From East Pickens to West Africa
Any church, any size, anywhere can adopt and engage an unreached people group.
In Luke 24:47, Jesus said that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning in Jerusalem. The word “nations” does not refer to geographic boundaries or governments, but people groups. The outcome of the Great Commission is for all people groups to hear the good news of Jesus, and have the chance to follow Him. We now know where all the people groups live and which ones have not yet been reached with the Gospel. It is simply a matter of churches taking ownership for an unreached people group until they are reached. If every Baptist church in the Carolinas committed to one people group, the task could be completed in our lifetime.
A people group is considered unreached when fewer than 2% of their population are evangelized believers. Why 2%? Once the group grows to that number, they are more able to share the Gospel broadly across their own people without outside help. Some unreached people groups are located in far- away places. They are not always easy to access and thus the travel cost and distance can be barriers to the group being reached with the Gospel.
But for East Pickens Baptist, the Lord provided another way.
East Pickens Baptist church is a typical rural Baptist church in the Upstate region of South Carolina. Pastor Jamie Duncan has a strong commitment to fulfill the Great Commission and leads his church to support missions and send workers into the field. The congregation began a partnership through their local association with church planters in the Send City of Cincinnati, Ohio. They also wanted to have a greater impact overseas by identifying and adopting an unreached people group (UPG).
Pastor Jamie felt God work to put an unreached people group from Guinea West Africa on their hearts.
Knowing the distance and expense of going to West Africa, East Pickens Baptist began to look for their people group nearby. Little did they know their national partnership with a church planter in Cincinnati would provide a place to engage their people group! As it turns out, this people group can be found in large numbers in Cincinnati. Now they have direct access, in a nearby place, to the same people group they had prayed for and worked to engage in West Africa!
Engaging unreached people groups can start in our own cities in the United States. The SC Baptist Convention has a partnership in New York City to help churches see the great numbers of unreached peoples living in our cities. Unreached people groups are not far away, but they are easily overlooked sometimes. East Pickens members don’t need a passport or immunizations to engage their people group now. More workers can be sent to engage them and it will not take very long to get there.
To learn more on engaging unreached people groups, feel free to contact the Missions Mobilization Group at (803) 227-6064 or email [email protected].