There are 6750 unreached or unengaged people groups in the world. That’s roughly 60% of the world’s population with little or no access to the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ, and many of these people (3684 groups, or 8% of the world) have never even heard the name of Jesus uttered. (source: IMB Global Research)
It is our foremost priority as a church to spread the Gospel to people who have never heard it (Matthew 28:17-20; Acts 1:8), and we at Hickory Grove are stepping up our missions efforts to fulfill the Great Commission. Here are a few of the guidelines we’re setting for our church.
Our missions efforts must be…
- Born out of our worship. We will only be as effective in spreading the Gospel to the degree that the work of the Gospel has changed our hearts. We will exalt Christ in our worship, take broken people – dead in their sins – and make regenerate disciples of Jesus out of them, then lead them to pass along the torch of faith.
- Based on the authority of Christ. Has anyone ever referred you to a professional service – maybe a doctor or realtor or insurance agent – and said something like “Make sure you tell them I told you to call” or “use my name”? That’s what we’re doing when we go in Jesus’ name. Our names have no authority and carry no weight; we rely on the name of the One who is going to do the work in the hearts of the people we’re trying to reach. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells the disciples that HE has all authority in Heaven and on Earth, and he passes that authority along to them to GO in His name. We, too, will go under the authority of the name of Jesus.
- Centered on the Gospel. We need a firmer grasp on what the true Gospel of Jesus Christ really is. If we have a strong understanding of what Jesus did for us, we’ll be able to communicate His work more clearly to others. That’s why we’re going to study together What is the Gospel? this fall in our worship services and in Sunday School.
- Intentional in planning the trips that we take. A real mission trip is not Christian tourism, yet that’s what we (the church in America) have turned some of our trips into. When we take a trip, we’re going to take the Gospel with us. The work rarely will be easy, and some trips will be to very dark places – spiritually, politically, and culturally. We might not see a great number of decisions, but we will pierce the darkness and plant seeds with the Gospel.
- Focused on developing partnerships with the International Mission Board to reach unreached/unengaged people groups. The IMB has an army of committed and talented missionaries all over the world, and we’re going to help them. As a church, we want to be a resource that backs them up with prayer, financial support, and our mission teams. We’re going to go to where some these missionaries are serving as well as bring them to us so we can take care of them and show them that our church believes in them.
What about you? Will you pray about how the Lord wants YOU to be involved? Will you go?