I never thought of it this way before, but Jerusalem was the original gateway city. And God seems to love using gateway cities to reach the nations.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” –Acts 2:5-11
Jesus told His followers they would be witnesses in Jerusalem and everywhere else. Why did He want them to start in Jerusalem? It wasn’t their hometown (although we like to try to make it mean that for our personal peace of mind). Maybe He said start in Jerusalem simply because that is where they were standing when He said it. So He was essentially saying they needed to start now. There is definitely truth in that idea. We don’t have to wait to make Him famous. You don’t just make Him famous when you are on a summer trip somewhere. We are called to make Him famous everywhere, and that includes the everywhere you will be today. Your school, that store, your job, at practice, eating out. Everywhere.
But this passage in Acts 2 makes me think that starting in Jerusalem had some strategic elements as well. The plan all along had been for the message of Jesus to go global. The salvation He provided was and is for all nations (cross reference: The Bible front to back). And here they were in Jerusalem, where the nations had gathered. People from all over the world had come there to live and to visit. And as the disciples began to “declare His glory among the nations” Jerusalem was the perfect place to begin. People from all these nations were able to hear the good news. Many of them might have taken that news back to their countries. Sharing in gateway cities is an incredibly strategic way to make Him famous.
Our gateway city strategy at iGo is still developing, but we see the same thing these disciples saw in Acts 2. In Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, London, Cardiff, etc. our teams have encountered and engaged people from all over the world. Our teams serving in these gateway cities routinely get to share the gospel with people from northern Africa, the Middle East, all over Asia, and all parts in between. Some of those people take that good news back to their homeland.
And sometimes our students decide to do that themselves. As students serve for the first time in these gateway cities they encounter unreached peoples. They see the need for the gospel to be proclaimed among these peoples and they recognize the amazing opportunity they have to go to those difficult places. Many iGo students have served one week in a gateway city followed my whole summers, semesters, and longer in these “ends of the earth” type places. This also is part of our strategy and we are so thankful to be able to train and mobilize a generation ready to make Him famous no matter where He leads.
As we move forward, we recognize that God has opened up gateway cities right here in our “backyard.” Dallas has become a major landing point for immigrants and refugees. Doors have opened in Denver. Fort Worth is another gateway option. Last week I had lunch with a church planter with overwhelming facts about the gateway in Vancouver. We desire to declare His glory among the nations, and we recognize that the nations have come to us. Join with us as we ask God to open up doors for iGo in these newer gateway cities, and pray that we will be able to partner with more churches as He does.