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Who are "A Third of Us"?

Dispelling Missions Myths and Uniting Believers

Christar is one of the many organizations that have partnered with the Alliance for the Unreached in striving to see the Great Commission fulfilled to the ends of the earth. Below, Dr. Marvin J. Newell, member of the Christar Board of Trustees and Executive Director of the Alliance for the Unreached, debunks a few common myths about missions and shares about work to unite believers in bringing the gospel to the unreached and least-reached peoples around the world.

Today, more than a third of humanity does not have access to the gospel. Over 3.2 billion people have yet to hear the good news of Jesus, being denied the opportunity to believe in Him as Lord and Savior. Of all the injustices in the world—and there are many that are quite distressing—this is the worst of all because of the eternal consequences of not having opportunity to hear and believe the good news of Jesus Christ.

The people who comprise this large swath of humanity lack access to the gospel because they have no or woefully insignificant contact with three life-giving essentials so common to followers of Christ. The three can be summed up in “Three Nos”: no Bible, no church and no known believers.

Is unreached the same as unsaved?

You have probably heard the statement, “My unsaved neighbor must be unreached too, right?” This is a common misconception about what is meant by “unreached.” When we meet those in our community who are unsaved, it is easy to assume that they are also unreached, equating unsaved with unreached. But that is not the case, and here is why.

The vast majority of people in communities across North America are reached with the gospel, meaning that they have access to the good news in their language in some form or another. They can access the good news of Jesus daily by television, radio, internet, cell phone apps, published books and pamphlets. And one result of the coronavirus pandemic is that online church services can be accessed from anywhere by almost anyone. This access provides the opportunity to believe the gospel, reject it or ignore it.

But this is not true for the 3.2 billion people living in gospel-destitute areas of the world. They are considered unreached because they have no access to the good news. They still await opportunity to hear the message of Jesus for the first time.

Is every believer a missionary?

We commonly hear, “Every Christian is a missionary.” I heard it again the other day on the radio from a well-known Christian speaker. While I wish it true that every believer was a missionary, that simply is not the case. The essence of the word “missionary” (or “missions” from which it is derived) is “one who is officially sent.”  A missionary is a messenger who is vetted and authoritatively sent by God through the Church to go from where the gospel is known and believed to where the gospel is unknown and not believed. Usually this involves the crossing of cultures because of the dearth, if not nonexistence, of gospel access and awareness in the receiving culture.

But let me hasten to add two undeniable truths that give reassurance to every Christian’s value in missions. First, all believers are to be a witness no matter where they are. Second, every believer is to be engaged in missions! No one is exempt. All are to be involved in one of two ways: either as a gospel sender, or as a gospel goer (missionary). Each of us has a part to play in God’s redemptive mission to the world. And each is of equal value and importance.

Why was the Alliance created?

The Alliance for the Unreached was founded to bring awareness to Christ-followers of gospel-destitute areas of the world that have no access to the gospel. Accordingly, we exist to catalyze a movement that unites churches, organizations and individuals around the cause of reaching every unreached people group and region on earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our conviction that every Christ-follower should be engaged in this endeavor.

Thus, one of the goals of the Alliance is to bring about a fuller awareness of the unreached to believers. We firmly believe that it is the responsibility of all followers of Christ to participate in communicating the gospel message and to make disciples among all peoples of all nations as Jesus commands. Realizing that many do not have the tools or resources to do that, we provide the “Great Commission Action Guide,” a guide to praying for the unreached, videos, data/information and other helps that can easily be accessed on our website. Additionally, we sponsor the annual International Day for the Unreached, which enables Christians to focus one day a year on the plight of the unreached. Our mission is to mobilize people, prayer and resources to afford gospel access to the still unreached. The unreached need not remain unnoticed. We expose their gospel deprivation to gospel-rich communities.

You can make a difference. We’d love for you to join us in the incredible work that God is already doing to make His name known around the world!

Have you prayerfully considered how you could partner with Christar in helping bring the gospel to least-reached communities? No matter your God-given talents or stage of life, we have a number of ways to get involved. From praying and learning to going, sending or giving, every believer has a part to play in God’s bigger story!

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