In 1996, Debbie and I took our four children to Papua New Guinea to join the work there. I was 39, and God was going to expand my experience in ministry in many different ways. To this day I am very grateful for what I learned. From our marriage in 1981 to our moving overseas in 1995, our exposure to missions was pretty much from our American perspective. I quickly gained an appreciation for diversity of the team represented in Papua New Guinea. We had programmers from Belgium and Germany; pilots from Australia, Denmark and Canada; teachers from England and Scotland; and financial staff from Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Ireland. There were church planters from Korea, Germany, Kenya and many from America as well. After working within this amazing team for a number of years, we returned home for home assignment. I remember coming back to what was then the International Headquarters in the USA, and it felt very American. I am thankful our leadership recognized this and our need to grow into what we had become: a very global mission.
I am saddened to hear all the tension related to racial issues today when in reality we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, created in God’s image. God created diversity, and all through His Word, He expressed His love for all ethnic groups. We first learn of God’s plan of salvation in Genesis 3:15 and then see this plan being fulfilled through His promises to Abraham from whom all the nations (ethnic peoples) will be blessed. This is shown in Genesis 12:1-3.
Over and over in the Old Testament, God, though He is working through Israel, purposed to bless all nations (ethnic peoples) as we see in Psalm 22:27-28, Psalm 67, Isaiah 56:3,6-7, Zechariah 2:10-11 and Ephesians 3:1-6. My favourite is in Revelation 21:26, “And they shall bring the glory and the honour of the nations into it.” In this case, the nations means literally the peoples. Redeemed people from every nation and ethnic group will dwell in heaven’s light. In the eternal city, there will be no more divisions, barriers or exclusions because of race or politics. All kinds of peoples in eternity dissolve into the people of God, and they will move freely in and about the city. The reference to “nations” reminds us that our national distinctions, like our personal appearances, are God-given. Revelation 7:9 refers to “a great multitude of all nations,” and Revelation 5:10 refers to believers as “kings and priests” who reign with Christ.
Around His eternal throne every people group will be present to worship Him forever!
In Acts 2, we see the evidence of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and I count 16 different people groups being present to witness this amazing event. Did representatives from each of these people groups accept the Good News of Christ? Probably not, but we know that some did. What is important is that right from the beginning of the proclamation of the gospel, it was for all peoples! All people groups were welcomed! Christ made it crystal clear that His Bride, one body, would be made up of people from every ethnic group, and around His eternal throne every people group will be present to worship Him forever!
Today we have the privilege of teaming with believers from many ethnic groups as we co-labour with Christ as He builds His Church. Ethnos360 is truly blessed to participate in this great ministry with all of our global partners.
— Larry Brown, CEO Ethnos360 USA