COVID, the Great Commission and Praying for People Groups

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Bob Fielding, Consultant for Chaplaincy & National/International Missions, at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

What does COVID have to do with obeying the Great Commission and reaching people? Like many other things in Kingdom work, COVID is forcing us to try new strategies. In this case, the raising of awareness about church planting in Arkansas and North America, as well as advocating for thousands of unreached people groups around the world leads us to the notion that we can impact that lostness in spite of the travel restrictions placed on us by COVID.  

Emphasizing Prayer During COVID

For years we’ve promoted mission partnerships by bringing church planters and missionaries to Arkansas to meet folks at the annual meeting and ECON. We could not do that at recent meetings due to COVID, so we did something new: video interviews with church planters! Those videos have been placed on our North America page along with information on other planters we have a relationship with.  You can check those videos out and make contact as the Holy Spirit leads. As a result of last fall’s video ZOOM meetings, two associations are adopting church planters, and we believe several churches are considering next steps. Become a prayer partner with a planter now, and perhaps more as COVID lifts! 

How about international work? In Revelation 7:9, John is given a glimpse of a future event. He saw a huge group of people that no one could count, clothed in white robes, worshipping Jesus. They are described as being “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.”  Take note of that word “every.”

Currently, the IMB says there are some 3,056 people groups in the world classified as “unengaged, unreached.”  An unengaged group means there is no known church planting effort happening among them.  And yet, as noted above, one day there will be people in Heaven worshipping Jesus from “every” people group. The Bible tells us that those 3,000+ remaining groups will be reached!  So, what does this have to do with COVID?  Even at this writing, it is very difficult and in some cases impossible to travel to many nations, but nothing can stop you from praying for them now! 

The ABSC Missions Team has partnered with the Southeast Asia Affinity and the South Asia Affinity in offering to any group in any SBC church or association the opportunity to adopt an unreached people group and pray for them until they are reached. We know that prayer can radically impact what is happening in spiritually dark corners of the globe.  

If you are a pastor and wish to adopt a group to pray for from the pulpit, we offer a pulpit prayer plan you may consider. This plan covers local, state, national and international missions and is easy to follow. You’ll see that we recommend you enlist a member to handle the prayer correspondence for you. Few of us need “another plate to spin.” Check it out!  

If you lead or are part of any other group (women’s mission group, women’s ministry group, men’s group, Sunday School class of any age, youth group, TeamKid group, Awana group – literally any group) you can go here to search the Southeast Asia list, or here for the South Asia list. It is easy to sign up for a people group. After registering, you’ll be contacted by the ABSC and an IMB representative. 

Can you imagine the possibility, sometime in eternity, of being approached by a member of the people group you adopted, to find out that this person was saved as a result of Gospel efforts among their peoples that happened as a result of YOUR prayers?  Take that, COVID. Need help? Contact Bob Fielding on the Missions Team at

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