I will be the first to say I am thankful for missionaries who feel “called” to a certain people group. Our church has chosen currently to go to one specific people group to reach in Asia. I get it. Some of it is practical: none of us have time to reach every people group in the world, so we should focus our efforts in order to be more effective. Praise God. That is how every nation that has been reached with the gospel has been reached with the gospel.
Now to balance that out, let’s be careful:
- sometimes “I feel called” is just an excuse to make a decision that might not be supported by the leaders of your church
- “I have a heart for” this people group is not God’s heart, who has a heart for all nations
- “I have a heart for” this people group sounds unloving toward anyone who is not in that people group
And let’ s just all agree that these are terrible:
- “I have a heart for the city”- as if people in the suburbs and rural areas don’t matter
- “I have a heart for young people” (or old people or young families or singles or bikers or surfers, or you name it)- imagine how that sounds to anyone who might visit your church who is not in that group that you “have a heart” for.
The church is meant to display God’s wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Eph 3.9-10), and one of the main ways she does that is through her diversity, being a people made of Jew and Gentile, young and old, men and women, singles and families, and when possible, people of every color. The best way to pursue this is to NOT focus on any one particular people, but to focus on proclaiming the one Christ who bought all of them.