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Today we need to think in terms of mission to the geographically distant – that mission to reach a billion or more people living far from any existing church – and the new frontier of mission to the culturally distant – that two-and-a-half billion people that live within the shadows of existing churches. We will still need missionaries to cross oceans, mountains and deserts to reach unreached peoples. But the new frontier is in the cities constructed from the mass migrations and exploding birth rates of our day. This is the new reality of world mission.

One of the assignments I enjoy giving to classes on urban mission is to take them into a supermarket and give them thirty minutes to observe what is happening in the neighborhood. They come out and tell me how the food business has changed in the last thirty, even fifteen years. Stores are open twenty-four hours. Everything has been computerized. Prices have gone up. While stores used to carry eight thousand products, they now stock twenty-four thousand products. They have an Asian section, a Spanish section, a Geritol section, a salt-free section. Other sections cater to microwave people. They have foreign-language checkers, and their check-cashing service is more convenient than my bank. Gone are days when the meat-cutters union could say “We will not sell meat after six o’clock.”

But then I take my students over to a nearby church, and we look at the sign. And what do we see? Morning worship: 11:00 A.M. – as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

And I ask, How can a supermarket without the Spirit of God do what the church doesn’t seem to be able to do with the Spirit? How can we liberate the church to reach the city? How can we persuade the foreign board to team up with the home board in teaching the cross-cultural skills we now need at home? How can we do that? For most of us this is a greater barrier than Islam – and I say that from my own experience of trying to overcome the barrier.

~Ray Bakke “Urban Evangelism” from Urbana

“Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45:22

To be here

To be in the United States. To be in Las Vegas.

To be a young man. To be a white Christian man.

To be a servant. To be a racial reconciler.

To be me. To be Jesus.

What does this mean to be these things in 2000 and 6?

It means I am right where I am supposed to be.