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Bike team encourages Christians to be part of God’s global purpose

EDITOR’S NOTE: Participants’ names are withheld because of World A security, as most members expect to undertake additional work in this area of the world.

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Many American Christians want to be a part of the effort to reach the world for Christ but often lack information and leadership to be meaningfully involved, said members of B.I.K.E. for the Nations who spoke to 62 audiences during an 850-mile bike trip from Texas to Washington, D.C.
“We found very willing people with very little information,” said one member of the missions cycling team. “Members of the North American church are goodhearted people. They want to understand God’s purpose and do something about it, but overall they’re not sure how.”
The five Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary students, under the B.I.K.E. banner of “Be Involved in Kingdom mobilization to the Ends of the earth,” pedaled 45 consecutive days, speaking in 33 churches and other places this summer. Their message: Reach out through your community to the ends of the earth.
Many B.I.K.E. audiences were simply unaware of world situations or mission opportunities, even though some of the churches viewed themselves as missions-minded. “Few people knew the population of the United States or the world,” one member said. “Many didn’t know about the persecuted church. Few audiences were actively mobilized to reach local communities or unreached areas. Few had heard of God’s mission or their part of God’s global purpose.”
One person who attended a presentation said, “I’ve been a Southern Baptist for 60 years and have never heard this stuff.” Some people said they didn’t realize they could use computer skills overseas, serve in the International Mission Board’s International Service Corps even as divorced people or become summer or semester missionaries during college. Others were “thrilled” to discover missions Internet sites and unreached people group research on the Internet.
Traveling by bike “was a good way to go since it drew a lot of attention,” said one team member. The cycling had another purpose — as they cycled they prayed for the communities they rode through and six nations of the world each day. By the end of the journey, the team had prayed for every nation on the globe. The team pedaled through towns like Jonesboro, Ark., site of a tragic high school shooting, and past mosques and embassies in Washington, praying all the while.
The team’s trip had been birthed in two years of prayer for the evangelization of the world’s unreached peoples.
The B.I.K.E. team returned burdened that pastors and other church leaders must lead their churches to live radically obedient lives motivated by God’s desire for the whole world to know him.
“The leadership of the pastor is key in the church’s direction,” one team member said. “When a church is focused on God’s world — their community, state and globe — there is a definite sense of life and vitality.”
The B.I.K.E. team educated audiences on aspects of such missions as the 10-40 Window, Worlds A, B and C and the distribution of Christians’ money designated to mission work. They also taught God’s global perspective from Genesis to Revelation and at each stop left resources: Youth With a Mission’s “Praying Through 100 Gateway Cities;” The Bible League’s CD of testimonies of persecuted Christians; and Jeff Lewis’ Bible study “For the Glory of God to the Ends of the Earth.” At each stop they set up a booth of IMB resources, hoping to encourage people to apply what they had heard.
Because they liked the nations enough to bike for them, they shared with audiences some difficult facts: 90 percent of Christian ministry is directed to World C, where the gospel is not restricted, while only 1 percent is directed to World A, where half of the world has very restricted or no access to the gospel. “We saw surprised faces and heads shaking in shock as a few gasped,” said one member. “Little kids blurted out, ‘That’s not fair!'”
They told people that of every $100 given to evangelical churches, $99.90 is spent in World C, nine cents in World B and one cent in World A.
The team didn’t ask for money, however. “Often a mission speaker comes in and receives an offering from church members, many who, after giving money, feel they’re finished,” shared one team member. “God wants to mobilize all believers to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. We wanted people to keep their money and get the heart of God.”
Two prayer groups had been searching for two years for a purpose. After hearing from the team of the 2,000 unreached people groups, they found it. Both chose a group and now pray that the people will receive the gospel just like once-closed Mongolia has.
One team member said if every one of the 40,000 SBC churches and missions would adopt one of the unreached groups, each group would have at least 20 ministries praying for it.
Team members also encouraged churches to connect with current mission endeavors. A member who was a former journeyman added churches might be aware of their financial support of missions but do not know missionaries personally.
“Believers in the United States can and should be in partnership with overseas missionaries. The whole world can be reached if believers will pull together,” he said.
“After we spoke, some preachers would say, ‘There are needs over there, but we can’t forget our people over here,'” said one team member. “Our question is, ‘Has there ever been a church so focused on ‘over there’ that a pastor must remind us to not forget people here?’ Churches engaged in people groups overseas are more effective in reaching their own communities.”
Another team member said their topic wasn’t missions or an attempt to get everyone to go overseas, noting the need for people to stay and go. Rather, their topic was God’s mission, which “centers around his desire that his name and glory go the ends of the earth.”
“This should be the basis for everything that takes place in a church. The only way to reach a lost community and world is to do so simultaneously, as in Acts 1:8,” he said.
The B.I.K.E. team told audiences that God is bringing World A to American colleges and cities. “They can be reached a lot easier in the States,” a member said. “God is giving the American church a huge responsibility. He’s bringing them here. We have no excuse.”
Another team member expressed confidence that God would use America’s churches. “He uses those in tune with his purpose. The B.I.K.E. team planted lots of seeds among Christians this summer, and we’re excited to see how God will grow them. When churches live out his mission, some of the 3 billion unreached will know Jesus Christ. We feel responsible for what God is teaching us — it’s hard to be quiet.”

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  • Cindy Kerr