COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Alliance for the Unreached has announced that effective Sept. 1, Wayne Pederson assumed the role of chairman for the second annual International Day for the Unreached (IDU), which is set for Pentecost Sunday, June 4.
The alliance is composed of founding members Reach Beyond, Bibles For The World, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Operation Mobilization and Missio Nexus.
Pederson accepted the role as a natural extension of his time as president of Reach Beyond. He recently retired from that position so he and his wife, Willi, could spend more time with family while broadening their ministry influence as lead ambassadors for Reach Beyond and IDU and serving on ministry boards.
“For eight years I was blessed to serve in a ministry focused on reaching the unreached,” said Pederson. “Now I get the blessing of extending that focus as the chairman of the 2017 event. As Willi and I enter our ‘fourth quarter’ of ministry, I can’t think of a better way to invest our time than serving ministries we love and raising awareness of the plight of those who have never had a chance to hear the gospel.”
The purpose of IDU is to educate and inspire North American Christians to increase their passion and efforts to reach the more than 6,000 people groups worldwide in which the population is no more than 2 percent Christian.
“Wayne is the perfect ambassador for this event. He understands the issues in the U.S. and around the world,” said Steve Johnson, president of the IDU Alliance Steering Committee. “We’re seeing less and less emphasis placed on the Great Commission in many churches. The alliance came together around one cause—to reignite a passion in the hearts of believers to reach the lost, locally and globally. We’re trying to drive a stake in the ground to say, ‘The time is now.’ We have the technology. We have the resources. We have the means. Now we just need the commitment to get the job done.”
The Alliance encourages pastors, lay leaders and churches across North America to commemorate the day by preaching on the subject of the unreached, passing out materials, viewing videos, conducting awareness campaigns, praying and advocating for the cause through social media.
“So many people advocate for countless causes, and most of them are good,” said Pederson. “But the fact is, when you consider that there are over 2 billion people who haven’t ever heard the message of Jesus and that about 70,000 people die each day without that opportunity, it gives me a great burden and sense of urgency. The International Day for the Unreached is all about moving people from concern to action.”
The inaugural event on May 15, 2016, garnered support from such noted Christian leaders as Rick Warren, (senior pastor of Saddleback Church), Paul Eschleman (director of the Jesus Film Project), George Verwer (founder of Operation Mobilization) and Marv Newell (executive vice president of Missio Nexus).
The International Day for the Unreached was first conceived in 2015 and launched on Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016. The founding members of IDU were Reach Beyond, Bibles For The World, The Seed Company, Operation Mobilization and Missio Nexus. Wycliffe Bible Translators joined the founding members in early 2016. The event occurs annually on Pentecost Sunday in honor of the day when the Holy Spirit equipped believers to take the gospel message around the world. In 2017, IDU will be on June 4 — Pentecost Sunday. More information is available at www.dayfortheunreached.org.