Good afternoon friends and family! It's another week into the fall semester which means another week for sharing about CoMission. Today, I want to share with you another one of CoMission's core values which is being sent to the far. Of course, this sounds rather broad because I think this term could be interpreted several ways. When we mean "sent to the far," do we simply mean those who are far from Christ? Well yes. But we like to take it a step further and say we're sent to those who are not only far from Christ, but who might have never heard a word of the gospel before in their lives. These are what we call unreached people groups and they are spread all across the globe.
David Platt defines unreached people groups as "a people group [that] does not contain an indigenous community of evangelical Christians with adequate numbers and resources to spread the gospel within the people group." (Radical, 158) At the time this book was written in 2011, Platt recorded that more than five thousand groups, totaling approximately 1.5 billion people, across the world were unreached. Today, according to global statistics provided by the Joshua Project, there are 7,408 people groups, totaling approximately 3.23 billion people, have most likely never heard the gospel of Jesus even once. That's a 115.33% increase in just nine years! Note: this number includes multiple communities of one group spread across several countries. For example, the Sayyid (SAH-yeed) people group of South Asia occupies regions of six different countries; Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Let this settle in your mind for a minute as I once again quote David Platt from a story he shared in Radical: "One of my good friends spent time recently among unreached and unengaged peoples in Southeast Asia....One man went into his small shop and reappeared moments later with a classic red Coke can....A soft-drink company in Atlanta has done a better job getting brown sugar water to these people than the church of Jesus Christ has done in getting the gospel to them." (158-159) Ouch. Kind of makes me wonder, what do we need to do about that? Well, for starters, we can obey God's command to go to these people, no matter how uncomfortable or unprepared we are; no matter what the consequences and sacrifices might be. This is definitely easier said than done but that's what it's going to take.
So why is being sent to the far one of CoMission's core values? Because we want to be a part in changing the world for Christ by taking His gospel where it's never been heard. This is one of our hugest and most urgent responsibilities as the church body. Yes, we might be located on just a few small college campuses in St. Petersburg, Florida, but the Lord only knows what could become of a couple college students who decide to surrender their lives to Christ and become equipped with sharing the gospel. Especially if they're international students who might go back to their home countries one day.
Something else CoMission has been strongly devoted to is partnering with friends who have been serving in East Asia. In fact, there have been several years when we sent groups of college students and CoMission leaders over there for a chunk of time during the summer where they would learn to share the gospel with their fellow college students in a different part of the world. Stories from some of their experiences have truly been eye-opening and most of our staff are even looking forward to going back in the near future, only this time for a year or two instead of just a summer. And these are just some examples of hearts that the Holy Spirit can transformed for his work. After all, how amazing would it be if just 1 individual from each people group could come to a saving faith in Christ each year for the next 10 years? There could be 74,080 new followers of Christ; 10 individuals from each people group! That's a significantly smaller number than that of Coke cans if consumed by each of those people every day for year (27 million, 39 thousand and 200 to be exact), but it would be a huge step toward eternal progress. But that can only be if God's people, the church are willing to obey His command:
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...."
- Matthew 28:19a