Recent surveys by the Barna Research Group (https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/648-is-evangelism-going-out-of-style#.VwHYAbvmqUl) and various Protestant denominational statistics show a sharp decline when surveying Christians on their experience in evangelism.
You may know this to be true in your corner of North America, but my experience in leadership in international missions says the opposite. As I served with Seed Company, a Wycliffe Bible Translators Affiliate, we saw a resurgence of like-minded organizations choosing to partner together in service to rapidly increasing Bible translation projects and church-planting movements. Evangelism is alive in so many regions such as Africa, Central and Eastern Asia and Central America.
Thinking about our own backyard, I was burdened as I read commentaries from leaders like Greg Stier of Denver-based Darer2Share http://www.christianpost.com/news/7-reasons-america-has-not-been-reached-for-christ-86004/ lamenting the challenging nature of evangelism response in the America. Leaders of other international missions organizations shared this concern as well.
Primarily through the efforts of Wayne Pederson and Jon Fugler of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global), a coalition of like-minded groups have established the annual International Day for the Unreached (IDU) . Joining Reach Beyond and Seed Company as Founding Members were Operation Mobilization, Missio Nexus, and Bibles For The World. Additional members include Partners International, World Mission, Mission Network News, Frontier Ventures, Joshua Project, ZimZam Global, InChrist Communications and World Mission. The central focus of each ministry zeroes in on reaching out with the Gospel to those who have never had a chance to meet Christ.
IDU will be celebrated by hundreds-of-thousands of believers worldwide on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after Easter each year. Downloadable resources, including a Great Commission Action Guide, sermon notes, 30-day prayer calendar, videos, social media posts and much more are available at DayfortheUnreached.org. IDU is modeled after the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted church with the goal of increasing the awareness and response for the 2-billion who have never heard the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. Here is an introductory video explaining the cause.
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren and Paul Eshleman, founder of The Jesus Film Project are two of the endorsers. Many major Christian-format radio networks and stations around the country are promoting the event including Moody Radio, 106.9 The Light, WBGL-FM, The Joy-FM Radio and Faith Radio. Pastors around the country are encouraged to preach sermons on the topic, while small groups focus on Jesus’ command to go to the nations.
I believe this is a major stewardship opportunity for the North American church. With less than one-percent of all missions giving directed toward these 2-billion unreached people, moving the needle upward can make a huge difference and help fulfill the promise our Lord shared that “this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). Think of each individual who will hear God’s voice because you’ve shared the DayfortheUnreached.org link. I’m focused on a family living in a dark corner of the Middle East, gripped by fear because of the teachings of the dominant religion there, being introduced to Jesus via technology in their language & I stand amazed knowing “nothing’s impossible with God!”
It really is the whole business of the Church to go into the darkness of humanity and share the hope of Jesus. With accelerated technology and multiplied partnerships in every country, we’re closer to reaching that two billion than ever before.