Unreached people groups in NYC are everywhere. People flock to NYC from all over the world in search for better opportunities, many of whom have never heard the best opportunity: following Jesus Christ! Working in NYC as a missionary to these unreached people groups can often seem overwhelming due to the sheer number of unreached people. How can I invest enough time in each person for them to really understand the gospel and have the opportunity to give their life to follow the Savior of the world?
This is where the concept of the Person of Peace comes in (see Luke 10:6). Instead of a multitude of people, we are looking for the people who God has prepared in advance. We are looking for where the harvest is ripe. Hence our daily goal is not to get every person we encounter to follow Jesus but to sift through the communities we are reaching in search of the person of peace, the person who is ready to receive the gospel.
An attitude adjustment
When your focus is no longer on trying to convince each unreached person you meet to follow Jesus, but your focus is on trying to find that person of peace, your success is different. A successful day in the harvest is no longer based on how many people have decided to follow Jesus (although this is fantastic), but rather how many people have you “sifted through.” That is, people you have spoken to in such a way that you can gauge if they are a person of peace, a person who is spiritually interested or desiring to know more about Jesus.
Lessons from Edison
Instead of feeling discouraged that no-one in the 25 people you met today want to follow Jesus, you can rejoice that you have “weeded out” 25 people who are not the person of peace that you are searching for! Just as Edison said: “I didn’t fail. I just found 2,000 ways not to make a light bulb; I only needed to find one way to make it work.” We are in search of the one and will not be discouraged with the 2,000 who are not ready for the gospel.
Reaching the unreached: a more effective method
In disciple-making movements and church planting movements, we, the missionaries, know that when compared to Christians from that unreached people group, we are not nearly as effective. There are many barriers: cultural, language and worldview to name a few, that prevent us from effectively sharing the gospel with people from other cultures. Hence, to reach the unreached people groups, whether here in the U.S. or overseas, our main focus is finding the few people of peace who will receive Jesus and train them to go to their people with the Good News. This will be much more fruitful than we ever will be.
The search is on! Here in NYC and around the world, missionaries search for people of peace who can be the beginning of a massive movement of unreached people groups turning to follow Jesus. Will you join us?