‘This is God’s passion’: Training for N.C. churches to embrace UUPGs
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
August 28, 2012

‘This is God’s passion’: Training for N.C. churches to embrace UUPGs

‘This is God’s passion’: Training for N.C. churches to embrace UUPGs
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
August 28, 2012

As Old Town Baptist Church continues on a journey that began a year and a half ago to share the gospel among a people group in Southeast Asia, they are discovering just how important it is to reach the nations for Jesus Christ.

“We have been talking a lot about how passionate we are about reaching this unengaged, unreached people group (UUPG),” said Mark Harrison, missions pastor at Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

“But I realize now that God wants to reach them infinitely more. This is not just something that is a passion for the International Mission Board (IMB) or a local church; this is God’s passion.”

Old Town will host the Embrace Southeast Asian Peoples USA Training Sept. 17-19.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Office of Great Commission Partnerships and the IMB will sponsor the event.

North Carolina Baptists are on a journey to embrace 250 UUPGs by the year 2021.


Photo by Chris Carter

People of dozens of nationalities pass each other in London’s Stratford area every day. Reaching unengaged and unreached peoples will be the topic of a September event in Winston-Salem. The host church is working with the T people in Southeast Asia.

Churches ready to engage a people group are encouraged to attend the training, as well as churches already involved in working with UUPGs. Harrison said the event is also helpful to churches praying about how to get involved, as the training offers strategies for how to identify and reach unreached people groups living in the United States.

Training topics include mission strategy, strengthening the church task force, researching and praying for UUPGs, field training, effective witnessing methods, and learning from past mistakes. The deadline to register is Sept. 10.

When Harrison led a team from Old Town to work among a group they call the “T people” this summer, he was reminded of God’s great love for this people group.

For example, he saw how God brought an entire family to faith and is now using them to witness to others.

This particular family left their country about seven years ago and moved to a neighboring country in order to find work.

During that time the daughter met a Christian who invited her to a worship service. The daughter came to faith in Jesus Christ, and one by one, so did her mother and siblings.

The family recently moved back for the purpose of evangelizing and discipling in their home country – the T people.

“Seven years ago God began a process to reach the T people. God already has a strategy and plan. It reaffirms for me that God wants this done more than we do,” Harrison said. “We need to be sensitive to see where He is working. We need to partner with Him.”

During the summer trip Harrison and the team watched, as time after time, God proved His faithfulness.

“God just ordered our steps,” he said. “This was a very important trip. Everywhere we went we met T people. At one restaurant every person on the wait staff belonged to the T people.

At another restaurant, the same thing happened. And one day we went to a dock to visit some fishermen and they were all T people.”

The team followed up with people who made professions of faith during their last few visits. They had an opportunity to share the gospel and one couple, a Muslim man and his Buddhist wife, both prayed to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

The team also participated in a commissioning service for two men from a different people group in the country who feel called to live among the T people as missionaries. They are the first missionaries to the T people.

In October, Harrison and a team will help introduce these men to believers they have met in the T villages.

“We’re not as much the strategists as we are the facilitators,” he said. “We are trying to connect with people and help connect the people who are already there. It’s very important to keep on praying for God to show us what He wants us to do.”

Since beginning this journey of embracing an unreached, unengaged people group, Harrison has prayed that Old Town would persevere to the end and be faithful to do all God asks them to do. “God has just touched the hearts of our people. They’re praying hard for the T people,” he said.

For more information about the training event, or to learn more about Old Town’s journey with the T people, visit www.ncbaptist.org/gcp.