The Apostle Paul traveled 13,000 miles on his missionary journeys and according to the NYC Department of Transportation there are 12,750 miles of sidewalk in New York City.
If Paul could travel 13,000 miles to bring the gospel to those who had not heard, is it crazy to think that we could walk 12,750 miles to do the same in New York City?
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 tells us to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…”
There is no more strategic place in the world to “go” and make disciples than New York City.
To begin with, there are people speaking 800 languages from 500 distinct people groups living in Metro New York.
So, pursuing Jesus’ mission in New York City literally involves walking across the street or down the block or to the store and interacting with people of all nations “as we go”.
With that in mind, I’m inviting you to join me on a Sidewalk Missionary Journey.
The Sidewalk Missionary Journey is a walk down all 12,750 miles of sidewalk in New York City to see the city, pray for the city, serve the city, and preach the Gospel.
I was recently at a missions forum put on by the International Mission Board (IMB). This forum happened a couple of days after I blogged about reaching unreached people groups in US cities. The opening session was led by David Campbell of the IMB and the title was “Challenges to Reaching the Unreached”. I want to share some of David’s talk and use that as a springboard to go a bit deeper into what I previously wrote about reaching the unreached.
According to various sources (IMB, Joshua Project, etc.) there are something like 11,600+ people groups in the world today. The IMB definition of a people group is “the largest group through which the gospel can flow without encountering a significant barrier”. About 6,750 of those people groups are unreached (which is defined as a people group with less than 2% evangelical).
David listed physical, religious and safety issues as some of the challenges to our missionaries in other nations.
- Travel time – Many of the unreached peoples of the world are in areas that might take 2-5 days to get to.
- Climate – Some of these areas take a lot of adjustment (high altitude, rainy, extreme heat or cold, etc.).
- Daily life – It’s just a different pace and a different way of life for some people of the world.
- Isolation – Once a missionary gets to the field it might be months or years before he or she can make contact with friends and family back home.
- Health concerns – I’ve been on more than one short-term mission project where participants went home with deep illness. Water is almost always an issue in some hard to reach areas.
- Physical exertion – I’ve trekked through the Andes from one village to another and the high altitude almost killed me.