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What the church is doing wrong

The weekend before Thanksgiving break, I went on a little trip to the frigid city of Minneapolis with 18 members from my church.

This trip is part of a training my church does to teach average Christians like myself to adequately explain the gospel to others and raise up new disciples.

A couple years ago, my church made a big decision and entered into a ten-year goal to send 50 long-term missionaries to India and raise up 1,000 new disciples. Three years into this goal, the gospel has been shared nearly 3,000 times and 132 people have decided to follow Jesus.

For those who are serious in the training, there is an EXPLORE trip with  an organization called Engage Global stationed in Minneapolis. It is a non-profit organization run by nine people who all have a heart for missions, specifically the 10/40 Window (which I will explain later.)

Engage Global’s mission statement says that they “partner with local churches in mobilizing their people to extend God’s glory by engaging them in seeing churches planted among unreached peoples.”

Their goal for the trip is to help people discover God’s heart for the world by taking them from Genesis to Revelation, understand that the task to bring the name of Jesus to every corner of the world remains unfinished and how to reach people cross-culturally, as well as discover where we fit into God’s story.

On Saturday morning, we toured one of the largest Hindu temples in the country and visited the Somali market in the evening.

When I mentioned my trip to some of my Christian friends, they were leery about where I was going, especially the Somalia market because of the stigma surrounding the Muslim community. But I went with an open mind, excited to learn about the Hindu and Muslim culture.

I was blown away, but also burdened with a heavy heart by what I saw and learned.

Hindus believe all paths lead to Moksha (the liberation from the cycle of reincarnation) no matter who or what you worship, as long as you lead a good life. They are also a work-based religion and they are required to take care of their gods. Inside the temple were 21 large, elaborately-designed structures that their gods reside in. The priest is required to feed, bathe, wake and even put the god to bed.

If you’ve ever done research on Hinduism, you’ll understand that it is a vast religion.

I was talking to a young girl at the temple and she said that even though she’s grown up Hindu, she only understands roughly 20 percent of it.

At first, the Somali market was overwhelming. It is a four-story mall with narrow hallways and small rooms packed floor to ceiling with vibrant cloths and strange–but-good smells.

My favorite part of the whole trip was the people and allowing my heart to be opened to God’s love for the lost.

There is an area in the world called the 10/40 Window, which refers to the eastern hemisphere located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator where two-thirds of the world lives.

Within this area, there are roughly 5,574 unreached people groups, which is around 83 percent of the unreached people groups in the world. However, only three percent of missionaries work in the 10/40 Window.

After my trip, my eyes were opened to this need and I wonder why this part of the world has been abandoned. If we are called to go where the need is greatest, then why is this the least reached area in the world?

Jesus’ last words to his disciples were to go to the ends of the earth, preaching his name to all nations (Matthew 28:18). I’m sure if you’ve grown up in the church, you have this verse memorized or have at least heard of it before. And if you call yourself a Christian, you are Jesus’ disciple. But as I look around, I realize that Christians aren’t following this command. In fact, only five percent of Christians will ever share their faith with someone.

Something I believe the American church is doing wrong is focusing on filling the seats in their building and not focusing on the 7,000 people groups in the world who have never heard of Jesus before.

When I die and stand before God, I don’t want him to congratulate me on the use of lasers and fog during worship or the Chelsea boots my pastor wore. I would rather have heaven a little fuller because I talked to the cashier at QuickTrip about Jesus.

The importance of sharing the Gospel has been lost as we have become comfortable with our mega churches and Instagramable Sundays. If only five percent of Christians are actively sharing the gospel, the other 95 percent are missing the mark.

We live in the comfort of a country where many know the name of Jesus, even if they don’t believe in him. We fail to understand there are people that don’t live in Haiti who have never heard of Jesus.

The man who taught my group at Engage Global told us a story. He was in Laos city and asked if they knew Jesus. The man paused, thinking for a while, and told them Jesus must live in the town over because they didn’t know him.

To Christians, Jesus is our all-powerful, healer, savior, mighty prince of peace and so much more. But to more than 7,000 people groups, he is just another man who lives in the next town over. And it’s up to the church to change that.