For 100 people, the end is nigh.
A lot of missiology – especially popular missiology – revolves around eschatology.
Eschatology gives us “energy” to make disciples, it can be argued. Its the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. But mostly, eschatology means talking about the return of Christ.
Unfortunately, a lot of the talk about the Return is argument, debate, free-for-alls, books, magazines, graphic novels, movies, apocalyptic thinking, and the like – and very little other activity. It generates images of the freaky dude on the street corner with the sign, “The end is nigh!”
But there is another kind of “end” that we need to be aware of – the kind of “end” which is far more certain, and which ought to drive our strategies and considerations.
It’s not when Jesus inevitably comes back for everyone, but when each individual goes to inevitably to him. It’s the global death rate.
Every year, 58.2 million people die globally. This works out to about 160,000 per day.
Since 1/3 of the world is unreached, at minimum 1/3 of those are people who have never heard the name of Jesus. The death rate there is actually a little higher, so it’s estimated that about 56,000 unevangelized people die every day.
This is why strategies MUST. GO. FASTER.
This is why strategies MUST. REACH. EVERYONE.
Let’s say you have a foolproof way to reach the world (hypothetically). Let’s say that plan would take 20 years, and at the end of that 20 years everyone would have had a valid chance to hear the Gospel.
During that time, 388 million non-believers will die (about half of which had never heard the Gospel).
Now, let’s say you could cut the time of your plan from 20 years to 10 years. That would mean about 150 million souls would have heard the Gospel – who otherwise would not.
“The Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time,” goes the quote. And this is very real for the 56,000 who died yesterday.
And for the roughly 100 people who died while you were reading this…