Why would anyone want to be a missionary? Has John or Kristen ever told you the story of when Kristen got locked on the inside of an airport on one of their trips? I am talking about chains on the door of an airport that was closing overnight. My colleague, Jeanie, and I make repeat visits to a certain communist country where we are routinely pulled out of line at customs for interrogations and warnings. I traveled on a train in China one time when I was going to the remote village of some poor, student friends of mine to visit their family. They had gone on the day before and bought train tickets. They bought cheap tickets, the tickets they always bought, and these were standing tickets. You had to stand like you would stand in the aisles of an overly full city bus. The only problem with having standing tickets on that particular train ride was that it was a ticket for a 26 hour ride. I had a standing ticket on a train in India one time where the man I was hunched over for a few hours had a live chicken sitting on his lap. Why would anyone want to be a missionary? Well, it turns out there are lots of good reasons and lots of good answers to that question.
We have answered that question two different ways in the previous installments of this video series. Today’s answer is this: the task of world evangelism is unfathomably big, yet it can be finished in our lifetime. Revelation 7 gives us a futuristic picture of what heaven is going to look like at the end of the age and is consistent with everything that the Bible has taught from Genesis on. There are representatives, in the throne room of the lamb, worshiping the lamb from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
In part one of this video series, we discussed why God is a missionary God and how it was His plan from the beginning to gather all peoples from all over the face of the earth into His kingdom as a testament to His power, mercy, and glory. If we could go to heaven right now and enter that throne room, there would be holes in the crowds of people. There would be absences because the task is not yet finished. In fact, there is some bad news. Despite our technologies of jet planes, high speed internet, and cell phones, there are hundreds of millions of people on this planet right now who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ a single time. That is a little hard to believe. Hundreds of millions of people who have never met a Christian, never walked past a church, never seen a Bible, never even heard the name of Jesus a single time.
The map seen here is of people groups from all over the world and the status of evangelism among them . The reds, the oranges, and the yellows indicate the groups of people that are least reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. To define a people group is a little bit beyond the scope of this particular question, but I want to paint a picture.
When the Bible says peoples, nations, and tribes, do not think in terms of geopolitical nation-states. Think in terms of ethnic groups or ethnolinguistic groups. Someone asked me just last week, if the United States is considered a people group. The answer according to missiologists is no. The U.S. has at least 522 distinct, ethnic groups all living together within our borders. Think of the Cajun and Creole peoples of the Gulf Coast. Think of the Gullah peoples of Southeast Georgia and South Carolina. Think of the Sue Indian tribes of the Plains states. Think of the indigenous tribal people of Alaska, or Eskimos, and all of the immigrant populations that are living in our cities from all kinds of non-Christian nations.
It is estimated that there are somewhere close to 7,500 different languages spoken on the planet today. It is also estimated that over 40% of the eight billion people living in the world are from unreached people groups who are barely touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are people that God made, people that God knows, people that God loves, and in the end, people from all of those groups will be worshiping the lamb forever. However, the task of taking the gospel to them is up to God’s people, the church. The task of world evangelism is unfathomably big, and yet it can be finished in our lifetime.
There are more missionaries being sent into these hard places than ever before in history, and most of them are not from the United States and Europe. They are from the church in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. There are people taking missions classes and learning more about their role in completing the task of world evangelism by leveraging different technologies in powerful ways. Actually, there is a lot of really good news concerning the missionary challenge that lies before us. Much of that discussion is beyond the scope of this short post. So where does Passion Life fit in all of that? What is the overlap with Passion Life? Go back and look at the graphic marking the status of world evangelism and the remaining people groups to be reached with the gospel.
Now take a look at this graphic of the focus that Passion Life takes as a missions organization. Passion Life researches and targets the countries in the world with the highest rates of abortion, infanticide, and gendercide. We make those places our mission’s priority. Unsurprisingly, many of the most Christless areas in our world coincide with the areas of the planet that are least reached with the gospel and where abortion rates are excessive, human life is treated as nothing, and human dignity is most minimized.
While we are a pro-life organization that works to save babies, mothers, and families, we do so with an unapologetically Christ-centered message. We work with church leaders to bring the gospel of Christ to the crisis of an unwanted or an unintended pregnancy. In short, where Passion Life goes, the gospel goes. Because of this, we are seeing uncountable numbers of people coming to Christ and being strengthened in their walk with Jesus in remarkable ways with each and every trip that we take. God is on the move and you are a part of that as you join with us. Pray for us. And share our posts and videos with somebody in your church who is missions-minded, pro-life minded, or both. Bring others into the Passion Life fellowship so that we can grow our impact together. Why would anyone want to be a missionary? Well, because the task of world evangelism is unfathomably big, yet it can be finished in our lifetime.