When many people think about the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ to “Go and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-20), they think about going to the geo-political entities that are represented by the colored regions on our wall maps.
But the word for “nations” in the Greek has nothing to do with the geo-political regions of the world. The word “nations” in the Commission, “panta ta ethne,” has reference to “people groups,” the thousands of ethno-linguistic groups that populate our planet.
We do need to “Go” to other countries to share Christ with the “nations”, but at the same time, the Lord of the Harvest has brought the “nations” to us.
Every year thousands of international students, representing not just their countries, but their “people groups”, come to the United States and other Western countries to pursue their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Many come as visiting scholars and researchers.
These men and women represent the best and brightest of their countries. They are the current and future academic, scientific, business, and political leaders of their homeland.
While these students and academicians come to the colleges and universities in our communities to pursue their academic careers, they also want to experience American life, meet and get to know families, learn about our culture, history, and lifestyles while they are here. They are also very interested in knowing more about our belief systems and Christianity, in particular.
This is an opportunity that we have to love on the people of the world and to share our faith and our God.
Through the teaching of the Word of God and the sharing of Christ many students come to faith in Christ as Savior. As these men and women, and their families in many cases, are discipled and equipped for ministry, they are being prepared by the LORD to return to their countries and professions where He will use them to minister as pastors, Bible teachers, evangelists, and church planters. The Lord will use them to penetrate their networks (“Oikos”) where they will share the love of God and the Goods News of the Risen Savior in their heart language and culture.
My family and I pray about going overseas some day but can’t at this time because of a family medical issue. Until the day that we can go, our discipling of the “nations” ministry is to the international students enrolled at our local university.
Let me encourage you to pray about ministry to the “nations” that the LORD has brought to your doorstep. Become involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission by loving and ministering to the international students in your community.
~ Blessings ~