The only institution, with the exception of some schools that challenge people and affords them the power to change is a church. This is why in Mathew 16:18 our Lord Jesus Christ announced His spiritual warfare strategy in defeating the forces of darkness to be the establishment of an ekklesia (assembly of believers). This mandatory nature of a church is what Craig Ott and Ellen White in their books Global Church Planting and Acts of the Apostles respectively argue with force:
“The Church is not an afterthought, not merely a place where individual Christians happen to meet for encouragement. It is the object of Christ’s love and the instrument of his service in the world”
“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency”.
It is highly difficult for people to saved outside of an organized church as I have written elsewhere, the point that joining a church is an important part in being saved is stressed by how the bible reflects “being added to the church” as synonymous to “being added to the Lord” (Acts 5:14, Acts 2:47).If a church is so important in the process of being saved then what do we make of those neglected areas and communities that are categorized as un-entered or unreached. By un-entered to unreached people groups or areas here we mean those communities with no presence of surrounding Christians or more critical no surrounding Seventh-day Adventist Christians to lead them to the last day saving message of Jesus. As Cathy Morgan points out in book Adventist Missions in the 21st Century:
“An unconverted neighbor or an unevangelized town is not considered unreached when it exists where there are believers from the same people group in sufficient number around it. Near neighbor evangelism certainly still needs to take place. However when there is no practical potential for near-neighbour evangelism in a people group because there are few or no Christians in the group, then such is considered unreached”
Those who criss cross the outskirts of this country will know of communities that fall under this category in provinces like free state where our mission organisation is currently planting churches. As a ministry we are still trying to map out the entire country to locate all such communities so that we have a clear picture of where they live and how can we reach them (sad that we do not even have readily available statistics of such people groups). Some of these communities have a population size if 5000 – 10000, they live daily with a low probability of hearing about the savings truths of Jesus for these last days.
It was such communities that the apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 15:20:
“Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation”
Our pioneers used the ability to raise churches in unentered areas as the crystal marker that you have been kissed by divinity to enter ministry, as Elder White outlined in the Review and Herald, April 15, 1862:
“In no way can a preacher so well prove himself as in entering new fields. There he can see the fruits of his own labours. And if he be successful in raising up churches, and establishing them, so they can bear good fruits, he gives to his brethren the best proof that he is sent of the Lord”
I pray as an individual, family and church you can commit more funds, manpower and prayers to places where Christ has never been mentioned, at the end missions will reach it’s closure only when all nations, tribes, communities and people groups are reached not when there is merely church in existence in a country (Mathew 24:14).
by Sihle Khanyile