Over 7,000 ethno-linguistic people groups in the world have little or no access to the gospel according to Joshua Project. 3,000 of these unreached people groups do not have anyone trying to reach them. Nearly 400 of these unengaged people groups have populations over 100,000.
Right now, in our generation, large populations of people are still waiting for a missionary, for a Bible, for a church. Who will go to them?
Motivated by God’s Work in You
Your people shall be willing in the day of your power…
In my own life, I have seen God do an amazing personal work. As I experienced God’s grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness I was eventually overflowing with willingness to go. It was not simply shear gut-level determination that thrust my hand up to volunteer for service but, rather, a grace-filled experience of God’s power and a revelation of who Jesus really is that motivated me.
We see this also in the life of the Prophet Isaiah. The radical encounter that we get a glimpse of in Isaiah chapter 6 causes the Prophet to cry out, “I will go, send me.” He was not deterred even though he knew that his assignment would be mission impossible. Likewise, those who today have no one attempting to reach them with the Good News of Jesus need people who are willing to volunteer for an impossible mission.
More than Zeal
But what about the next step? Zeal, fire, passion—whatever you want to call it—may move you to take the journey of 10,000 miles. But what will you do when you land and must take the journey of the next 10 feet? Once reality begins to set in, what will your response be? Will you walk by your feelings or by faith, trusting in the one who saved us, called us, and empowers us?
This is where perseverance and commitment are foundational. An independent Western I-want-it-my-way-and-I-want-it-now mentality will not do. The walls that have kept these unengaged people groups in darkness will not be breached easily or quickly. The task will likely take time and sustained effort.
You will need to be:
- Those who have “set our faces like flint” (Isaiah 50:7) to do the will of God.
- Those who have made up your minds like Job that “though God slay me yet will I serve Him.” (Job 13:15)
- Those who believe that “they will see His goodness in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:12-13 KJV)
Die to Self
You will need an experience of God’s grace and an encounter with the true Jesus to answer the call. You will need perseverance to stay true to the call. Beyond these things, those who go to unreached and unengaged peoples will be required to strip themselves down and bring only the essentials of the gospel of the kingdom.
You will need to make a deliberate decision to die to self. Instead of asking “What do I want?” or “What do I need?” you must instead be willing to ask questions like:
- “How can the Gospel be really Good News to these people”?
- “How can I become most like them in order to win them to Christ?”
- “How can I be a bridge builder rather than a wall builder?”
Privileged to Pay the Price
If what I am saying sounds difficult, it is only because it is difficult. There is a price. To reach the unreached and to engage the unengaged we will need to go beyond what has been done and be willing to pay the full price.
After over 2,000 years, Jesus has still yet to receive those people whom he has purchased for the Father from every tongue, tribe, and people (Revelation 5:9, 7:9). Will you be one of those whom he privileges to take his gospel to a people who are still waiting to hear?
Reprint of an article I wrote for Urbana.org, originally posted here.