Obeying the Great Commission and making disciples among diaspora is my top priority while living in New York City.
I used to hold a traditional view of missions – which was bringing the gospel to unreached people groups. But serving in Equip has shifted my perspective of what it means to reach the nations by making disciples among the diaspora.
Entering NYC can be a huge culture shock. Suddenly, I see hundreds of diaspora people groups all around me. These movements of specific populations come from their homelands to a foreign nation for various reasons. Many of these diaspora groups are coming from areas of the world where the gospel has not yet taken root. This gives us a great opportunity to reach them and start making disciples.
Make Disciples Among Diaspora People
The nations have literally arrived at our doorstep! It feels strikingly similar to stepping foot onto foreign soil. My first day in New York, I counted seven different languages within the first 30 minutes of walking down the street – not to mention many other languages I could not identify. In my neighborhood alone, there is a Latino bodega selling fresh fruit and vegetables one end of my street, while an Albanian meat market stands on the opposite corner, and a Chinese family runs a fish stand less than half a block away.
Because many diaspora people have lived here for years, you can get by speaking English. Every once in a while, however, English does not suffice.
According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 51% of New Yorkers speak only English at home. The rest of the population speaks any of the other 800 languages that exist across the five boroughs. Along with the various language and cultural expressions, diaspora people groups also bring their different religious expressions. This opens many doors for spiritual conversations, deep relationships and spaces to share the gospel. This then enables us to make disciples!
Broaden the Vision of Making Disciples
Through Equip, the Lord has broadened my vision of what making disciples among diaspora people looks like. He is showing me the advantages of serving in an international urban context among diaspora people groups. The Lord desires to reach every nation and has commissioned us to do so. He has welcomed us into His plan of reconciling the world to Himself through His Son. Nothing could be more exciting!
Not only should we focus on bringing the Good News to areas of the world where it does not exist, but we should also be making disciples with diaspora people who voluntarily come to us.