Are we there yet? This is a question that every parent with a child who has been on a road trip has been asked before. At least once. Usually in repetition. It is a question that assumes a destination. It is a question that assumes there is an ending point. For the child in the back seat, it is a question that assumes there will be a point in time when the journey will be over and they can get out of the car. Business leaders ask this question of their employees on the progress of assigned tasks. For the employee, it is a question that assumes the employer is looking for the finished product. Ultimately, it is a question of a completed task.
“Are We There Yet?” is also the theme for the 2010 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Of all the themes in recent history, I believe this one is the most personal and urgent. The question that is asked is pointed. The question that is asked is honest. The question that is asked is demands an answer. The question that is asked requires examination on our parts. The question that is asked cannot be avoided. The question that is asked should cause us as Southern Baptists to evaluate our priorities.
As we consider this question, we have to determine where “there” is. After all, if we don’t know where “there” is, how will we know if get there? Our “there” is wrapped up in the commission Christ gave to His disciples prior to His ascension that has come to be known as the Great Commission. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” In Mark 16:15, we find Jesus’ words again “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” For Southern Baptists, and evangelical Christianity as a whole, the “there” is reaching the lost world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the latest figures available from the International Mission Board, the numbers are both staggering and sobering. There are 3,724 people groups that are not engaged at all with the gospel. People groups refer to groups of individuals, families, or clans that share a common language and ethnic identity. Scott Holste, Director of the IMB Global Research Department says, more specifically, “a people group is the largest group through which the gospel can flow without encountering a significant barrier of understanding or acceptance.” There are 6,426 unreached people groups (those with less that 2% of people who profess to have a personal relationship with Christ). There are 1.7 billion people worldwide that have little or no access to the gospel. 89% of the North African and Middle Eastern people groups are unreached.
So, “Are We There Yet?” Not by a long a long shot. There is work left to do. There are choices to make. In part two of this post, I will examine some questions in which in our answers will determine how quickly we get “there”.