One of the main purposes of this blog is to cast a vision for reaching the unreached people groups that have settled into cities in the United States. Since whole communities of people from the hardest-to-reach places are landing within arms reach of our churches, then it should be obvious that we have a responsibility to share the gospel with these people. This takes finding out who is around your church, doing the work of cultural acquisition, and reaching out in hospitality. Today, I want to focus on how this can fit into a bigger strategy of global missions. Reaching people groups here will only amplify your ability to reach them overseas.
Many churches understand the responsibility to send and support international missionaries, and many churches regularly send short-term teams. However, now that missions is changing, we need to consider another aspect of a global missions strategy. We need to think of church planting among people groups here as an important link in the chain that strengthens our efforts in other places.[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Reaching people groups here will only amplify your ability to reach them overseas.[/pullquote]
Imagine with me what it would be like to plant a Nepali-speaking church in your city and partner with them to both plant more churches in your city and send teams back overseas to Nepal. What if the next time your church sent a team to visit your missionary overseas in Nepal, you took a couple of members of the Nepali plant with you and they introduced you to their own village.
If your church is already involved in international missions, then consider looking for communities of that same people around you. Have you sent missionaries to a particular group overseas? Try to find them, or another group from that area, in your community. You may be surprised to find that same people you have been flying around the world to see has a group right down the road. If so, consider reaching them in both places.
If you are taking a lot of mission trips, but you are not focused on a particular area, I would encourage you to focus in one or two places and develop some regularity. Short term work is rarely effective when it is scattered all over the place. A 10-day trip accomplishes little if it is the only time you will visit a place. A shotgun strategy to short-term missions is usually more for the church going than the missionaries or the people on the field.[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A shotgun strategy to short-term missions is usually more for the church going than the missionaries or the people on the field.[/pullquote]
If your church needs to focus on areas for continued presence, then base these decisions off the groups that have settled around you. By discovering your community, you can find unreached people groups near you. As you begin to engage them locally, develop ways of sending trips to their home area overseas. Connect with missionaries that are there, and eventually work with any churches you plant to partner together.
You will find that these people group churches can be amazing partners for missions. They already have the cultural understanding that you would have to acquire. They are valuable resources and intuitively translate the gospel into their own culture. Plus, they will have immediate connections back home and a desire to see them reached with the gospel as well.
Photo By Rignam Wangkhang