International Day for the Unreached: Let's Complete the Great Commission

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(Photo: Reuters/Shruti Shrestha)Nepalese Christians pray during their National Convention in Kathmandu April 20, 2010. The Nepalese Christians demanded the timely drafting of the constitution.

One of Christ's most emphatic directives to His followers was a call to carry His message to the ends of the earth, an admonition to be fulfilled before He returns. Called the "Great Commission," Christ's call urged His followers to spread His message worldwide, a task that will be highlighted by an alliance of five global Christian evangelistic groups on the International Day for the Unreached, May 15.

This remains a huge task. There are an estimated 2 billion people in the world who have never been given a clear presentation of the gospel. The International Day for the Unreached (IDU) comes at a time when Europe is crowded with refugees from countries without a Christian heritage, when the comfort and hope offered by the gospel would be especially appreciated.

Additionally, throughout the world there are many nations where gospel message-bearers and ministries are not welcomed because of religious, cultural or political opposition. Yet, Christ calls us to deliver His message in these settings.

We must pray that God will open doors to advance his Great Commission plan. Prayer is the essential foundation of our mission, the bedrock of all our outreach efforts. Guided by His word and filled with His Spirit, Christians are fully capable of bringing the joyous news of the gospel to all people throughout the world if we underpin our efforts with prayer.

A.T. Pierson once said, "Every step in the progress of missions is directly traceable to prayer."

The "Alliance for the Unreached" is calling on churches, radio stations, media and individual believers to set aside May 15 as a day to take a bold stand for reaching the unreached, by praying for those who are still living without the good news of Jesus. Bibles For The World, Missio Nexus, Operation Mobilization, Reach Beyond and The Seed Company are members of this Alliance. Go to the websites of alliance members where dozens of inspirational conversion stories highlight the joy brought about by hearing the words of Jesus for the first time.

The International Day for the Unreached will be celebrated on Pentecost Sunday, marking the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church, which equipped and empowered believers to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In honor of this event, IDU will be observed on Pentecost each year, demonstrating that the Lord's gift on that day remains with us even now.

There are many ways that church groups and individuals can participate in the International Day for the Unreached on May 15:

  • Churches will be able to download sermon/study outlines for congregations, Sunday schools and other small groups at www.dayfortheunreached.org. There will be other resources there also, including downloadable bulletin inserts, posters, videos and web banners to highlight IDU.
  • Individuals will have opportunities to participate in a global prayer network for the unreached. They can also explore options to serve in parts of the world where people don't know Christ, as well as become advocates for the unreached. Christians can also pledge their time and resources take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren has joined scores of ministers in asking Christians to make a renewed effort to reach the unreached: "With more than 2 billion people who haven't had a chance to meet Jesus, it's time for the Body of Christ to take a radical stand and say, 'This has to end in our generation.' Join me in committing to pray, give, go, and advocate for those who need to know Christ by participating in the International Day for the Unreached."

Hudson Taylor once said,"The Great Commission is not an option to be considered, but a command to be obeyed."

It is a sacred call from Christ to His followers to carry His message onward to the ends of the earth. To find out how to participate, go to: www.dayfortheunreached.org.

Dr. Marvin Newell is senior vice president of Missio Nexus, a member of the Alliance for the Unreached (www.dayfortheuneached), which is leading efforts for the International Day for the Unreached. Alliance members include Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org) Missio Nexus (www.missionexus.org), Bibles For The World (www.biblesfortheworld.org), the Seed Company (www.theseedcompany.org) and Operation Mobilization (www.omusa.org)