and a half long Facebook Live event, hosted by Focus on the Family in Colorado. Pederson will be leading the event along with Mission Network News’ Ruth Kramer. There will also be an appearance by musical artist, Phil Stacey.
“Various members of the coalition of the International Day for the Unreached will be talking about the needs, the challenges, the opportunities to reach around the world with the Gospel of Christ.”
The event will take place at 6pm Mountain Time, 8pm Eastern.