Next week I’ll be leaving with a group to go to Haiti for a week to work with a local mission that oversees a school, and I’ll be responsible for helping to train local pastors and leaders. Though it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to do a trip like this, missions has long been a passion of mine, and Haiti will be the sixth county in which I’ve been blessed to serve the Lord. I’m excited to get to spend time with the people down there and especially to be with them as they worship.
Anytime that I’ve had the privilege to worship with believers in a foreign setting, it always reminds me of just how big and beautiful and varied the Church really is. It’s certainly a lot bigger than we often imagine it to be, and it is probably a lot less homogeneous than we assume to be also.
The Church (not your congregation, denomination, or favorite affiliation) is BIG. Probably the most captivating vision of the Church as she will one day be seen is found in Revelation 7, where John is given a vision of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” (v. 9).
Kevin DeYoung recently posted some great thoughts on this same passage. Here’s part of his post:
“This is not a vanilla multitude. When we get to heaven we will be pleased to find a vast array of people that do not look like us. There are going to be millions of Africans in that great multitude and plenty of Brazilians and Chinese and Filipinos, and lots of Mexicans and Indians and Arabs, and there will be some white people too. And if you think it is great to sing your favorite hymn in English, it’s going to be even better when you get to hear it in Shona and Swedish and Swahili. You’ll thrill to hear praise in Fang and French and Finnish, and rejoice to see the throng spill out their songs in German and Japanese and Hausa and Hungarian and Quechuan and Kazakh and Korean. Heaven will be diversity without the political correctness and multi-culturalism unified in one single purpose. Every heart, every head, every voice giving glory to God and to the Lamb.”
Your view of and vision for the Church may need to be bigger than it is. The gospel is meant to be taken to every tribe and language and people, because every tribe and language and people are meant to be gathered before the Throne.
The task is big, but so is the gospel. If you ever want to see just how we are faring in this task–and how much work is yet left to do–check out the Joshua Project. This ministry tracks how many unreached people groups there are in the world. (Go and ahead and look–the answer may surprise you.)
Please pray for all of those involved in sharing the good news that God has reconciled us to himself in Christ. Go and herald the King who is building his kingdom through Word and Spirit. If you can’t travel internationally, at least walk across the street to share with your neighbor. Be a part of something big.
DeYoung’s description is a moving and inspiring image to have of heaven!