PASADENA, CA – Sunday, June 9, 2019, is the International Day for the Unreached. This is the second in a short series of articles that will explain who they are, where they are, how we are doing, and how we can do better.
In our first article, we introduced five major groups defined by the Joshua Project: The Significantly Reached, the Partially Reached, the Superficially Reached, the Minimally Reached, and the Unreached.
Each group is defined, in part, by the percentage of professing Christians and Evangelicals comprising the population. A group is considered Unreached where Evangelicals account for less than 2 percent of the population and Professing Christians account for 5 percent or less. The project has added a subcategory under the Unreached.
“Frontier People Groups (FPGs) are Unreached People Groups with 0.1% or fewer Christians of any kind, and no evidence of a self-sustaining gospel movement. There are about 4,761 Frontier People Groups with total population 1,820,899,000. One-fourth of the world lives in FPGs and have almost no chance of hearing about Jesus from someone in their own people group.”
I’m inclined to call them the Desperately Unreached. The Apostle Paul described them as “strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope . . . without God in the world.” (See Ephesians 2:12)
Can you believe that 1.8 billion people have never heard of Jesus – and have “almost no chance” of hearing about Him from someone else in their own group? We have had more than 2,000 years to go into all the world and make disciples, yet one-quarter of the people on Earth not only don’t know about Jesus but also remain unlikely to ever learn about Him.
This is not to say that we are failing to spread the Gospel as we should. As we soon shall see, the largest populations and percentage of the total population of the Frontier Unreached live in regions beset by obstacles including poverty, conflict, and fear. Some groups are in distant and difficult-to-reach locations. Yet others live under cultural or political repression where Christians are unwelcome and evangelism is illegal.
The five most heavily populated regions where the need for the Christian outreach is greatest are:
- South Asia — 1,765,133,000
- Northeast Asia — 1,639,835,000
- Southeast Asia — 635,504,000
- Latin America — 606,106,000
- Eastern & Southern Africa — 569,335,000
The five regions with the highest Frontier Unreached populations are:
- South Asia — 1,360,384,000
- Central Asia — 166,133,000
- MENA — 103,954,000
- West & Central Africa — 53,031,000
- Southeast Asia — 49,508,000
The startling numbers of unreached people in South Asia are of particular interest to readers of Missions Box News, supporters of Gospel for Asia, and other faith-based organizations working to reach the unreached in that region.
The Frontier Unreached in South Asia represents 74% of all unreached around the globe and 77.1% of the population of South Asia. And, that’s nearly 2 billion people!
Can we in the West even begin to comprehend the magnitude of those numbers? Can we even begin to understand the plight of those people without Jesus, both now and for eternity?
Clearly, there is much work to be done. Clearly, we need to understand. Clearly, we need to care.
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