New Voices Swell Chorus Calling for American Churches to Focus More on World’s Unreached

International Day for the Unreached alliance broadens ahead of Pentecost Sunday celebration of Great Commission mandate

Contact: Ty Mays, 770-256-8710,; 
Press kit available here

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 28, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — The chorus of urgent voices calling for American Christians to lift their eyes to the horizons and help further world evangelization is ringing more loudly with the addition of new members to a coalition of like-minded ministries.


Photo: The world’s 2 billion people who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ are the focus of the second annual International Day for the Unreached, to be held on June 4: Pentecost Sunday, which marks the birth of the early church.

Three more well-respected missions agencies have joined the Alliance for the Unreached, which celebrates its second annual International Day for the Unreached ( on June 4 – Pentecost Sunday – marking the day when the Holy Spirit fell upon the early church, empowering it to respond to Jesus’ great commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel.”

Joining the initiative are GMI, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., which leverages research and technology to create, cultivate and communicate mission information leading to insight that inspires Kingdom service; Partners International, based in Spokane, Wash., which supports and partners with indigenous ministries in parts of the world where the gospel is little known; and World Mission, based in Comstock Park, Mich., which distributes audio Scriptures among unreached tribal groups.

The three organizations are helping to champion the International Day of the Unreached as an occasion to stir churches and their members to greater involvement in efforts to take the message of the good news to the more than 2 billion people who have yet to hear about Jesus. Currently less than .5 percent of American evangelicals’ giving goes to ministry among the world’s least evangelized, where only 5 percent of missionaries are serving. 

As part of the International Day for the Unreached, churches are being encouraged to focus their sermons and programs for the day on the challenge and opportunity to get more involved in efforts to take the gospel to those who have not heard it yet. Members are being urged to pledge to and share the “Manifesto for the Unreached” (, committing to making support for world missions a higher priority, and to participate in a special 30-day prayer focus on unreached peoples and missions activity.

“We’re very pleased to have GMI, Partners and World Mission join the alliance and add their voices to this call for the American church to look further afield, to what God is doing and longs to do in other parts of the world,” said Wayne Pederson, chairman of the International Day for the Unreached Alliance and former president of Reach Beyond, a media- and medical-based outreach ministry and alliance member. “The more loudly we can proclaim the message of the International Day for the Unreached, the more people, the more quickly, will hear the gospel.”

GMI, Partners and World Mission join Reach Beyond and three other members of the alliance that launched the International Day of the Unreached in 2016 – Scripture distributor Bibles For The World, missions network Missio Nexus, and missionary organization Operation Mobilization.

“It is encouraging to see the Church on mission, but many times that service lacks insight and information that would help guide it to greater impact,” said Jon Hirst, president and CEO of GMI. “Unless we harness information as we make decisions, we won’t see the gospel go where the unreached live. GMI is proud to join the International Day for the Unreached initiative to challenge the church to steward knowledge as they reach out.” 

At Partners International, President and CEO Larry Andrews said, “We look forward to joining with other organizations to promote the International Day for the Unreached. The American church is asleep when it comes to the unreached people of the world. It’s time we raise one voice to educate and motivate towards the Great Commission.”

Greg Kelley, CEO of World Mission, said: “Our generation is currently on watch, stewards of the Great Commission.  We have the amazing opportunity to be sure that 2 billion people currently without a gospel witness experience the life-changing message of hope and salvation. It is a privilege to join the like-minded agencies that form the International Day for the Unreached. Together we can see Jesus’ final words become reality.”

For more information, go to 

The International Day for the Unreached ( is an initiative of the Alliance for the Unreached, a group of evangelistic ministries including Bibles For The World (, GMI (, Missio Nexus (, Operation Mobilization (, Partners International (, Reach Beyond (, and World Mission (

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact: 
Ty Mays, InChrist Communications –, (770) 256-8710

Press kit available at

Freedom to Pray Launches Petition to Stop T-Mobile from Charging Customers on Free Prayer Lines

Freedom to Pray Launches Petition to Stop T-Mobile from Charging Customers on Free Prayer Lines

Contact: Melany Ethridge, 972-267-1111, 

ORLANDO, Feb. 28, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — Freedom to Pray, a new nonprofit dedicated to advocating on behalf of individuals of all faiths who are being forced to end their participation in prayer groups through free conference line services due to T-Mobile’s new $0.01 per minute fee, announced its launch today at the annual National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando. 


This grassroots effort initiated to bring attention to this discrimination and provide a means of response for faithful prayer warriors, and individuals and groups who support them, to petition T-Mobile to keep prayer lines free for everyone. 

David Butts, president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and chairman of the board for the National Day of Prayer, is a key leader in the movement to #KeepPrayerFree. He, along with his colleague Kay Horner, Executive Director of The Helper Connection & Awakening America Alliance, mobilize multiple free prayer networks and calls, and have become aware of hundreds of individuals who have had to give up participation in these collective gatherings since T-Mobile started adding such charges in October 2016. He believes this is an attack on the right to exercise faith freely and that T-Mobile is impeding religious freedom.

