May 20 program will be live-streamed on Facebook by 12 partners in Alliance for the Unreached.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Fanned by interest on social media channels, Internet traffic and increased attention among a host of church and mission groups, a Facebook broadcast of this year’s International Day for the Unreached (IDU) is poised to double last year’s audience of nearly 20,000, along with a doubling of the social media exposure of 11 million in 2017.
Held annually on Pentecost Sunday (May 20), the global appeal on behalf of the more than 2 billion-plus people across the globe who have yet to hear the gospel will air live from Focus on the Family’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. It will be live-streamed around the world from the organizing Alliance for the Unreached’s Facebook page and on the IDU website at http://dayfortheunreached.org/
The event will include a performance by singer and American Idol finalist Phil Stacey. It will feature video reports from around the world, updates from Alliance leaders, and panel discussions about the unreached challenge. The international nature of the event and a groundswell of interest are propelling the third annual event to new heights, said Wayne Pederson, executive director of the Alliance for the Unreached.
“There’s a lot of discussion, from the average person in the pew to small groups to congregations of 100 to lead pastors of megachurches,” Pederson said. “We’ve received tens of thousands of likes and thousands of re-posts. When somebody takes the time to repost something, it gives instant credibility with their audience. I would say we have twice as many re-posts as last year on Twitter, Facebook Instagram, and LinkedIn.”
The social media traffic and increased visits to IDU’s home page and websites of the 12 partnering organizations have raised expectations that the Alliance for the Unreached will hit its goal of doubling last year’s Facebook and Internet audience. Already, advance programming about the Sunday evening event is airing in the Middle East, parts of Europe and northern Africa. The Facebook feed will also be broadcast on media outlets in Kenya and Uganda.
In addition to online interest, IDU Project Manager Mark Kordic said there has been a merging of four movements sparking interest in reaching the unreached: Bible translation, church planting, 24/7 prayer houses and a renewal of biblical stewardship.
Dozens of partner churches are focusing on Bible translation for unreached people groups—which Kordic said has seen more movement over the past 20 years than during the previous century. Many North American churches are spearheading church planting movements, which help church members understand how to multiply house churches where the gospel is penetrating previously unreached peoples. Also, 24/7 prayer houses are rapidly spreading across America with non-stop praying occurring for revival and the spread of the “good news” of Jesus Christ to regions in over half the countries on earth. Finally, the renewal of interest in biblical stewardship could not come at a better time. Kordic said wise stewardship is one key to reaching unreached peoples, since doing so will require several billion dollars in resources.
The Alliance for the Unreached’s purpose for IDU is to draw attention to the 2 billion-plus people around the world with no easy access to the gospel. The event is celebrated on May 20 because it is Pentecost Sunday—the day when the Holy Spirit fell on the early church, empowering members to take the good news to the ends of the earth. This year’s event will be the second for singer Phil Stacey.
The son and grandson of preachers, Stacey has traveled abroad in support of missions, including a 2017 trip to Ghana to see firsthand some of the work of Alliance member Reach Beyond.
“It’s an honor to join this group to celebrate the International Day for the Unreached,” he said of his role. “If we believe the Scriptures to be true, we must concede that reaching the unreached is paramount to the mission Christ has given us. If we believe that Jesus is the hope of the world, it must become our highest priority as a church.”
As part of its campaign, the Alliance for the Unreached is urging reclamation of the real meaning of the word “unreached,” which it says has been diluted and so lost its impact. Unreached peoples are not just all non-Christians, members emphasize, but rather those who have yet had no access to the gospel because of political or religious barriers, geographical location or simple neglect.
“The ‘unreached’ are those who have not yet had the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel,” said Reach Beyond’s Jon Fugler, event chairman. “We’re not talking about our friends, family, neighbors or co-workers who may not be Christians. These people are not unreached, because they have us. The truly unreached live in places where no one is there to tell them about Jesus.”
Colorado Springs-area residents can participate as audience members for the live event, which will be held at Focus on the Family’s headquarters, 8605 Explorer Drive in north Colorado Springs. Free tickets are available at www.dayfortheunreached.live
The IDU alliance is composed of Bibles For The World, Frontier Ventures, The Joshua Project, Missio Nexus, OM-USA (Operation Mobilization), Mission Network News, Partners International, Reach Beyond, William Carey International University, World Mission, ZimZam Global and InChrist Communications.
The International Day for the Unreached is an initiative of the Alliance for the Unreached, a group of evangelistic ministries and other organizations, including Bibles For The World, Frontier Venture, The Joshua Project, InChrist Communications, Mission Network News, Missio Nexus, Operation Mobilization, Partners International, Reach Beyond, William Carey International University, World Mission and ZimZam Global.