Not so long ago, and even today in a few cars, the radio was tuned by a turn of the dial…and every so often, it had to be adjusted to get a clear signal. Readers of this blog and people who know me, know that my first priority in missions are those peoples who have no access to the Gospel in their heart language and culture. The vast majority of those persons are among the least evangelized, of whom most are in the 10-40 window.
This article however, and the research behind it, do not change my commitment or my perception, but do clarify where the least evangelized are here in the United States.
In Acts 8, the first wave of persecution hits the Church in Jerusalem and as a result the believers scatter. A quick read suggests it was simply a difficult time in the Church. A more careful reading of Acts 8 and Acts 1 reveals that Jesus had commanded the believers to wait until Pentecost when they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. Pentecost happens in chapter 2–and in chapter 8, the disciples are still hanging out in Jerusalem. And so God used the persecution of chapter 8 to send the disciples out, “While you are going, make disciples…” (Matthew 28).
The opposite can be true: there are times when God moves the peoples of the earth into the realm of his believers to further the task of bringing the Gospel to all peoples, just like there are times when God moves his people out of their homes and into the world at large.
Todd Johnson has demonstrated that the least evangelized peoples of the world are moving to the United States–and yet, even here, the Church has not yet succeeded to become a faithful witness among these new communities. Thus, a Church that wants to get involved in reaching the least evangelized does not need to go to North Africa, South India, the Middle East or Southeast Asia–they can look with the eyes of faith to find the same peoples in their own community.
It’s time to adjust the dial and to be clear, God does not simply call us to go far, rather he calls us to seek out those who do not know him and to further seek out those who have no access to the Good News of his Son, Jesus Christ.