Undo the Hidden Assumption
Finally, when I contemplate this question – why someone with a passion for the unreached and unengaged peoples of the world lives in Birmingham, Alabama – I conclude that the question itself contains a hidden assumption that, with all due respect, I am not comfortable with. This question almost assumes that those who have a passion for the “unreached and unengaged” should live among the “unreached and unengaged,” and those who have a passion for the “reached and engaged” should live among the “reached and engaged.” But I am convinced by God’s Word that every follower of Christ should have a passion for the “unreached and unengaged.”
Together, we have all been given a command to make disciples of all nations (i.e., panta ta ethne, among all the people groups of the world). Obedience to the Great Commission, therefore, requires commitment to taking the gospel to all the people groups of the world. This is a command for all of us, and it is not an option for any of us.
How God calls us to carry out that command obviously varies from person to person and church to church. But whether someone is a pastor (or Christian, for that matter) in Birmingham, Minnesota, Seoul, Beijing, Delhi, or London, we are all commanded to make disciples among all the people groups. Therefore, we all need a passion for the unreached and unengaged.
Like every other follower of Christ, I want to live “wherever I am” with a God-given, Christ-centered, gospel-saturated, world-embracing longing to see every people group on the planet reached with the gospel so that our life-giving, grave-conquering, all-satisfying King receives the praise that he is due. That’s the primary motivation that drives me as a pastor in, of all places, Birmingham, Alabama.
[author image=”http://www.vergenetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/David-Platt-230-close-bw.png” ]David Platt is the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL, and author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Multnomah, 2010). He and his wife, Heather, have two sons, Caleb and Joshua.[/author]
This is part of a series by Verge Network called Reaching the Unreached. If you are interested in learning more about unreached people groups and out to get involved, please visit www.100peoplenetwork.org