“I am appalled by this absolute grab for money over people’s freedom to pray via phone,” Butts said. “I look at this as T-Mobile wanting to profit off of prayer, literally inhibiting people’s right to pray freely. Somehow corporate executives who are all about the bottom line are looking for ways to infringe on people’s rights to worship. I really do see it as a war on prayer.”

Despite T-Mobile’s aggressive advertising campaign-including four Super Bowl spots positioning its marketing distinctive as the “Uncarrier” with no extra fees-tens of thousands of customers participating in group prayer calls have been adversely impacted by the mobile company’s recent action to charge $0.01 per minute for calls to free prayer conference lines. These fees are in addition to T-Mobile’s monthly service plan charges and quickly add up for individuals spending hours in prayer, often multiple times each week. 

T-Mobile prides itself in attracting a diverse demographic of individuals looking for the most economical plans and then hits them with extra “out-of-plan” fees-which most users cannot afford. In fact, in October, when T-Mobile started charging the extra fee for “out-of-plan” numbers, the company was subsequently fined $48 million for misleading patrons regarding unlimited data plans. 

More than 20,000 concerned customers called their free conference line provider in just the first month after T-Mobile instituted its additional fee. There are millions of minutes used per month in prayer line connections globally and hundreds of thousands of customers rely on prayer lines 24/7, so while other types of free conference line users have been affected, not nearly so many of these other groups have called in to complain. 

From Twitter and Facebook to chat rooms, free prayer line users are letting their voices be heard:

“If you value your customers you would not charge to use a conference call! My group uses this for a prayer line.”

“I’m switching after finding out tonight #Tmobile charge me for UNLIMITED service but charge extra for prayer lines & conf calls.”

“With tmobile now charging 1cent per min for calling conference call numbers you almost ruined my prayer ministry.”

“Can’t believe I’m now being charged outside of my unlimited plan to get on the prayer line bc it’s a conference call.”

Now, through the Freedom to Pray website,, individuals can stand in support of those being charged for prayer by signing an online petition expressing concern about T-Mobile’s attack on prayer and requesting a call to action. The movement also urges individuals to share socially with friends and family using #KeepPrayerFree to encourage them to become informed and involved in the initiative. 

For additional information, visit

Note to Editors: For more information or to request an interview with Freedom to Pray leadership, please contact Melany Ethridge or Heidi McDow at (972) 267-1111, or via email at or Find press materials online at

A Priest Takes an Honest Look at the Wounds Catholics Inflict on One Another

Contact: Jill Adamson, 800-348-2440 ext 2547

HUNTINGTON, Ind., Feb. 28, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — In his new book, Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics (Our Sunday Visitor, 2017), Father Thomas Berg writes from his own experience with the pain, confusion and anger that resulted from a destructive scandal that rocked the religious community he belonged to for 23 years.

“There were moments when I was utterly numb, feeling at times as if I no longer loved the Church,” writes Berg. “In particular, I struggled profoundly with the sense that I had been hurt by the Church.” As he learned – and guides his readers to see in their own experiences – this is not the truth.

His own experience and his struggle to move past his emotional devastation, anger and sense of betrayal were the genesis of his exploration of the many and varied forms of hurt that Catholics, non-Catholics and former Catholics have experienced-and how those affected can find healing. 

Sexual abuse in the Church, which occupies much of Berg’s attention, is, as he puts it, “a singular, maximal, and grotesque form of hurt.” Yet, Berg writes for Catholics who have suffered a plethora of other forms of hurt along their journey of faith: an altar server criticized by his priest; a new Catholic treated with indifference by his parish family; a Latino Catholic who feels like a second-class citizen in her white suburban parish; a person with same-sex attraction who is conflicted about Church teaching on homosexuality; a Catholic widow who is lonely and ignored by her parish. He sheds an unrelenting light on a dimension of the Church that most would prefer to ignore: throughout our ministries and in our parishes, the daily actions and inactions of Catholics, especially those in leadership, cause pain. This pain is the result of intolerance, prejudice, harassment, gossip, deception, manipulation and much more. In many cases the hurt has been so traumatic that these individuals have simply opted to walk away from the Church. This book is especially meant for them.

Hurting in the Church examines this vast topic and offers pastoral guidance in three parts. Using Berg’s own story as well as those of others, Part 1 looks at the many ways we are hurt by members of the Church and the suffering of those who feel alienated by Church teachings, particularly as they relate to marriage and sexual morality. Part 2 provides insight into personal healing, and invites the injured to rediscover the beauty of the Church as a key step toward forgiveness and a renewed life with Christ. Part 3 goes beyond personal healing to healing of the Church as a whole. Berg invites Catholics and the entire Church to a radical, Christlike charity in which healing can be accomplished. 

Throughout, Berg shows that our hurts can actually be used by God. “He can turn your hurt into compassion,” Berg writes. “He can turn your hurt into tenderness for others.”

“It took courage for Father Berg to write with such honesty and transparency, including about his personal hurts. And his courage will give you courage-the courage to not only confront the facts of sin and weakness within the Church, but also the courage to give God another chance to allow you to discover him once again within the embrace of Mother Church, despite the failings of her members.” — Father Jonathan Morris, author of The New York Times bestseller The Way of Serenity