We hear it often enough: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations,…” (Matt. 28:19).
These words from the Great Commission remind us of the divine mandate to reach all “people groups” (a more accurate translation, scholars tell us, than “nations”) with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We don’t have to go very far to see this command become a reality through our lives. Twenty-first century Americans live in a day and a time when the world has come to us; people from every nation, tribe and language can be found in our neighborhoods and throughout our region.
This year, the BCM/D has celebrated the addition of new congregations among the Nigerian and Romanian people groups. These additions–located in both the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas–bring our current church planting ministry to a total of 35 ethnic language groups. In the past few years, other new missionary, church planting efforts have reached out to the Asian Burmese, Bhutani and Japanese peoples, to the African Congolese, Ghanese and Tanzanian peoples, as well. It would not take long to list other people groups, too. This is exciting, as we have doubled the number of people groups here within our convention with whom we serve and minister in just over ten years.
Tragically however, we still have a long, long way to go. In Montgomery County alone, the public school district reports over 165 people groups represented. To say it another way, in one Maryland county alone we still have at least 130 other people groups that BCM/D has failed to penetrate yet with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Do we realize that we don’t have to go overseas to impact unreached people groups with the Gospel? Are we aware that unreached language groups and ethnicities are all around us without a Gospel witness? Do we know that our financial contributions to the “Mission M/D” state missions offering will make a marked impact upon the unreached people groups of Maryland and Delaware?
Annie Armstrong, the native Baltimorean and early advocate of “home” missions within our convention, is quoted as once saying, “Men and means were not forthcoming fast enough for the great work of foreign missions, so God turned the stream this way and sent great masses of the unevangelized to come in contact with Christians.” She recognized that the Acts 1:8 imperative included reaching “the stranger next door,” and that God had enabled a great opportunity for us to reach them…if we only will.
While our neighbors may appear different from most of us within the BCM/D family, in reality they are just like us in this regard: they all need Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Pray for God to raise up indigenous and cross-cultural missionaries to reach them.
Give so we can start new churches to disciple them. Go next door or down the street to show them Christ’s love, in word and deed. Let’s join God in turning strangers into brothers and sisters in Christ.