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Aren't There People Who Need the Gospel in My Own Neighborhood?

Why go to the ends of the earth?

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Simon Longden

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October 9, 2019

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The majority of people who live and work near you don’t know Jesus. And, if the Bible is to be believed, they desperately need to. But asking questions about where the greatest needs are may not be the most helpful questions. There is much to be done to introduce people everywhere to Jesus. And every person in the world—no matter who they are and where they are—has precisely the same spiritual need as every other person in the world. I think it’s more helpful to think about access. Not need.

Understanding access

Some people have less access to the gospel of Jesus Christ than others. Significantly less. Embarrassingly less. Here’s what I mean.

  • Thousands of “people groups” (clusters of culturally and linguistically related men, women and kids who identify through a particular view of the world) are currently outside the reach of the gospel. They need disciples of Jesus to live among them.
  • Millions and millions and millions of people have never, ever heard the name of Jesus. How many times have we heard about Jesus?
  • Of the 3.5 billion (!) Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in the world, some 86% don’t personally know someone who knows Jesus. Who is a gospel conduit to them?
  • Some 63,000 human beings will die today in places where there are no churches. What is their eternal destiny?
  • Jesus told His followers to ask the Lord of the harvest to send more workers to serve in places where people have not heard the gospel. Why do so few of us become an answer to that important prayer?

When we talk about access, we’re talking about mission.

Mission and evangelism are both important. Both are needed.

There’s a big difference between evangelism and mission. “Evangelism” is reaching people who need to believe in Jesus. “Mission” is reaching people who don’t know there’s a Jesus to believe in. Both are important. Both are needed.

And, no surprise, most of us opt for local outreach, not global mission.

Who will go to those with the least gospel access?

I marvel at how the Lord Jesus blesses unreached peoples through so few who “go.” Only one in every 20,000 followers of Jesus will take the gospel to unreached peoples of the world! It might be helpful to read that sentence again. They are ordinary people who know Jesus and are willing to let other Christians reach out to nearby neighbors while they serve elsewhere in the world. Jesus has forever changed their lives and they know He can change the hearts and destinies of others if they hear the news.

Only one in every 20,000 followers of Jesus will take the gospel to the unreached!

Don’t stay where you are because there’s a great need in your community. Stay because God calls you to stay. And if He doesn’t, pray about going to make Jesus known in some gospel-starved part of the world. They need access, too.

Adapted from Mission? Isn’t There a Great Need in My Own Community? (Pioneers Australia).

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