The big missions push over the last few decades has been “every tribe, language and tongue.”
That’s a Biblical goal, mentioned in Matthew 24, 28 and Revelation 7.
Ethne are important because barriers of language and culture can keep the Gospel from spreading.
But we mustn’t forget our goal is not to disciple “nations” but “people from every nation.” People are the goal.
We know that some from every ethne will be before the throne. We know that not all will choose to follow Jesus.
But we don’t know how many will choose to follow, and how many will not, out of each people group.
Will it be 0.01%? 1%? 10%? 99.999%?
Since we can’t know, best to act as if it’s going to be 100%. And make all our plans for that.
Will our ministry scale to 100% of the country we’re focused on? If not, it’s time for a rethink. Because people, not peoples, are the goal.
“A church for every people” can leave individuals within peoples cut off from the Gospel just as surely as “A church for every country would” – if said church is small, located in a single place, and not replicating to fill the whole of the group.