Have you ever wondered why Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel in every nation? Every day, we encounter people in our own communities who need to hear the hope that we have — the hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Isn’t the task to reach those in our hometowns large enough?
The truth is, both are equally important. The Great Commission, as outlined in Matthew 28:19-20, includes people as close to us as our families and friends and it includes people on the other side of the globe. Jesus told us in Acts 1:8 that we are to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth. This covers our hometown (Jerusalem), our region (Judea), regions closest to us but of a different culture (Samaria), and the rest of the world.
No place and no one may be excluded. We don’t have the option to choose one or the other. God’s command covers both, and our responsibility is to share the Gospel with people at home and around the world.
A 2015 Pew Research Center study estimated about one-third of the population (2.3 billion people) claims to be Christian. But most of these believers are concentrated in certain regions. The Joshua Project estimates that 3.29 billion people (42%) still live in areas that are considered unreached — that means, less than 2% of the population claim to be Christian.
The bottom line is … we still have work to do. Most people in these unreached regions simply will not hear about the hope they can have in Christ unless someone goes to them. There are too few Christians within their region for the Good News to effectively spread. If the Gospel is to be shared to every nation, tribe and tongue, we must go.
Now, not everyone is called to be an overseas missionary. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t called to share the Gospel. We are all called to share with those in our network of relationships. Next, we are all called to give and support those who go to places we cannot go. And ultimately, all of us are called to pray for the work of the Gospel.
With our transient society, many of the nations are right in our own backyard. They are coming to us. We can be ready to share with them the best news they have ever heard!
What are you doing to reach the world with the Gospel? Begin today by praying for those who do not have the opportunity to hear. Then ask God how He would like you to respond. Are you called to go? Are you called to support those who go? Maybe you called to train others? Get involved in evangelism in your local church. Reach out to internationals in your local community. Maybe someone you meet has been praying for someone to share how they can have hope for eternity. Perhaps God wants to answer that prayer through you!
Rev. John B. Sorensen, D.D. is the President/CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, headquartered in Arden, N.C. EE has been a leader in equipping Christians to share their faith for more than 55 years. For more free tips and resources, visit evangelismexplosion.org.