I love my America. But not in the xenophobic, nationalistic, Donald Trump kinda way. I love it because Asian refugees like my parents are free to pursue hope. Mom and Dad risked their lives to escape a Southeast Asian country bombed to hell by war so that I could have opportunities. Through that journey I was able to find something much more valuable than education, material goods or financial success. I found Jesus.
We all love America. We can find Jesus. We can share Jesus. We can pursue God’s purposes with passion. We know that God’s purpose is worship from every human being on every corner of the planet. We know that His redemptive purpose is to bring about His glory through the establishment of churches – or communities of faith – in every language, tribe and nation. And we know that God uses pioneers to go to places and love on people that have no access to Jesus.
So why are we so passionate about Jesus in the U.S.A. but display no passion for His glory among the nations? Our actions show that our missional priorities are completely out of wack. In the U.S.A. we have more fulltime pastors, missionaries and cross-cultural “pioneers” than any country in the world. Every year we spend more money and train more Christian workers for ministry in the U.S.A. as if Jesus’ final words were, “God Bless America”. Our God is globally minded and here are some reasons why He doesn’t need more pioneers in the U.S.A.
1. The Nations Have Not Come To Us
We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone no matter where we live. Refugees and immigrants from countries in the 10/40 Window have been coming to the U.S.A. for decades. I have amazing friends that are loving newcomers from Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nepal, Burma, and the list goes on. There is much potential for raising up leaders and disciples who can go back to their countries as Gospel pioneers.
Yet the fact remains that more than 3 billion people remain unreached and live outside the U.S.A. No matter how we try to spin it, the nations have NOT come to us. For example there’s over 16 million Somali’s living across eight countries in northeastern Africa. Compare that with approximately 90,000 Somali’s in the U.S.A., that’s only 0.05% of the total Somali population. Our current efforts in the U.S.A. will not even scratch the spiritual lostness that exists outside our country…meaning we must go to them.
2. The Harvest is Few and Workers are Plenty
In Luke 10:2 Jesus illustrated the disparity between unreached peoples and Gospel workers. “What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees, ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands.” (The Message)
Harvest = Lost people of the world who are open to the Good News
Harvest Hands = Workers who share the Good News and Make Disciples
The U.S.A. is but one small harvest field in a world filled with 7 billion people. Our problem is not for a lack of workers but it’s that we have too many. We are overcrowded with laborers who are competing with one another over influence and territory. For example out of 10 full time Christian pioneers 9 either remain in the U.S.A. or work in countries that already have established churches while 1 is working among unreached people groups. Did you get that? That’s like saying we have 10 available doctors for 100 sick people and we are sending only 1 to work among the 90 that are in the worst medical condition.
In America, there isn’t a single ethnic, social, or cultural group that does not have Gospel workers or ministries among them. Every societal group and U.S. city has image bearers of Jesus. There are Kingdom workers at play in every area you go. Despite what the discouraging statistics say about the decline of faith and church in America, faith and church still exists to some degree in every place. Pioneers are needed outside the U.S.A. among the global fields where the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.
3. The Resources are Abundant
Americans give 45 billion a year to missional causes. Of this 99% is spent in the U.S.A or countries that already have established churches. Less than 1% is used to towards Unreached Peoples of the world. In fact, for every $100,000 that Christians make, they give $1 to the unreached. Christians could provide all of the funds needed to plant a church in each of the 6,900 unreached people groups with only 0.03% of their income.
The earth has approximately 9,800 languages representing 7 billion people. Of these languages about 4,765 have at least one or some of the following: Bible portions, the Jesus Film, Christian radio, or Gospel recordings. 2,135 languages have none of these resources available. In contrast we in the U.S.A. have thousands upon thousands of Biblical resources at our disposal. Our country and our churches have roughly 3,000 times the financial resources and 9,000 times the manpower needed to finish the Great Commission.
I grew up with cockroaches and gangbangers. I spent time as a novice Buddhist monk and was a juvenile delinquent. I was unchurched and my people were unreached. Yet God pursued me and sent pioneers into my world. They showed me love and modeled the way of Jesus. They imparted God’s missional heart and gave me biblical glasses to see the billions of lost people that live outside the U.S.A. My life, my country and my issues no longer seemed so important. I wanted to be, I’m trying to be, a pioneer to the nations.