IMB Missionaries can provide vital link in reaching the nations

This is just my point of view, for whatever it’s worth. Having read the scriptures and having heard numerous sermons from conventions and conferences to take the gospel to Unreached People Groups (UPG), I feel compelled to try and lead the church I serve into this glorious call. It’s been said over and over…the unreached are unreached for a reason. They are hard to get to! It will not be easy. And I don’t know if you’re like me, but I lack confidence in how to do it!

Relative to this, I’ve found myself asking “What if” more so these days than any other. What if…a normative size church located in the south, midwest, and/or northwest explores what it means to journey into a hard place to develop relationships with peoples and share Christ with them? What if…the willingness to sacrifice becomes greater than the fears and questions that hold us back so often? What if…God calls many normative size churches to step forward for their marching orders into the bush of Africa or the urban places in India? What if…the power of the gospel becomes so clear and convictional in churches that many cannot help but go? Here’s one thing we know– Jesus said in Matthew 24:14– “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Furthermore, when we strategize to reach the unreached and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit, someone is coming out alive in every people group on the earth! There will be faithful representation around the throne in heaven (Revelation 7:9). This is the confidence we have as we go!

For me, these “what if” questions normally leave me with more questions, if you know what I mean. Today I had the opportunity to speak with an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary team leader in Ghana about what it would mean to partner in reaching the unreached. He spent nearly 1.5 hours speaking with me. I am honored to say the least. He helped answer some of my “What if’s” even if he wasn’t aware of it. He was so gracious and insightful. I’m convinced that these God called missionaries are vital links between SBC pastor/churches and the unreached people of the earth. They are living and breathing this stuff. They are developing relationships with nationals and, I guess it can be said, they are drowning in the sea of lostness around them. They are researching methods and means to plant churches and develop disciples. They know critical information that no website can fully address. They are flesh and blood, convictional, God-called and commissioned individuals. If we are going to reach the nations, we must heed to the call of Christ and, I believe, we must develop relationships with these missionaries. That connection is vital.

I realize this probably reveals more of my ignorance than competence in this subject. I don’t know if I represent a number of pastors that, honestly, feel nearly helpless when they read the Bible and then glance up at the world map on their office wall. The first step is prayer and that’s where I’m at here. But not far behind that is what a strategy may look like. The “What if’s” can be overwhelming, but maybe it’s time for the church to be overwhelmed with something that really counts…like stepping into uncomfortable places to pray and reach the nations. It’s time for the Kingdom of Heaven to be greater in our hearts than the Kingdom of earth. I’m glad to say that the conversation I had today with the IMB missionary gave me a lot more insight and confidence as I stare at that world map. In fact, I’m certain I can put my finger on that map now and declare, “Here is an opportunity…here is where an UPG is…” to say the very least.

I want to ask the questions and begin to pray about what it may cost each of us to step into the hard places for the sake of reaching the nations. And I want to encourage missionaries, in which some, go night and day with no connection from those in their homeland. May God richly bless and show His favor to all who are serving around the world!

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