We landed in Raleigh last night.
For those of you who are not aware, this weekend a conference is happening here at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to discuss one of the most important issues facing the church in North America today: how we will discover and engage the scores of internationals coming to our communities with the gospel. The summit is a joint endeavor of several missions agencies, state Baptist conventions, and other organizations who all see the need to train and equip our local churches for cross-cultural ministry right here in our own backyard.
If you have read more than one article on this site, you know that the United States is far away the largest recipient of global migration. Unprecedented waves of foreign born peoples are coming to America, and when you have a God-given mission like the Great Commission, this has massive implications. For two hundred years, making disciples of all nations has meant sending missionaries overseas. But what does it mean to make disciples of all nations when those same nations are moving into the cul de sac down the street?
This question may be one of the most important for us to answer in our generation. Take for instance my flight to North Carolina. The lady sitting next to my wife and I was from China. She currently serves as a business professor at a very reputable university here in the Research Triangle. She was returning from an academic conference in Houston, where we now live. We shared that we were headed to a conference in Raleigh. When the topic of the conference came up, we explained that it was about equipping churches to share the gospel with internationals, like herself. What happened next demonstrates, to our shame, where I am afraid the church currently sits concerning this untapped ministry.
This sharp, well-educated woman (who has taught at one of our nation’s best universities for a decade), perks up and asks us, “Can you explain Christianity to me?” She continues, “I know it is a very important thing to many Americans, but we are atheist in China. I have visited a church out of curiosity, but I do not understand. Can you explain it to me?” I believe the next 20 minutes was the first time this lady from China, who has lived in the United States for 20 years now, had heard the gospel. She has been in America for years, lives in the Bible belt, and is well connected to her community as a professor at a prominent university, and no one has taken the time to explain Christianity to her.
She asked us, folks.
Our hope at Reaching the Nations is to answer that question and help churches prepare for this next phase in taking the gospel to the nations. Today, I write to ask two things of you: prayer for us, and show up if you can.
Pray for Reaching the Nations in North America
This weekend hundreds of ministry leaders from local churches, mission agencies, church associations and networks, and state conventions will gather here at Southeastern to discuss this pressing issue. Please pray for us. Pray that some will have their eyes opened to the importance of this in their local ministry. Pray for others to receive guidance in how to accomplish this new missionary task in front of our churches. Pray for those opening the Bible and teaching us. Pray that God will work in his people to accomplish his mission for his glory.
Show up if you can!
There are two ways you can show up: in person and online.
There is still time to make it to the event. While registration for the event online is closed, you can always come and sign up at the door. If you are in driving distance, I encourage you to consider making this a part of your weekend plans.
For those of you who are too far away, or are anchored for the weekend, there is always the option to livestream the event. It is easy to peek in on the conversation, and I would certainly encourage you to do so.
To find out more information about the conference, go check out the website. All the information you need to make the conference of livestream is right there on the site. Check out the schedule, or click the “livestream” link in the top corner to get started.