Global missions includes our own backyard!

The issue of culture relevancy was brought up in one of my classes recently. The idea of the importance of missions was emphasized, as well as the concept of “global mission” whereby the Gospel is preached across the nations.

Christianity is growing immensely around the world—just not in places such as Europe or the United States. Consider the following (from http://tinyurl.com/7ho4val):

  • According to George Barna: “With its 195 million unchurched people, America has become the new mission field. America has more unchurched people than the entire populations of all but 11 of the world’s 194 nations.”
  • Barna affirms Gallup. Consider: “America’s secularization has gone from only 15% in the 1950s up to 40% in 2001; and headed for 60% percent by 2010!” (Secularization means basing the decisions of one’s life on a secular humanist, relativist moral world view. Judeo-Christian values and the Bible are no longer the moral foundation of decision making in life for the vast majority of Americans.)
  • According to America: An Emerging Mission Field in World Christian Encyclopedia, Second Edition p.27: “In 2000, the United States sent out 118,200 missionaries, but it also received 33,200. Ironically, the world’s largest missionary-sending country has now become the world’s largest missionary-receiving country.” Not to mention:
    • The world’s largest Buddhist temple is located in Boulder, CO, USA!
    • The world’s largest Muslim training center is in New York City, USA!
    • The world’s largest training center for transcendental meditation is in Fairfield, Iowa, USA!

Please do not misunderstand the following assessments, as I am a big believer in global missions. Seeing the Gospel preached to the ends of the earth is the joy of any true believer. That being said, I also feel that many times we feel that missionary work is only to be done abroad, while there is a growing mission field in our backyard. It is imperative that we view missions as both a domestic and foreign duty for churches.

This September I will be preaching to my church the concepts of evangelism through the story of David and Goliath. As a church, we need to be choose a side (there is no middle ground), understand that God has equipped us as a witness, and be bold in the face of opposition—much of which we are seeing in our nation today.

Lastly, God’s heart is demonstrated in the Scriptures:

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” (1 Peter 3:9).

And if it’s important to God, shouldn’t it be important to his church as well?