WASHINGTON - May 20 marks Pentecost Sunday, the anniversary of when the Holy Spirit fell upon and empowered Christ's disciples to take His Good News to the whole world. But this year, Pentecost Sunday will also be known as the International Day of the Unreached.
It's needed because so many billions of people aren't getting the chance to learn about the Good News. According to Wayne Pederson of the Alliance for the Unreached, more than a third of humanity will likely never hear a message about Jesus…unless the Church does something about it.
"Out of the seven billion people on planet Earth, I think it's 3.2 billion people, which is about 40 percent of the population, have no opportunity to hear the gospel where they live, in their location," Pederson told CBN News.
The day is meant to raise awareness, especially among the faithful, and wake them up.
According to a promotional video for the International Day of the Unreached, "on average the Church spends less than one percent on reaching the unreached. Do we care? Does this break our hearts? Does it motivate us, unite us, to take action?"
Pederson pointed to Jesus' last command on earth, saying, "We ought to pay attention to a person's last words. In this case, Jesus said to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth."
Unfortunately, a new poll shows American churchgoers can't even remember what that led to.
"Over 50 percent did not know when asked 'What is the Great Commission?'" Pederson shared.
He hopes a worldwide Facebook Live broadcast on May 20 will give Christians much-needed information about the Great Commission and what they can do to fulfill it.
Last year's International Day for the Unreached Facebook Live featured Christian recording artist and American Idol finalist Phil Stacey, top preachers and teachers, like Pastor David Platt, the author of "Counter Culture" and "Radical." Many will return this year.
Speaking of the unreached in the 2017 broadcast, Platt said, "We're talking about people who are born, they live and they die and they never even hear, nobody ever tells them the Good News of God's love for them in Christ."
In his conclusion, Platt stated, "What is it going to take for that concept of unreached people to become totally intolerable to us in the Church? I pray that God will in His mercy help us to see in His word His heart for the unreached.
"And in the process that His heart might become our heart, and that would change the way our lives and our families and our churches look for the spread of His great grace and love and ultimately the spread of His great glory to all the peoples of the earth," he continued.
The May 20 Facebook Live will also highlight how the 11 ministries involved with Alliance for the Unreached spread the gospel. For example, each year World Mission puts more than 40,000 solar-powered audio Bibles into the hands of millions of people.
"There are many parts of the world where literacy is less than 30 percent," Pederson explained. "So you can hand out printed Bibles all day long and people aren't going to read them. But putting the Bible on an audio player in their own language, they'll listen."
World Mission's Greg Kelley remembered giving one of these audio Bibles to a senior citizen in Kenya.
"I had the privilege to meet this man who was 82 years old who had never read a word in his life," Kelley shared in a World Mission video.
The Kenyan listened for awhile, then turned to Kelley and his companions.
"And the words that came out of his mouth have impacted us just in a dramatic way as he said, 'Your God speaks my language," Kelley recalled.
For those who may think reaching the unreached is none of their business, Pederson has an admonition.
"If we've been touched by the love of Christ and experienced His salvation, his forgiveness, the promise of eternal life," he noted. "If we've experienced that, any of us should want to share it with our next-door neighbor or our neighbor around the world."
You can find out more about the International Day for the Unreached's 90-minute Facebook Live broadcast. It will begin at 8:00 pm Eastern, 7:00 pm Central, 6:00 pm Mountain and 5:00 pm Pacific time, Sunday, May 20.
The Alliance for the Unreached is also offering on its Resource page all sorts of easy to download resources like sermon outlines, teacher guides, and church bulletin inserts.
Pederson and the Alliance hope many pastors, teachers, and spiritual leaders will use those resources and make it a point to talk about the International Day for the Unreached on Sunday, May 20 or during that week.