REACHING THE UNREACHED – Not for wimps!
It’s cool to talk about going to the unreached, but man, it’s hard.
As we debriefed the team that had just spent four days camping on the land, we noticed the air was half let out of their balloons.
Just a few days ago Floyd McClung had taught them about going into the villages, sharing the gospel, connecting with people, finding a few to disciple, gathering them into small D groups, then teaching them to multiply. Our balloons were tight and ready to pop -a simple methodology, along with reignited faith in God’s passion and commitment to reach the lost had stirred us all to determination.
But in the village, with language barriers, cultural befuddlement like a ball of knotted twine, along with the hard work, the heat, the constant demand of children tugging at your hem – I sensed they were tired. Then one of them innocently got to the core – “I
just wish we could stay in town more and minister to the people on the street.”
Ahh… That’s the truth. It is hard work going one step beyond your cultural group; try two or three steps, and we need a real good reason to be there!
Missiologists define it like this :
- E1 evangelism = reaching your own culture. This is the easiest and best.
- E2 evangelism = reaching a different, but similar culture – for me that would be Europeans, Mexicans, youth, Afro-Americans or South Africans.. Some language study may be needed, and the message put in their cultural context.
- E3 evangelism = reaching a culture that is distant and very different. One or more languages need to be learned, cultural understanding is imperative, come as a blind man, ready to be led by them.
You may ask – why even do E3 evangelism? Here is an amazing answer that may take a moment to reflect on the implications of:
If all the members of every church in the world were to bring every one of their friends and relatives within the same cultural group to obedient faith in Christ, and they in turn were able to bring all their friends and relatives to Christ and so on, no matter how much time you allow, there would still be billions who would never hear about Jesus!
It’s cool to talk about going to the unreached – but man, it’s hard to do. You must be motivated, not for the coolness of it all, but out of love for Jesus – that his sacrificial death would not be in vain, but would accomplish its purpose – “you were slain, and purchased for God, with your blood, men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
Singanga Village, which surrounds our land, is made up of Lozi people. But they are situated in a Tonga-leah chiefdom. Many of these people say they are Christians – there is large New Apostolic church building between several villages. But do they know Christ? It is doubtful if there are any who actually know Christ. Is there a witness for Jesus, a single church somewhere in their tribe of villages that will shine the light and win the whole?
I love Joshua Project website – www.joshuaproject.net . According to their research the Tonga-leya’s main religion is ancestor worship, while 30% claim Christianity as their religion. But there are few if any known evangelicals – less than 2% – and no known church planting in recent years, though some evangelical resources in their language. This gives them a fairly high rating of importance according to their logic.
Unreached? No. Unengaged? Not while we are here. But we may be the only ones! Do they have a church yet? No one knows. But hopefully soon.
But how do you convert a person who says he wants to trust in Jesus, but when his wife gets sick he wonders who put a curse on her, or when no rain comes on his crop he goes to the witch doctor to find how to appease the spirits, or when you ask him to do anything different than customary he is fearful of offending his ancestors?
Outwardly he will agree with you and say your prayers, but deep down he is unchanged. If the gospel does not change his culture, the man remains unchanged. And how do you help affect such a change? Sermons won’t do it. Development won’t do it. Worship doesn’t do it – they can all put us to shame with their worship and prayer.
Will Africa ever have a move of God where masses are convicted and converted? Does their cultural baggage preclude them from radical conversion?
Africa is like Europe in the dark ages – they need their own Enlightenment or Reformation. Can you imagine what might be unleashed in the world if Africa went thru such an awakening? They are untouched by Western Humanism and Unbelief. Is it possible that an Awakened Africa could be in the front of Kingdom Movements in the Final Age?