The Urgent Priority – Remote Unreached People Groups – part 2

It was going to be a long meeting. The thought of going through three days of boring lectures was unbearable. Thankfully, I had a pen, paper, and a calculator. I started to do the math of how many souls would perish before Christ’s return.

I have a good friend who works at one of the primary centers of unreached people group research. They receive the latest information about missions and hear a lot about what is going on around the world. You would think that my friend would be extremely optimistic about Christ returning in the next twenty or thirty years, but he’s not. He estimates that Jesus will not return for at least one hundred and fifty years (150 years). At the rate and in the manner that the Christian movement is sending long-term, fully trained missionaries into unreached people groups, and considering the number of unreached peoples that exist, we will not see Jesus return in our lifetime.

So, I took my friend’s estimate of one hundred and fifty years and did the math. I estimate that 17.5 billion souls will perish and go into an eternal hell before Jesus returns, simply because the Christian movement has incorrect missiology and therefore is teaching and sending missionaries incorrectly. There are very few missionaries going into remote unreached people groups, and the few that go are insufficiently prepared to reach them. We alone are prolonging Christ’s return. Jesus will return; that is a promise. When he returns will be prolonged because we have injected our man-made methods into his great commission. Many billions of souls will perish as we wait.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.

(NIV, The great commission – Matthew 28:19-20)

You should never get tired of reading that passage. There are a lot of optimists out there who say that Christianity is winning over Islam. It really doesn’t matter. Even if every Christian in the Western Hemisphere packed their bags today to go as missionaries to the masses in Islam, it would not bring Christ back any sooner. Jesus did not say, “Go make disciples of all religions.” He said, “Go make disciples of all nations,” or ἔθνη, which, in the original language Jesus spoke, means “ethnē,” “ethnos,” or ethnic groups.

“And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”.

(NIV, Matthew 24:14)

Let’s say that there are 13,000 ethnic people groups in the world, and roughly 4,500 of them are totally unreached, with no Christians and no missionaries among them. It is our job to traverse geography and learn the language in order to bring the gentiles—ἔθνεσιν—back to him (those separated from God by their sin, which has caused their lost state). In order to preach to the whole geographical world, you need to go into all the geographical world, wherever the lost people may be found, and preach in a language that they can understand. We would need at least 4,500 fully committed, fully trained missionaries to go crossing geography and language to every corner of the world and make disciples before Jesus will be able to return. We haven’t done this yet. The number of missionaries needed is relatively small. Even if we needed four missionaries for every remote unreached people group we would only need 18,000 missionaries.

Almost all of the 4,500 remote unreached people groups are remote in other ways as well. They are not going to be easy to reach. The missionary will have to go into a politically closed, hostile, resistant situation with little or no support and no intent of coming home. The missionary will also need a solid mature faith and power that few Christians have these days. If you don’t have the courage and power of the Lord, ask him for it. There are many young people who just want the reality about the mission movement. They are waiting on the real truth to push them forward. Jesus told the straight facts to his disciples. He told them that if people hated him, they would be hated as well. He told them that if people killed him, they would be killed too. He told them that he was sending them out like sheep among wolves. He told them to leave it all behind. He told other people along the way to sell everything they have and give it to the poor and then come follow him. He told them that they would be persecuted and flogged and that they would need to pick up their crosses and follow him every day. Do what he says, and you will have sufficient faith and the power to go into darkness.

Update of unreached people groups numbers in 2022

At the time of writing this article the number of totally unreached people groups was lower but this was not the reality. A team of four men have been working on adding the people groups to the current list which have been waiting for years. There are actually more totally unreached people groups that have been in waiting to be added to the current lists. They have been in holding for various reasons. The powers that are behind the finishing the great commission movements have not wanted these people groups added because they prolong finishing the great commission.

The number of people groups currently is 12,500 known groups. This includes ethnic groups, tribes and known clans and divisions between them for religious or caste lines.

The number of reached peoples is 4,800
The number of groups in some level of progress of the maturity of the church 650
The number of unreached groups (less than 2% evangelicals) is 1,500
The number of totally unreached groups (0% evangelicals) is 2,850
The number of people groups we do not know are 2,800 which are probably in the majority unreached or totally unreached. Field research is needed.
There are also a number of projected unclassified or unidentified people groups could be as many as 1,000
This is the newest and best data we have by merging all the major people group lists. These too are probably in their majority unreached or totally unreached peoples.

Any people group is where there is a significant barrier to the flow of the Gospel. Call them what you may. Ethnic, tribal, clan, caste, ethno-religious, even geographical barriers. It is about getting the Gospel to them, it does not matter how they breakdown anthropologically or even linguistically.

This means that we have approximately 8,150 missionary sending needs. They could be near people groups or cross cultural missionaries.

This is still not an undoable task. In Latin America there are 120 million evangelical Christians. In North America there are 30 million evangelical Christians in one major denomination alone. We do not have a lack of missionary candidates. We have a lack of knowledge of the existence of the task and the will do to it.

We have created a huge curve for a missionary candidate to get to the mission field. We need to straighten the curve. We need to lower the requisites and bring them down to the missiology of Christ which is much more simple and doable. This is what this blog is about.

Keep reading and get into the Bible reading plan. We need 8,000 people to do their part. That’s all.