By Bill MacLeod, Executive Director
When Jesus told His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” in Matthew 28:19, he was referring to all ethnic groups or people groups, rather than geopolitical populations. A people group is essentially a collection of individuals who have a common sense of history, language, beliefs, and identity.
For how many of these groups is Easter meaningless?
Today, 42% of the world’s population is considered “unreached” or “unengaged” and would NOT be familiar with the Story of Jesus – that God became a man; who proclaimed the love of God; was rewarded by being put to death and placed in a tomb; that He came back to life in three days, and that He now offers forgiveness, hope, and life over death for those who choose to follow Him. For 42% of the world’s population, Easter IS meaningless.
I remember teaching a college class in my church years ago and I asked “What is the Great Commission?” A zealous business student jokingly replied, “about 25%”!
We all laughed because most everyone in the class knew what I was asking. But so many today would not even understand the question, even if you explained it! The five unengaged people groups today (referred to as “UPG’s”) include Tribals, Hindus, Chinese, Muslims, and Buddhists. Many of these groups live not only in far-away places that you cannot even pronounce, but many are our neighbors who study in our schools, and work for the Nike’s, Intel’s and employers we do.
At Mission ConneXion we are pleased to be able to engage the Great Commission Jesus left us with by connecting God’s people to mission through our partnerships with churches and mission organizations. One of those agencies is New Tribes Mission (NTM). Watch Paiye of the Moi tribe in Papua, who was reached by NTM missionaries, tell the Easter story in his own words.
There is no doubt when you watch Paiye that even without understanding his language, you can clearly understand his heart, and the life change he is experiencing!
I can get just as animated over what Jesus has done in my life, and I also rejoice that, in a small way, we get to be involved, through equipping opportunities like Muslim, Prayer, and Student ConneXion events, in making Easter Meaningful among those here and far-off – for whom Jesus is still a mystery!