As we know, Jesus commanded His disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). But to be honest, that sounds like a daunting task! To make disciples of all the nations! There are currently 195 countries in the world, give or take a few. And according to the International Mission Board (IMB), there are almost 12,000 people groups in the world (with 7,070 of those being “unreached people groups.”
So how in the world do we go about reaching the world?
Matthew 9:36-37 gives us a hint. It tells us that “When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”
The crowds can seem overwhelming. In fact, the world’s population is now over 7.5 billion people. So, how do we go about reaching the world? Let me mention a few practical ways to help each of us:
1. “See the crowd.”
When in a crowd, it’s easy to see…the crowd. It’s easy to miss the individuals in the crowd. We can’t see the trees for the forest. And when you’re in a crowd, let’s be honest…the last thing many of us are is “compassionate,” like Jesus was. When we’re in crowds, we get overwhelmed, stressed, and impatient. Not “compassionate.”
Sometimes, it’s helpful to “see the crowd” as what it is…many, many individuals, all for whom Jesus loves and died. The next time you’re in a large crowd, make a conscious effort to look at the individuals in the crowd…see their faces, imagine their hurts. How are they harassed and helpless? To help us understand how Jesus saw the crowd, like sheep without a shepherd…
Imagine if the World were 100 PEOPLE (100people.org)
50 would be female
50 would be male
25 would be children
There would be 75 adults,
9 of whom would be 65 and older
There would be:
14 people from the Americas
16 people who would not be aligned with a religion
8 people who practice other religions
12 would speak Chinese
6 would speak Spanish
5 would speak English
4 would speak Hindi
3 would speak Arabic
3 would speak Bengali
3 would speak Portuguese
2 would speak Russian
2 would speak Japanese
60 would speak other languages
86 would be able to read and write; 14 would not
7 would have a college degree
40 would have an Internet connection
78 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 22 would not
1 would be dying of starvation
11 would be undernourished
22 would be overweight
91 would have access to safe drinking water
9 people would have no clean, safe water to drink*
2. Pray for more laborers.
In the Scripture I mentioned above, Jesus gives us a way to reach the crowds: have more workers. The field (lost people) is huge, but the workers (the saved who are willing to go) are few. So pray for more workers. Pray for our IMB that more and more people will feel called to go.
If you can’t go, give so that others can. Give so that the needed financial resources to get the Word out will be sufficient. Pray for the Lord to reveal how much you should give this holiday season, as we will collect our World Missions Offering on the Sunday morning of December 6.
When you have opportunity, go. Go there (to the nations) and go here (the nations have come to us). Look for opportunities to engage other people groups.
So, how do we make disciples of all the nations? One person at a time.