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PracticalWaysToBeMissionalOrangeV3BannerMaking disciples takes a lot of time. Is it even a realistic possibility with my crazy schedule?

How can I reach my neighbors?

What are some ways I can be an effective witness in my workplace?

How do I tell people about Jesus as an introvert?

What are some ways I can share my faith?

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, you’re not alone. These are great questions! Sometimes we can know all about discipleship, believe in the mission, and even desire to be obedient, without knowing where to begin. But when the rubber meets the road, we’ve got to know how to actually make disciples… not in theory, but in practice.

In light of this, check out this Verge post containing practical ways to be “missional,” which they simply describe as living “as Jesus lived – as sent people who live everyday life with gospel intentionality.”

You can probably already hear the rebuttal to the previous post, if not from within, then probably from something you’ve heard others express. “Now wait just a minute. Are you telling me that people are in sin if they aren’t going to Africa? Even if they are faithful church members who serve their community and spread the gospel to those around them? No, no, I think you’ve got this one wrong. Not all of us are called to missions, and that’s just fine.”

Maybe we aren’t all supposed to be career missionaries… fair enough. But then what did Jesus mean when he said to make disciples of all nations?

Ishkashimi

At least one thing it means is that we don’t have the right to be merely American in our Christianity. Nor do believers in China have the right to be merely Chinese in their walk with God. Believers everywhere serve the same God, and he is the Creator and Sustainer of Chinese people, American people, and all peoples in between. As such, he deserves the praise of them all. We can celebrate our respective cultures and enjoy them, but we cannot hate or ignore other cultures.

So when we become aware that there are 4.1 billion unreached people in this world, we don’t have the option of responding (or not responding) apathetically. God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” and he has appointed us to be his ambassadors (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Corinthians 5:20).

This doesn’t mean we forsake the local ministry with which we’ve been entrusted. People are either lost or saved, and to reach out to the lost is always a great thing, no matter where you do it. But there is a difference between being lost in America’s Bible Belt and being lost in the mountains of Nepal. UPGs (defined in the previous post) do not have access to the gospel like the other people groups of the world, and that’s an urgent need we must address. To say one must choose between either local ministry or global missions is to create a false dichotomy. It’s not an either/or, but a both/and. You can live here and work for there; you can go there and impact here. Faithful local ministry and faithful global missions actually serve one another.

Have you considered the entirety of the Great Commission? Are you intentionally making disciples of all nations, even if indirectly? Do you have a heart for the unreached? The task is huge, and the task is difficult, but what a privilege to be a part of it! As a quick look at Revelation 7 will tell you, it is a joyous task that is guaranteed success.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 7:9-12)

Earth

For more information about the nations, check out Operation World, Joshua Project, and People Groups.

We’re working hard at making disciples, and many are making great strides, seeing some fruit, and growing a lot themselves. So since we’re talking about growth and fruit in disciple making, we wanted Biarto plant one more seed for you to ruminate on. In the Great Commission, what does it mean for Jesus to have told his followers to make disciples of all nations?

This is an important component of the Commission. Jesus could have just as easily said, “Go, make disciples,” and left it there. But he didn’t. In fact, he made a point to specifically command them to go beyond their own people. This is enforced in Acts 1:8 when Jesus names specific areas to which his followers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, would go. The short list was then ended with a big vision for “the ends of the earth.”

We don’t have to stop with Jesus’ words to his disciples before he ascended to heaven. From Genesis to Revelation, God has an evident heart for the nations. He starts by blessing one nation, ultimately purposing to bless all of them through Israel (Gen 12:2-3). We see glimpses of God’s international redemption in people like Rahab and Ruth, and then in prayers like Psalm 67, a plea to God to “let all the peoples praise [him].” Then, as the church is spreading, the Bible ends with a picture of heaven in which people from all the nations of the earth are worshiping their Savior and King (Rev 7:9).

So does this apply to us?

There are currently 6,600 unreached people groups (UPGs) in the world, which means that less than 2% of the people in each of those groups (designated as such by common ethnic identities and languages) are evangelical Christians. 4.1 billion of the world’s 7 billion people are unreached.  Of those 6,600 UPGs, 3,500 are also unengaged, which means that there is no evangelical church-planting strategy underway among them.  There are 350 million people In these unreached unengaged people groups (UUPGs).

For someone born in a UUPG, they will most likely live and die having never heard about Jesus.

So, let’s ask again, does the “all nations” portion of Jesus’ command apply to us? We’ll put it this way: the Great Commission has yet to be accomplished.

Statistics gathered from the IMB

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