Reaching Least-Reached People
Our God is a missionary God who created human beings in His image and for relationship with Him. From the time when the first man and woman He created chose to rebel against Him, God has been pursuing the restoration of His relationship with humanity. Since the time of Abraham, we see that God has chosen a people to join with Him in seeking restoration of relationship with all of humanity. Jesus Christ came as the Word of God in human form to model God’s heart and His way of living. Through His death and resurrection, He paid the debt for our sins. He makes it possible for all who will believe to be transformed into ambassadors of God’s, initiating reconciliation with peoples of every tribe, nation, and language.
We are the children of the missionary God, and we need to knit our hearts with His heart so as to fulfill the world mission of our Father—to reach the lost world with His name, to make Him known among the nations. He has blessed us so as to make us a blessing for the nations. One day, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14)!
Reflection question: What do we learn from the heart of our missionary God, and what is our part?
World Mission: The Gospel, Contextualized
After Jesus ascended into heaven and after the Holy Spirit was sent at Pentecost, God’s mission to the nations burst forth in a new way through His new people, the Church. In Acts 1:8, Jesus indicates that the Spirit will empower His people to become His witnesses “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The spread of the disciples’ witness involved moving outward from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, Antioch, and every remote region. This mission required crossing ethnic and religious barriers as the Gospel moved from the people of Israel to the Samaritans who had a form of Old Testament faith, and on to the Gentiles who consisted of diverse ethnic groups and were followers of a variety of religious beliefs.
Ralph Winter, in his essay “Cross-Cultural Evangelism: The Task of Highest Priority [PDF],” highlights the need for awareness of the “cultural distance” between the messenger and the recipient. The nearer the messenger is in cultural adaptation to the recipient culture, the more effective is the sharing of the Gospel. This “nearness” may be due to one’s culture of origin or even the result of careful adaptation to the recipient culture. The messenger must work hard to understand the other culture by learning the language, traditions, historical problems, religious allegiance, and patterns of behaviour. At Global Disciples, we believe and encourage indigenous clusters of churches to train and send their own workers who know the culture well in order to reap the plentiful harvest.
We believe that churches in close proximity to the least-reached areas are instrumental.
If these clusters of churches are willing to identify and train church planters to cross to the next village/town, we will provide a Small Business Development (SBD) training tool for them. This will allow them to train their church planters so that they then can develop a business to provide the resources to access least-reached peoples and to sustain their families and ministries.
Our God is a missionary God who has been at work since the beginning of Creation. Jesus modeled the way and sent us to go to the ends of the earth, just as the Father sent Him (Mark 16:15; John 20:21). To fulfill our mission, we need to contextualize the Gospel message in the culture and language of the people to whom we seek to bring salvation, just as the Father and the apostle Paul did (John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
This is the 8th post of a 9-part series that explores “Discipling in the way of Jesus”, a focus on Global Disciples’ 9 Essential Components of Discipleship Training. The series summarizes the core teaching of our discipleship-mission training that is taught to program directors chosen by local clusters of churches around the world.
Check out our last post on Evangelism and Compassion or stay tuned for our final post on Multiplying Disciple-Makers and Churches!