If Christians truly wanted to reach every corner of the planet with the gospel, then fortunately we have more than enough resources to do it. 

Unfortunately we overlook millions of people who have not yet heard the gospel because we are busy about God’s work on the home front.

“But,” you might say, “how dare we overlook lost and hurting people within our sphere of influence here at home.” To which I reply, “Equally, how dare we overlook the plight of millions around the world who have never had a chance to hear the name of Jesus!”

For more incredible stats, check out this popular post: Chances Are, You Don’t Care.

Foreign missions is crossing a culture, learning a language, and planting the Church through preaching the gospel among people groups that have no churches strong enough to evangelize their group.

So here’s a challenging reminder of (1) how large the remaining task of missions is, but also (2) how great our resources are for the task.

We should be dumbfounded at how doable the remaining task of world missions is!

  • According to the Joshua Project (as of February 16, 2013) there are 16,598 people groups in the world. 7,165 of these are “unreached” (fewer than 2% evangelical).
  • Defining things somewhat differently, the research arm of the Southern Baptist International Missions Board estimates 11,310 people groups, of which 6,405 are unreached and 3,100 are “unengaged” (no evangelical mission effort to reach them is underway).

Does that number sound large to you? 3,100? These are the people groups yet to be pursued and penetrated with a missions effort. The number is, in fact, amazingly small compared to the resources available to us.

  • There are 44,000 Christian denominations in the world—14 for every unengaged people group.
  • There are 700 million evangelical Christians in the world—225,000 for every unengaged people group.
  • There are 4.5 million Christian congregations in the world—1,451 congregations for every unengaged people group.
  • There are 4,900 Christian foreign mission sending agencies in the world—1.5 agencies for every unengaged people group.
  • In AD 100 there were 12 unreached people groups for every congregation of believers. Now there is 1 unreached people group for every 1000 congregations. (Winter et al., 3)
  • 91% of all Christian outreach/evangelism does not target non-Christians, but targets other Christians. (Baxter 2007, 12)
  • On foreign mission funding: 87% goes for work among those already Christian. 12% for work among already evangelized, but Non-Christian. 1% for work among the unevangelized and unreached people. (Baxter 2007, 12)

So I am not saying it will be easy to reach them. It will be very costly. But if God would grant us the passion, courage and wisdom, the remaining task is neither vague, overly enormous, nor unattainable.

What an exciting opportunity we have, and an abundance of resources with which to accomplish God’s passion to bless every nation, tribe, people and language!

At Within Reach Global, we are doing our small part to reach communities who are still waiting at the other end of our obedience.

Would you consider giving a financial donation to help us reach unreached people groups and college students with the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Feel led to make a donation to Within Reach Global? These buttons are a good start, or find out more on our donate page.


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Adapted from J.D. Greear’s The Mind-Boggling Simplicity Of The Great Commission and John Piper’s How Much Is Left to Do in the Great Commission?

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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