I remember overhearing the shocked conversation of other missionaries who had just learned the location of our new home. Conventional wisdom would have placed us in a major town serving near well-established local churches. Instead, Pioneer Bible Translators had moved my family and me into a rural village to live among a Bibleless minority language community. Only a handful of the people were Christians. The others followed another religion, one often antagonistic to Christianity. More than once someone challenged us with the question, “What were you thinking?”
When Jesus commanded us to teach people of all nations to follow Him, He challenged us to reach every culture and ethnicity on earth with His message of grace, salvation, and justice. He instructed us to teach them to obey everything He commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). How can the people of every nation and language learn to obey all that Jesus commands if they cannot understand the words He spoke? Jesus said that people cannot truly live without every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
The peoples of the earth will learn to follow Jesus and obey the teachings of His kingdom only if we cross every remaining language barrier in the world with:
The next major benchmark I see on the pathway to obeying the Great Commission is this: churches with Scripture transforming every language community on earth. I love Pioneer Bible Translators because we have committed to following the Spirit’s lead to fill the gaps in the Bible translation movement so that this benchmark can be reached by 2050.
The greatest gap we see today is the 200 million people who speak one of the 900 languages remaining with no Scripture and no church. These are the world’s least-reached peoples.
Pioneering among these Bibleless, churchless language groups is one of Pioneer Bible Translators’ non-negotiable core values. I am committed to doing everything I can to help ensure that by the year 2050, there are churches with Scripture transforming every language community on earth. How about you? What would God have you and your church do to achieve His mandate to teach people of all nations to follow Jesus?