CLARKSTON, GA – Gospel Frontier Missions was founded in 2000 by one young couple with a burden to disciple people and plant churches in villages in Oaxaca, Mexico, where the people had never heard about Jesus.
But this article is not about Gospel Frontier Missions. It is about a lesson in missions from GFM that I came across while reading the “Nations” page on the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) website. It’s a story that has been told many times in many ways, but it is still a story that needs to be told.
The World in Three Parts
We have become accustomed to viewing the world either as seven continents or as regions, e.g., MENA, South Asia, Oceania, or the 10/40 Window.
For illustrative purposes, GFM has divided the world into three parts, appropriately named A, B, and C. The numerations are best explained in reverse order. We might call “C” the Christian world. “B” is the people in the world that have heard about the Gospel but chosen not to follow Jesus. That leaves us with “A,” which is comprised of all the people who have never heard of Jesus.
One-third of the world population (33%) claim to be Christian. Many are Christian in name only. Some may think they are Christians because they live in a so-called “Christian Country.”
Seventy-two percent of the 400,000 cross-cultural missionaries worldwide serve in the “C” sector, where the people already have Bibles and established Bible-teaching churches. The people in “C” collectively earn a total of about $42 trillion annually. About 8% of that amount ($700 billion) is given to “Christian causes,” while only $45 billion is donated specifically for Christian missions.
Of the $45 billion given for Christian missionary work, 87% of it goes to Christian outreach endeavors within sector “C!”
Sector B, where people have access to the Bible but have decided not to follow Jesus, is home to 38% of the global population. These people have access to churches, Bibles in their own language and may have friends, neighbors, or co-workers who know Jesus.
Yet only 25% of all cross-cultural Christian missionaries are working in the “B” sector. Furthermore, only 12% of funds given specifically for missions goes to support the work in this sector.
This is the segment of the world that includes only the people who have never heard of Jesus. These people are often described as “the unreached.” They have no access to churches, no Bibles, and no one nearby who knows the Good News. They have nearly zero chance of hearing the Gospel.
We don’t have to tell you about the population, the percentage of missionaries working, or the amount of funding that goes to “A.” It is a simple exercise in mathematics.
|Percent of:||Minus C||Minus B||equals A|
If the data does not distress you, perhaps an additional explanation is in order. Fewer than 3% of all cross-cultural Christian workers are available to reach almost 30% of the people in the world. Only 1% ($450 million) of funds given for Christian missions is directed to the sector that needs it the most.
$450 million may seem like a generous amount. To put that amount into perspective, Americans spend more than that annually for Halloween costumes – wait for it – for their pets!
There remains an urgent need to reach the unreached.
We can’t all go . . . but more of us could.
We can all give . . . but we all need to consider giving more.
We can all pray . . . but we all should be praying more.
What are we waiting for?