More than half of the world’s current population has little chance of ever hearing the good news that Jesus saves all those who place their trust in Him.
Late last year, International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood reminded Southern Baptists of this heartbreaking reality.
“More lost people will die today and enter hell,” he wrote, “than on any day in human history.” The exact figure numbers in the hundreds of thousands – every day.
Chitwood explained that, out of 11,946 people groups across the globe, 7,317 people groups – containing a total 4.5 billion people – are unreached. That means evangelical Christians make up less than 2 percent of the population in these groups.
Meanwhile, 3,179 people groups are unengaged. That means, Chitwood said, that “there was likely no church where a lost man or woman could have gone this past week to hear the gospel preached and no missionary they might meet in the village.” No one is strategically working on the ground to share the love of Jesus with these people groups.
If we pause to think on it, the weight of this need is overwhelming, and our efforts to reach the world – however impressive – may seem futile. How could we ever meet such a drastic need? How could we not grow weary in this task?
In fact, Christ’s followers often do grow weary and distracted in fulfilling the task He gave to them before leaving earth: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19-20).
However, Christ Himself remains as committed as ever to bringing people from every tribe, nation and tongue under His Lordship. In Isaiah 42:4, the Lord says that He won’t “grow weak or be discouraged until He has established justice on the earth.”
In his classic book, Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby wrote, “…[W]atch to see where God is at work and join Him!”
If you look across the globe, you’ll see that God is at work to reach the lost from among all nations. And the ultimate outcome is sure. Without question, Jesus shall reign over all the earth. And, beyond a doubt, people from “every nation, tribe, people, and language” will rejoice in the Lord’s salvation. Christ Jesus is committed to this end and will make sure it comes to pass.
The only question is whether we’re ready to join Him. Perhaps God is calling us to serve on some mission field around the globe. Have we surrendered to going, if He calls us?
Even if He isn’t calling us to go, have we surrendered to becoming “world Christians” even at home?
“A world Christian,” Tom Stellar once wrote, “is someone who is so gripped by the glory of God and the glory of His global purpose that he chooses to align himself with God’s mission to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the sea.”
By God’s grace, we can perhaps grow as “world Christians” by:
• Surrendering to go anywhere, anytime, whenever God calls;
• Reading (or listening to) books about faithful Christians who’ve spread the gospel around the globe in years past. Let me recommend Courtney Anderson’s To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson; Jesse Fletcher’s Bill Wallace of China (or Ann Lovell’s more recent book for young readers, Bill: An American Doctor in China); and Nik Ripken’s The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected;
• Praying for unreached people groups around the globe, for missionaries on the field; and for global churches bearing witness to Christ even amid persecution. To learn how to pray, visit https://www.imb.org/pray and https://www.opendoors.org/en-US. Also, to pray for people groups living in Missouri, see https://mobaptist.org/nations;
• Befriending and sharing Jesus’ love with internationals living near you. Thousands of refugees and immigrants live in Missouri, and most college campuses across the state have international students who would welcome your friendship;
• Sharing the gospel with intentionality and consistency;
• Giving to the Cooperative Program and Southern Baptist missions offerings, with a renewed commitment to their ultimate purpose – namely, sharing Jesus’ love across the globe;
• Staying tuned to global news with a prayerful heart. To help with this, The Pathway’s print edition (subscribe here at no charge) now includes a “Global Digest” that will help you stay informed about global news. Pray that God uses these global events and circumstances to open doors to the gospel.
• Making much of the Lord Jesus and wholeheartedly worshipping Him every day and in every circumstance. After all, we’ll never develop in our hearts a passion for evangelism and missions until our hearts burn with love for Jesus and with a passion to see Him glorified always and everywhere.
• Watching with hope for the imminent return of Jesus, at which time “every knee will bow … and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11). “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20).