At various times over the past few years, my heart has burned to do pioneer missions—to break into an unreached people group in Papua New Guinea or Africa or South America (or anywhere else), learn the language, cross the culture, preach the Gospel, translate the Bible, plant a church, train leaders, and leave an indigenous church behind with a written language, a translated Bible, and an eternity in heaven with the Jesus they wouldn’t have known otherwise. I don’t know if Cindi and I will ever do this (she’d be willing and eager to do it, too), but I still think about it. And either way, my heart will forever be with those who have reached the unreached in this way. Their sacrifices are abnormal. Their love goes sky-high. And their endurance is incalculable.
If you’re interested in pioneer missions or tribal missions (which are often the same thing), check out the ministry of David and Tommi Sitton, called “To Every Tribe Ministries.” David is a hardcore, legit, veteran missionary who has earned every right to challenge us to reach the unreached people groups in the world for Jesus Christ (for those of you who know Brad Buser, David was in Papua New Guinea at the same time as Brad, and Brad told me that he remembers surfing with David). David’s been a friend of my family since I was a little boy. I’ve been thinking about him because my dad recently emailed me with the news that David Sitton will be the missionary speaker at John Piper’s pastor’s conference this January. He’s also recently published a book that is well-worth reading for those interested in tribal missions: To Every Tribe With Jesus! Understanding and Reaching Tribal Peoples for Christ.
As their motto, To Every Tribe Ministries echoes one of the Apostle Paul’s mission statements:
It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand” (Romans 15:20-21).
What an ambition.
The following quote currently fronts ETM’s website. Don’t miss the point by arguing about how it doesn’t apply to everyone or how it’s imbalanced. It’s a good word in its context:
“As long as there are millions destitute of the Word of God and knowledge of Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for me to devote time and energy to those who have both.” – J. L. Ewen
Here’s to the fulfillment of Revelation 5:9.