Mark 16:15 says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Hearing this verse repeatedly in my childhood, I envisioned missionaries who travel to remote villages. I imagined that going into all the world referred exclusively to this group. However, in recent years I have begun to think differently. “All the world” refers to every continent, every country and every area on the planet. I often used to exclude the United States because in my opinion, our country does not seem remote enough. However, I think it is more “remote” than we might think.
I live in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, so coming to Greenville two years ago to attend BJU held its own micro-culture shock. Instead of having maybe five to 10 church options in the area, I suddenly had hundreds. Instead of wondering how many Christians my own age I might run across outside of my personal circles, I suddenly had a myriad of godly people to get to know and befriend.
Instead of seeing worldly symbols in storefronts and on billboards, I was greeted by the Ten Commandments hanging on the wall inside an Arby’s restaurant.
Since coming to South Carolina, the question that I have often mulled over in my mind is “why?” Why is one corner of the country so different from the other regarding people’s response to Christianity? Obviously, South Carolina is a hot spot along the Bible Belt. I knew that, but why else? After doing some research, I found out why.
The Pacific Northwest is known as “the none zone.” This means that there is not a significant influence of Christianity there. 43% of people are not religious, which is much higher than normal across other regions in the United States. New England compares similarly to the Pacific Northwest and the middle regions of the United States fall into the “average” category.
Ultimately, I am telling you all of this to inform you of the needs of various regions in the United States outside of whichever one happens to be yours. I remember Dr. Pettit recently noting that approximately 10,000 BJU grads live in the Greenville area and what an influence that has had. In a lot of ways, this is a good thing. Greenville is a Christian “hub,” so to speak, that can largely impact the region and empower Christians. Maybe that is why so many churches here are large supporters of missions. Greenville is an outlet that can support missionaries in great capacity.
Though Greenville is a thriving, Christian community, we need to remember that not everywhere else is like that.
Other areas of the country are desperately in need of Christians to come and plant churches, teach in schools and minister in other capacities. And who knows, maybe you could be that person who leaves the region where your family and friends live and embark on a journey to one of “the none zones” in the United States. I have no doubt that God could use you in great ways for the furtherance of His kingdom.