David Platt says churches must invest more in missions to evangelize 3 billion ‘unreached’ worldwide

David Platt, author and pastor of McLean Bible Church of McLean, Virginia, giving remarks at the Together for the Gospel Conference held April 19-21, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky.
David Platt, author and pastor of McLean Bible Church of McLean, Virginia, giving remarks at the Together for the Gospel Conference held April 19-21, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. | Screengrab: YouTube/Together for the Gospel (T4G)

Megachurch Pastor David Platt stressed the importance of mission work among communities that have never heard the Gospel, especially the over 3 billion worldwide who are “unreached.”

Platt spoke about the need for missions during the Together for the Gospel Conference that was held last week at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.

He opened his remarks by reading multiple biblical passages, including Matthew 28:18-20, which is commonly known as the Great Commission, in which Jesus tells His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

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Platt also read Romans 15:18-25, in which Paul of Tarsus wrote about how it “has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known” and that, in keeping with this, he was planning to travel to Spain to introduce the population to the Gospel.

After reading the passages and giving a prayer, Platt discussed a major problem, specifically that “over 3 billion people are currently unreached by the Gospel,” calling it a “Romans 15 Spain-like ignorance of the Name and Gospel of Jesus.”

Platt clarified that the term “unreached” did not simply mean being an unbeliever, but rather it meant that it was a community where the people had no access to the Gospel.

“People are just as lost in Kentucky and the places where most all of us live as they are in Yemen,” explained Platt. “The difference is there are churches in Kentucky and all the places where most of us live. Gospel-preaching churches.”

“There are more Christians in this room right now than in all of Yemen. And Yemen has 30 million people ... which means that if you’re one of those 30 million Yemenis, suffering and starving right now in the middle of civil war, the likelihood is you will be born, you will live, and you will die without ever even meeting a Christian or hearing the Gospel.”

As evidence for his statistic, Platt referenced an evangelical research group known as the Joshua Project, which focuses on spreading awareness of the ethnic groups of the world with the smallest number of Christians.

Platt went on to argue that he believed too many churches were “practically ignoring the people and places most unreached by the Gospel.”

“The Church, our churches, are practically ignoring the three billion people who need the Gospel most,” he continued, noting that while American Christians give billions of dollars to missions, “approximately 99% of missions giving goes to people and places in the world that already have access to the Gospel.”

“Is there work to be on those places? Absolutely there is … but open your eyes, brothers and sisters. In the name of missions, we are actually ignoring the Great Commission. The specific command Jesus has given us to make disciples among all the peoples of the world.”

Platt stressed the need for churches to commit more resources to missions that go to unreached populations, declaring that “the number of unreached people is higher today than ever before and will continue to increase until the church decides to change.”

“If we are not living and dying to make disciples of unreached nations, then we are disobeying the Great Commission and disregarding the goal of God,” he declared.

Platt gave some “caveats” at this point, noting that while not everyone was meant to be a missionary to the unreached, “all of us, every person in whom the Spirit of God dwells has been commissioned by God to live and give and work and pray and die with zeal to see disciples made and churches multiplied and the glory of God enjoyed and exalted among all the nations.”

Platt’s remarks were part of the biennial T4G conference. The theme for this year’s conference was “Last Word,” as organizers said that this would be the final T4G gathering.

Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and one of the conference organizers, wrote in the official Conference Guide that it was “a tremendous privilege to steward these gatherings for the last 16 years.”

“And we are excited to welcome you one more time to the mix of messages, singing, praying, panels, books, and fellowship that have marked these gatherings,” wrote Dever.

“Thanks for making this investment in the unity of the Spirit by uniting together in edification based around the truth. May God continue to make it bear fruit to his glory.”

In addition to Platt, other speakers for the final conference included Ligon Duncan, chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary; John Piper, author and pastor who oversees the theology website; Afshin Ziafat, the pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas; and Alistair Begg, senior pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, among others.

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