As we look back on 2020, we are amazed at God’s grace that has been displayed in your generosity. From every angle, we’ve seen God’s provision. This is particularly true with our Roots & Reach initiative that both sought to provide contexts where our roots here could be healthy and also to extend our reach as a church as we’ve invested 20% of the funds given to special missions projects outside of Brook Hills.
We’ve now completed our first five projects. Yes, five. We actually finished fully funding our fifth project, “Invest in Hope,” back in early December, which means with your faithful and generous giving through the end of 2020 we've already been making progress in funding our sixth project. We're calling this project “Mobilizing the Church for Great Commission Strategy.” In this project, we are partnering with our friends at Radical to fund the website platform for a new data-driven online tool that will help churches maximize their resources and mission efforts to reach the least-reached.
The reality is, how you see the world affects how you engage the world. History reveals this fact. If you study the maps that were redrawn during World War I, you can see how different political agendas were driving cartography at the time. Even today, China has sought to change the outlook of their citizens on their interests in the South China Seas by altering the maps their people have access to. They realize something: a map is a powerful tool to shape national interest. The way you see the world, they’ve realized, shapes how you engage the world. In other words, a map shapes the mission.
But how do we, as the Church of Jesus Christ, we as The Church at Brook Hills, see the world? Every week we end our worship gatherings reciting the Great Commission where Jesus commands his church to make disciples of all nations. To be the church is to be sent to our neighbors here and the nations there.
When we draw a mental map of the world through the lens of the Bible and our mission, we see everyone in the world as either in Christ, having heard the gospel and believed, or outside of Christ, not having put their faith in Christ Jesus as their only hope.
But when we dig a little deeper into that category of being outside of Christ, there emerges this other reality: some people in the world have access to the gospel, to hear it and believe it. People like your neighbors here. They have access to the gospel because they have you and me as their neighbors or they pass multiple churches each and every day as they go to work. They are considered reached in the sense that they live within reach of gospel witness.
But, for around 2.5 billion people on our planet, they are both outside of Christ and beyond the current reach of the gospel. They have very little or no access to hearing the gospel in their language at all. We call them the least-reached peoples of the world. This means that they will likely live and die and never have the chance to hear about Christ and believe in Christ.
In light of that reality, this statistic should startle us: well over 90% of the resources in the Christian church in the West go to the places that already have access to the gospel. Less than 5% of resources are being invested in the peoples and places that remain beyond the reach of the gospel. The overwhelming majority of the focus for the existing church in the West is on reached areas, and that reality must be addressed. Radical has designed this web-based tool to correct this imbalance. The map that shapes our mission has to change in order for us to prioritize the least-reached peoples of the world.
This tool will also equip the church with the necessary data for what it will take to bring the gospel to these least-reached peoples. There are multiple reasons why these people groups remain outside the reach of the gospel at this point, and this website gives multiple layers of information to inform our prayers and our efforts to overcome these barriers. Some of the obstacles may be religious beliefs that oppose the gospel. Sometimes geography is a challenge that limits access, like for places such as Nepal. For other nations, political instability and war stifle outside influence, like in Somalia. Even climate issues can stifle access, like for Northern Africa. Getting access to the gospel to these peoples and places will not be easy, and this website incorporates these data points to help develop comprehensive strategies to engage them. Identifying these barriers to what keeps the least-reached least reached is critical to correcting this imbalance of resources and taking the gospel to the remaining people groups of the world that have yet to hear.
This is where our sixth Roots & Reach project comes in. We are partnering with our friends at Radical to mobilize the church for Great Commission strategy by funding a portion of this powerful tool to clarify who the least-reached are and what it will take to reach them. This will be an interactive website where churches and Christians can see the world in order to reach the world. This map will shape the mission for the global church to engage people who have urgent spiritual and physical needs.
The Church at Brook Hills will play a part in making this website a reality that will be launched at Secret Church in April.
The total cost of this project is $50,000, which means an additional $250,000 given to the Roots & Reach Initiative will ensure its funding. If you add this amount to our initial five goals of $1,305,000, we as a faith family will fully fund this sixth special missions project once we hit a total of $1,555,000 given to Roots & Reach.
For more information on the Roots & Reach Initiative, along with ways to give, visit brookhills.org/rootsandreach.