Nations exist in space. There are the nations of the UK, Germany and France; South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe; Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many Christians have gone to these and other nations. The church I was in at university sends students out to Zambia; the church I am in now sends people to Tanzania and South Africa.
We are told to go out to all nations, telling them the good news of Jesus. Christians make a point of trying to reach people whose ancestors had no knowledge of Christianity. These are called the unreached people; the ones who have never heard.
But nations exist in time as well as space. 150 years ago, our nation was composed of entirely different people. Every day new people join our nation and old people leave. So our nation today is a new nation; people today are new people.
We cannot assume that people in the UK have heard the truth in Christianity. Many may have heard a garbled version. There are many people who think Jesus’ death for sin applied only to people up to the time of Jesus; who think Mary is the third person of the Trinity; who have no idea that Christians today believe God miraculously heals people; who think Christians are homophobic and misogynistic. People are astounded when they hear the true good news.
We cannot assume that people will hear from their parents or general society. The message people hear is that church is boring, stuck in past cultures, judgemental, intolerant. How will they hear the truth if we make no effort to tell them, choosing instead to go to other people in other places? How can we expect them to decide when their knowledge is incomplete and biased?
All nations today are new nations. All need to hear about God. Don’t forget the people around you in your own country, your own nation that needs to hear.