Then Jesus came to them and said, “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 28:16-20
Jesus’s command to us is clear: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” But notice what Jesus doesn’t say here. He doesn’t say:
“Go and make disciples where there is no resistance.”
“Go and make disciples where they like you.”
“Go and make disciples where you are not in any danger.”
He says go and make disciples in every nation.
Here’s our missions challenge today: the only places on earth that are left to be reached are the difficult places. Our missionary efforts can no longer follow the path of least resistance. There are still over 6,500 unreached people groups around the world. That’s not 6,500 people groups who don’t go to church. That’s not 6,500 people groups who are secular and just don’t like Jesus or the church.
There are 6,500 people groups who have never heard the Good News.
So how do we make disciples in those people groups? To quote my good friend Roger, “They are inconveniently lost and someone is going to have to be inconvenienced to reach them.”
This means we can’t just send a missionary and build a church and preach openly. In many of these places, that will get you kicked out, thrown in prison, or quite possibly, killed. But Jesus didn’t tell us that the Great Commission ended when it got difficult. He said our work would only be done when we had made disciples of all nations.
So how do we go and make disciples, for example, where ISIS is training young men and women to kill Christians? The good news is there is an answer to that question. The even better news is we are already going there and starting the difficult work of making disciples.
The places that remain unreached with the Gospel are not places we can show up, stamp a missionary visa in our passport and start preaching and building churches and Bibles Schools. These are places we call “Creative Access” countries. Our partners at Live Dead have figured out that, even though we can’t send a traditional missionary to ISIS’s backyard, we can send a businessperson.
So here is how we are taking the Gospel to these difficult places. We are sending teams into these hostile cities to start businesses–English schools, Crossfit gyms, medical clinics, tourist companies. Those businesses add value to the community by meeting a local need and even providing local jobs, and they also give us a compelling reason to be in places that wouldn’t otherwise want us there. We use those businesses to begin building relationships that ultimately result in leading people to Jesus and building the church. And it’s working!
At its core, business is about meeting a need and serving people. The God-designed mechanism of business and entrepreneurship is allowing us to plant the church in some of the most unreached places on the globe.
French journalist, Nicolas Hein, was held hostage by ISIS for 10 months. After his release was negotiated, he wrote the following about his experience:
“The winner of this war will not be the party that has the newest, the most expensive or the most sophisticated weaponry, but the party that manages to win over the people to its side. What we have to do–and this is really key–is we have to engage the local people.”
That is exactly what we plan to do.
The only way we win this war is to win hearts to Jesus. Period.
Remember when we thought we had defeated AL Qaeda? Now we have Boko Haraam and Al Shabab and ISIS. We can wipe all of them out, and you know what? More will come. Because it’s not ISIS that’s the problem, it’s the spirit of Antichrist in this world. And the only One who can overcome the spirit of Antichrist is the power of the love of Jesus Christ. The Good News of the Gospel!
So you go ahead, send us your gunmen and your suicide bombers, send your militias, send us your hate and your judgment, and we’ll send you our 18-year-old English teachers who will help you, and serve you, and tell you the Good News about how much Jesus loves you.
And that’s how we’ll change the world. That’s the Story that wins. That’s a strategy that wins.
Will you help us tell them the beautiful truth about Jesus?