“If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small”. Pat Morely spoke these encouraging words that change our perspective to one of “everything is missions”. As we approach the day for the unreached, our focus shifts to a critical player in the movement to reach every nation, tribe, and tongue: the church.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re part of a church, so this is for you. What is the role of the church in reaching the unreached? And is your church doing these things?
Prayer is the first way in which the church is vital in efforts to reach the unreached. As a church, adopt a people group to focus your prayers on. Speaking to a pastor of a large church at recent conference, I was struck by his particular passion for two specific unreached groups. When I asked where this passion stemmed from, he told me that it wasn’t until his church decided to “adopt” these groups in prayer that his heart started being deeply moved to see them reached. We all, as relational beings, long to see our prayers answered. Seeing answers to prayer is a visible reminder that God is listening and responding and interacting with us. We have a relational God. Beginning as a congregation to pray for a people group and then watching the updates from their area of the world is like directly plugging into the heavenly “radio transmissions” for a mission of the Kingdom of God.
Finances are another way the church can further the mission of the gospel to unreached nations. Matthew 6:21 tells us “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. We naturally are “invested” in what we invest in. If your congregation has missionaries that are in these areas, back them financially as individuals or- better yet- as a church. If your church doesn’t have any personal ties to missionaries to the unreached, find organizations that further this mission. Mandate and others like it can use those resources in ways that directly affect those in unreached areas.
Education is another way church can involve themselves in the movement. Our involvement tends to be limited in that which we know little about. Consider offering a Bible study specifically focused on reaching the unreached. Take the Perspectives course as a congregation. Read books on tentmaking as a church. Choose an area as a congregation to research, and each month educate yourselves on the spiritual needs of the unreached area. There are many creative ways to get involved, and by spreading the passion for the unreached to your congregation, you multiply the results.
Love is the final way a church can become involved. For those on the field working alongside the unreached day after day, burn out is a real threat. Church support is like a lifeline to these families and individuals. Get connected with a missionary or overseas worker. Read their prayer letters...and actually pray for them! Contact them with encouragement. There are even services through organizations such as Shepherd’s Staff or OPEN USA that offer training for churches in how to support people on the field.
How many of these is your church currently doing? I challenge you as a church member or maybe even church leader to pray about which one of these you would like to introduce to your church leadership as a congregational endeavor. The effects of that one decision could forever alter the lives of a people group across the world from you.