A Call to Prioritize Unreached People Groups
[Romans 10:14-15 ESV] 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
[Romans 15:20 ESV] 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation.
As of today, approximately 7-10% of the world’s population professes to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Approximately 33% of the world’s population are non-evangelical Christians. “Non-evangelical” Christians profess to believe in Jesus but reject or do not follow the core teachings of Jesus. This leaves approximately 57% of the world’s population who do not believe in Jesus (Remaining Missions Task).
As evangelical Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. The only way to be saved from the wrath of God is by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus said that those who don’t believe “are condemned already.” (John 3:18) Because humanity is lost without faith in Jesus, we devote our time, prayers, and resources to reach the lost around us and abroad. We send ministers to Bible college to equip the saints to bring the good news of salvation to his or her families, workplaces, neighbors, or any other situation that would call us to “give a defense for the hope that is within us.” (1 Peter 3:15) This is great news for the unbelievers who have access to the gospel through the witness of the local church. However, there are more unbelievers today in places where there is no possibility of meeting a Christian, than the population of North America, South America, Central America, Western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East combined. (Frontier Peoples Overview)
Imagine being an unbeliever and having no believing Christians in your city. Now imagine that among your whole nation, there are no Christians that speak your language. Now imagine being that person who lives his or her life without hearing the good news and dies in his or her sins without the saving hope of Jesus Christ. This is the reality for unreached people groups (UPGs) all over the world. “An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside assistance.” (Unreached Peoples Overview)
Furthermore, this is the reality for one in four human beings on the planet today. India alone holds 1.3 billion souls who have no access to the gospel. There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims who have no access to the gospel. These are not people who have churches down the road, in the next town over, or the next city over. These are people who don’t have any person who knows Jesus Christ anywhere near them who speaks their language or understands their culture.
Therefore, we need to send missionaries where they’re needed most. There are many missionaries throughout the world today. For the purpose of this article, I will define missionary as someone who has the gift of teaching or evangelism who is sharing the gospel with people of a different language or culture than his or her own. As of today, for every missionary that the church sends to the unreached of the world, she sends 30 missionaries to places who have a Christian witness. (Remaining Mission Task) If we are going to accomplish the Great Commission, we must establish the unreached people of the world in our hearts.
Although this may seem like an impossible task, nothing is impossible with God. The wisdom of man or fleshly strength alone cannot accomplish this task. God has already established His church in places previously thought impossible by man with far less technology and resources than those that are in our grasps today. We are seeing this reality today as the global south (the countries south of the equator) are sending out more missionaries than America. (Sutter, 2021) These brothers and sisters live in abject poverty yet are answering the call to travel sea and land to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, let’s go where the gospel has never gone. Pray that the Lord would open the doors for believers to go into all the world. Pray that God would raise up a generation of missionaries who would recover the original calling of a missionary: “the call to die.”1 Pray that God would prepare the way by His spirit for the obedient missionaries from all over the world who will pioneer the gospel among UPGs. Pray for current cross-cultural missionaries who are serving in locations that are geographically convenient to reach UPGs, that they would equip the indigenous churches to send out missionaries to places that westerners have no access to.
Jacob Foster-ministry intern
Remaining Mission Task (joshuaproject.net)
frontier-peoples-overview.pdf (joshuaproject.net) (Unreached Peoples Overview, n.d.) https://joshuaproject.net/assets/media/handouts/unreached-peoples-overview.pdf
1 Call to Missions: A Death Sentence – BMW (biblicalministries.org)