Every Tribe, Every Nation
There are four specific ways the Great Commission is being accomplished today, all of which we can commit daily to the Lord in prayer, and all of which we must support financially and personally:
1. Frontier evangelism.
Taking the gospel to completely unreached people groups and villages that have never heard of the Bible or Jesus before.
2. Translation evangelism.
Making the Word of God available in the heart-language of all people groups.
3. National evangelism.
Mobilizing church planters and leaders from within their own people groups.
4. Systematic evangelism.
Local church leaders employing strategies to reach every person in their nations/communities.
For an in-depth understandng of these four areas, consider the words of mission leader Dick Eastman, as published in Unleashing the Power of Prayer, by Moody Press:
By looking at the end result of a fully evangelized world, as described in Revelation 5:8-10, we also discover an interesting four-fold focus for systematic prayer. Here is where the Bible tells us that Christ was “slain, and has redeemed us to God by his blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
Let us look more carefully at the meaning of each of the four classifications mentioned in this verse, and how we might pray for the penetration of these areas with the gospel.
The term “kindred” in Scripture is most frequently translated “tribe,” as in “tribe of Reuben” or “tribe of Judah,” etc. Because a tribe is not a full nation, we may conclude that this word is a reference to smaller groups within a nation, such as “cultural groups.”
Culture means “the totality of socially transmitted behavior or patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population.” Some ethnic groups within a nation have clearly defined patterns of behavior or beliefs that differ greatly from the general beliefs of the nation in which the group exists.
Because there are several worldwide ministries that specifically target “hidden people groups,” the “kindred” objective provides us with the following prayer focus: frontier evangelism.
The word “tongue” refers to languages and dialects spoken throughout the world. According to Scripture, at the final judgment converts will come from all languages of the earth, a clear indication that the gospel will have been given to all these people. Thus, our prayers are important for this second focus: translation evangelism, which is accomplished by ministries working in Bible translation.
The word “people” in Greek appears 143 times in the New Testament and refers to “human beings.” The emphasis is upon the individual. Whole nations are not evangelized until people are evangelized, one at a time. Especially important in evangelizing people of a given nation is to reach them with a message that they can comprehend in the context of their own culture. For this reason, our third prayer focus is: national evangelism, or evangelistic programs developed and presented by nationals who live in that nation.
Appearing 164 times in the NT, “nation” is most commonly translated “Gentiles.” It refers to the nations of the world other than Israel. Some mission leaders believe it is another references to the mulitiplied thousands of hidden people groups. I believe it also refers to the total population of people living within geographic boundaries at any given time. One thing is for certain: Revelation 5:8-10 clearly indicates that redeemed mankind will emerge from all the nations, countries, and people groups of the earth. Thus, our final focus includes systematic evangelism. This is attempted by ministries which organize Christian nationals to systematically reach all the people of their nation with the gospel.
– From a presentation entitled, “Systematic Prayer for the Nations of the World” by Dick Eastman.