Is it possible to complete the great commission? And if it is possible to “make disciples of all nations” as Jesus commanded us in Matthew 28, should it be something we should really worry about?
I believe we should. So does Mary Ho of All Nations, Grandview, Missouri.
The following is an article written by Mary, calling us to give very serious attention to “completion”. Completion of the Great Commission in this Generation has become a rallying cry for many people in the body of Christ in the last hundred years. And it is making a difference!
Making Our Lives Count for Zero – by Mary Ho
Two transformational moments altered my life. The first was that Jesus called me when I was 17 years old to follow Him. The second was that eight years ago—after already following Jesus for 25 years— I found a truth that overturned my life. The truth is that our generation lives in the most pivotal time of history since Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection! Throughout history, some generations have laid foundations; others have built. But I believe we are born into the generation that will complete the Great Commission. Jesus has passed into our hands the baton of finishing the Great Commission in our lifetime—not fifty or a hundred years later. Jesus is calling us to be part of the global initiative to Count for Zero[i]: 0 people groups without fulltime workers, 0 languages without a Bible translation, and 0 villages without a community of followers. He is calling us to make our lives count for zero, that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord!
When Jesus mandated us to go and make disciples of “all nations” or panta ta ethne in Greek, He was literally commanding us to disciple all the peoples of the world. According to Finishing the Task, of the 16,350 people groups in the world, there are currently only 6,541 people groups “unreached” by the gospel (less than 2 percent evangelicals) and only 3,004 “unengaged” people groups in the world where there are NO KNOWN workers engaging these peoples with the good news. These unengaged unreached people groups (UUPG) urgently need apostolic teams in residence committed to working long-term in the local language and culture and to igniting disciple making movements.
Is this mandate to catalyze a disciple-making movement in every remaining UUPG do-able in our lifetime? According to Operation World, China alone has 100,000 cross-cultural workers and the U.S. alone sends out 93,500 longterm workers to the nations! This mandate to make disciples of every people is more than attainable in our generation. But the sad reality is that only 10 percent of the global workforce goes where it is unreached and unengaged[ii], and where there are no known believers or workers.
Two days ago, Pam Arlund and I just came back from Finishing the Task meetings at Saddleback in California. It was a gathering of practitioners, leaders, and passionate men and women who have given their lives to getting the job done. We heard from a young Muslim background believer who was persecuted for her faith and died. But Jesus gave her a choice to go to heaven or come back, and she chose to come back to share Jesus. Pam and I are in dialogue with a near-culture worker sharing Jesus among 70 unengaged unreached people groups in Asia. On the plane ride, we were grappling with what we need to modify to more effectively trigger movements among the unreached.
I have in my study at home a baton that Pam gave me a year ago inscribed with Paul’s charge to Timothy, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2:2). Like Paul, we are to make it our ambition to preach where Jesus is not known, and to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. From this meeting, Pam and I have the latest verified list of remaining unengaged unreached people groups (link below). We would like to invite each of you in various nations to prayerfully view this list and adopt at least three groups for prayer, vision trips, engagement and planting communities. Many of the countries you are living in have multiple unreached people groups. India tops this list with 236 UUPGs, then China 208, and Sudan 123. But in this age of global migration, even a European nation like France has 33 UUPGs, Germany 21, and the Netherlands 13. The largest Muslim country of Indonesia has 71 UUPGs, and the smaller country of Oman 27. These unreached people groups are within our reach and often within our geographical radius. So let us divide the task and finish the job!
We as AN family are called to be movement makers. We are called to be the generation that completes the great commission. We are called to make our lives count for zero!
[i] I borrowed the term “count for zero” from Issachar Initiative.
[ii] From Finishing the Task by Ralph Winter and Bruce Koch.
Finishing The Task UUPG list: http://bit.ly/1x8qMsI