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FIRST-PERSON: Reaching the world … together

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about how Southern Baptists can most effectively reach our lost world for Christ. That’s a conversation from which I believe we can all benefit.

Most Southern Baptists believe Jesus is coming back soon — maybe in our lifetime. But most of us live as if He’s never coming back. The hour is urgent. In North America alone, there are 255 million people who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Around the world, more than 1.5 billion people still have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is under our watch. God calls every church and every believer to be on mission with Him in order for all people to hear the Gospel. We at the North American Mission Board believe it is imperative to have every believer sharing God’s redemptive story.

Our goal at NAMB is to have every believer sharing and every person hearing the Gospel in North America by 2020. But the Great Commission doesn’t end at the shores of North America. We must carry the message of God’s love and salvation to every tribe, tongue and nation.

In order to do that, we need to knit our hearts to the spirit of God, and prayer is one of the best ways to do that. If we’re going to see an awakening in North America and around the world, it has to start in our hearts. I hope you’ll join me in praying for spiritual revival as well as for the salvation of all people.

North America is a mission field in need of missionaries and missionary efforts. If we are to increase mission efforts abroad, we must strengthen our mission base here at home.

A quick survey across North America shows that we are becoming more diverse, more international and less cohesive by the moment. That’s why NAMB is increasing its focus on the people groups present in North America.

With the help of LifeWay Research, we have engaged in an in-depth study to identify and quantify the people groups living in North America. This will assist in determining how or if they are being reached with the Gospel, how receptive they are to the Gospel and where people groups are located. It also will help us know where God is already at work and how we can best join Him in that work.

Guess what happens as we more effectively reach people groups that have large populations living in North America.

As more of them are reached for Christ, their burden to take Christ back to their homelands grows. And Southern Baptist churches in North America that gain a vision and ministry for the people groups next door will want to send more church members and missions dollars overseas to reach the same people groups there.

NAMB directly impacts the international mission field by reaching people for Christ here in North America and raising up the next generation of missionaries. Together we can reach the world for Christ.

Will you join with Southern Baptists and make an intentional commitment to reach North America and the ends of the earth?
Richard H. Harris is acting interim president of the North American Mission Board. He also serves as senior strategist for the Sending Missionaries group at NAMB.

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  • Richard H. Harris