Sometimes I hear Americans say, "But America is still unreached." or, "We have lots of people here who need Christ too." While Americans have responsibility to help other Americans, we have an even greater calling to make disciples of ALL nations, not just in America. (Matt. 28:18-19) Why?
When Jesus said, "Go make disciples of all nations" he did not mean only for some of the disciples. All of us are to be engaged in this passion of God's to reach the world for Christ!
"Nations" or "Ethnos" in Greek, means an ethno-linguistic grouping with a common self-identity that is shared by its various members. For strategic purposes it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread without encountering barriers of linguistic or cultural understanding.
In Matthew & in Revelation it is guaranteed that every ethnos will be reached, or have believers in it on the last day. An "ethnos" or a people group is considered unreached (UPG) when there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage this people group effectively with the gospel. Technically speaking, the percentage of evangelical Christians in this people group is less than 2 percent. Lower than 2 percent would mean (theoretically) that they are in danger of becoming 0 percent again without sustained missionary effort from the outside! Japan is currently less than 1% Christian, and therefore the second largest unreached people group in the world.
So is missions simply caring for the sick or feeding the hungry? Is it simply educating the savage? Obviously, when we look at the Bible the answer is a resounding "No". While missions should include mercy and practical forms of love, Jesus' final words - the Great Commission- was one command and only one. We are to make disciples of EVERY ethnos, every people group. We must not be distracted from this greatest calling and heartbeat of God expressed throughout the Scriptures. When this mission is completed the end will come, according to Matthew 24:14! And this is the key to ALL good missionary endeavors: Are we making disciples? In these terms Japan is a spiritual wasteland in great need of our prayers and investment.