An alliance of globally focused ministries has designated May 15, 2016, as the International Day for the Unreached, a one-day event intended to inspire and mobilize Christians to reach out to more than 2 billion people around the world who have yet to hear the gospel.
The event, announced during a press conference at the annual National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, is sponsored by the Alliance for the Unreached, a group that includes Reach Beyond, Bibles For The World, Operation Mobilization, The Seed Company and Missio Nexus.
“In America, it’s easy to get comfortable and complacent. But we want to remind people that there are literally billions of people around the globe in desperate need of the good news of Jesus, but have never heard His name or story. We’re called to bring it to them,” said Wayne Pederson, Reach Beyond president.
Scores of Christian leaders are urging people to get involved. Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren made a direct appeal to all Christians:
“With more than 2 billion people who haven’t had a chance to meet Jesus, it’s time for the Body of Christ to take a radical stand and say, ‘This has to end in our generation.’ Join me in committing to pray, give, go, and advocate for those who need to know Christ by participating in the International Day for the Unreached.”
Evangelism has fallen on hard times in North America. Barna Group examined evangelism habits over two decades and found a disturbing trend. In a summary titled “Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?,” Barna President David Kinnaman concluded: “Evangelism is on the decline among key demographics, especially among ‘Busters’ and ‘Boomers’ who make up nearly two out of three active Christians today.”
It isn’t just evangelism at home that is suffering.
“As many believers in North America have lost concern about their neighbors who don’t know Christ, it’s becoming even harder to be concerned about people around the world who they will never meet,” said Marv Newell, senior vice president of Missio Nexus.
Some American churches are losing their zeal for foreign missions. At the same time, these trends are cultivating a fresh sense of urgency for Christian leaders who are promoting the International Day for the Unreached as an event to raise awareness of the dilemma and search for solutions.