It is dangerous for Christians to think that just because there may be churches on every corner means that everyone around us has heard the Gospel.
“The presence of churches does not mean there are no lost people in the South,” Birmingham, Alabama Dawson Church evangelism and missions pastor Ben Hale said.
While the need to reach the unreached internationally is a major concern for the Church, local missions also need to be a foremost concern for the Church as well.
“There is no difference of importance based on geography when it comes to Gospel-centered outreach. People are important no matter where they are located,” Hale said. “All churches should strive to share the Gospel locally, nationally, and internationally in every way that they can.”
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us, so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. – Psalm 67:1-5
Not only does local missions help reach the unreached within our local communities, but it also raises awareness for international missions, emphasizing the need for Christians to share the Gospel and live out the Great Commission, no matter where. Team member Sarah of Birmingham Gospel Outreach shared the organization’s goal of church mobilization, disciple multiplication, and Gospel saturation, which helps reach the unreached.
“We believe that local international ministry helps fuel global missions,” Sarah said. “We believe that God has strategically brought unreached people groups here, where there is more access to the Gospel and religious freedom. It is the disciples of Jesus’ responsibility to love them, welcome them, pray for them and share the hope of Jesus with them.”
Share Your Testimony
The Bible makes it clear that we have a role in exalting God through our stories:
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16
Reaching the unreached within your local community means being willing and open to sharing your testimony with the people you do life with, from friends to colleagues. Also, look for international people within your community, especially those that come from unreached parts of the world, that you can minister to and share the Gospel with.
“When internationals come to the US, they are seeking friendships to help them learn and navigate our language and culture, so they are actually looking for relationships with us. This creates open doors for us to build friendships and have Gospel conversations,” Birmingham, Alabama The Church at Brook Hills City Ministries Pastor Keith Stanley said.
Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you. – Mark 5:19
“Every church and Christian should strive to have a strategy to support Gospel outreach in all the concentric circles of their lives: family, friends, coworkers, and internationally,” Hale said.
Sarah encourages Christians to “embrace sometimes awkward evangelistic opportunities for the sake of the Gospel.” While not all believers may feel comfortable approaching either a stranger or friend to share the Gospel with them, it is the duty of followers of Christ to share the Good News, according to the Great Commission. Additionally, if we are true friends, we should want to share the Good News with our friends and people around us. Spreading the Gospel does not have to mean standing on a street corner with a Bible, but utilizing open and honest conversations with friends to introduce them to Jesus and share how He has changed your life.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:18-20
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the Gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. – 1 Timothy 1:8-10
Get Involved With Local Ministries
When deciding on what church to attend, Christians should be intentional in looking at what evangelism programs and ministries the church has established. Talk to pastors and staff members at your local church to see how they work to spread the Gospel within your city and how you can become involved with local missions.
With the combination of local churches and local ministries, Christians have plenty of resources to help people within the community to get plugged in with a church and to provide Bibles and Christian resource materials to unbelievers.
“We have such a unique opportunity to be hospitable, to be welcoming, and to share the hope of Jesus right here in our back yard with less risk, less financial burdens, more resources, and we don’t necessarily have as many hoops to jump through as there would be in going overseas,” Sarah said.
In addition, look for local volunteer opportunities to serve others. Serving your neighbors can be a way to show Christ’s love to others through your actions and can provide an opportunity to share the Gospel with those you help serve.
Trust the Spirit
In an article featured on Radical, Dual Citizen Podcast Host Anna Claire Noblitt said, “The Spirit empowers us to walk in considerate awareness, humble partnership, and compassionate attention to our neighbors.”
“Acts 17 tells us that it is God who is bringing internationals to us in our neighborhoods and spheres of influence because He has determined that this is the best place for them to seek and find Him,” Stanley said. “He then empowers us by His Spirit (Acts 1:8) and calls us all to be His witnesses as He providentially orchestrates our lives so we can show and share the Gospel with them.”
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. – Acts 17:26-27
I urge everyone to start praying to ask the Holy Spirit to show who you need to share the Good News with in your own life. Ask to have your eyes opened and to be aware of the need for the Gospel within your community. Pray for those in your life who need to hear about Jesus and pray for guidance on how you can approach them about Christ. Start praying for both the unreached locally and globally.
“Pray with your eyes wide open asking God to show you the internationals He has already brought into your rhythms of life, neighborhood, and spheres of influence,” Stanley said. “Then, begin to show hospitality, friendship, and servant love toward those already around you. Pray for their salvation and ask God to give you Gospel conversations with them.”
The Lord is chasing down each heart to know Him, and sometimes we followers are part of His plan for a new life in Him to begin. As followers of Christ, we know the beauty and joy found in life walking beside the Lord, and we should constantly be striving to help others find the joy only found in Him.