Nations Magazine, Issue 3 2021 – Now Online!
“In our own backyard”
Just prior to ascending to heaven, Jesus spoke his last recorded words: (Acts 1:8) “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
In this verse, Jesus envisages the gospel going out in concentric circles simultaneously, as follows:
• ‘Jerusalem’ – which best represents your church‘s immediate location;
• ‘Judea’ – the neighbourhoods around you;
• ‘Samaria’ – people further away including people of a different culture that may be living in your vicinity;
• and the ‘ends of the earth’ – unreached people groups / and those of a different culture.
In World Outreach, we normally focus on the ends of the earth (and we’ll continue to do so), but please note where Jesus said we were to begin – our Jerusalem, or to use colloquial language – our own back yard.
According to recent projections, 7 out of every 10 people in the world will live in cities by 2050. It is expected that urban centres will double in size between now and then. Large numbers of people are uprooting their lives and migrating to other countries or larger cities for various purposes: to escape hardship, to find work, to study, or to pursue greater opportunities.
Many of these migrants belong to unreached people groups and communities that restrict evangelism. They are now moving into towns and cities whether there are strong churches or effective outreach ministries.
While it is still important to send out missionaries ‘to the ends of the earth’ (which we do), the unreached people groups that are now ‘in our own backyard’ cannot be ignored. This phenomenon requires a new way of doing missions.
This edition of Nations will tell the stories of some of our field workers who felt called to reach the unreached in their own backyards. They’re successfully impacting people in their own Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Our prayer is that their lives and ministries would inspire you to reach out to those of other cultures, especially migrants from unreached people groups, in your own backyard. To find out more about how you can do so, please go to:
May we continue to do all we can to bring the good news of Jesus to our own backyard right through to the ends of the earth.