What Are Remote Unreached People Groups? – part 3

Remote unreached people groups have absolutely no access whatsoever to the Gospel. There are no Christians and no missionaries working among them. Some definitions of unreached people groups consider a group with less than 2% evangelical Christians to be unreached.

In order to make a distinction between people groups with very few Christians and 0% Christians, I am adding the term “remote,” to the unreached people group phrase. You could also call them totally unreached instead of remote.

  • Remote Unreached People Groups = 0% evangelical Christians and no missionaries among them.
  • Unreached People Groups = 2% or less evangelical Christians. 5% or less adherents to a form of Christianity.

All remote unreached people groups also fall into one or more of these categories. They are remote:

GEOGRAPHICALLY – They are remote geographically, which makes it more difficult for the missionary to get to them. They are way out there. It probably means the missionary will be without access to electricity, running water, medical services, technology, cell phone service, etc. I estimate that 3,000 of the 4,500 remote unreached people groups fall into this category.

LINGUISTICALLY – They are remote linguistically, which means that they simply do not speak the national language–or enough of it–to hear and understand the Gospel. Many are totally cut off from any access to the Gospel message in this way. They cannot get it, even if they looked for it, because no missionary or no Christian speaks their language. A missionary has to learn their language and disciple them. I estimate that 3,000 of the 4,500 remote unreached people groups fall into this category.

POLITICALLY – They are remote because the country or region they live in, or belief system restricts their access to missionary work, to Christianity, or to both. This makes it more difficult for the missionary to get to them. You should consider all false religions as a political division. I estimate that at least 3,500 of the 4,500 remote unreached groups fall into this category.

SPIRITUALLY – They have remained untouched by the Gospel for thousands of years, and thus they are remote spiritually. They have a hard shell of spiritual bondage that will have to be broken by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the very last barrier the missionary will have to cross; the heart hardened by sin. There are 0% evangelical Christians and no missionaries among them so they continue to go deeper into bondage. All remote unreached people groups fall into this category.

VISIBLY – They have not been visible to the Church. These are small people groups, typically under 50,000 in population, and don’t get promoted by large missionary movements and organizations. About 3,500 of the 4,500 remote unreached fall into this category. Only about 1,000 of the people groups with 0% Christians are being promoted and are somewhat known by the missionary movement.

I do not include religion as a category of remoteness to the Gospel anymore. All people are lost if they do not believe in the person of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the only savior and propitiation for the sin of mankind. Propitiation is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ by the shedding of his blood and dying in the place of every man, woman, and child. His blood atones for our sin. Blood is the life of all living creatures. If the blood is drained, the creature dies. Originally, God demanded that men sacrifice innocent living creatures by shedding their blood and killing them in order to atone for one’s sins. Sin is against God’s nature and is evil; therefore, someone (or something in times before the messiah came) innocent must pay for your sins, unless you pay for them yourself. If you pay yourself, you will pay by being separated from the Holy God forever, as sin and evil cannot be in his presence. It is not that God wants men to go to hell forever; it is that he cannot allow sinful evil souls to abide with him forever as he is holy. Therefore, innocent blood has to cover your sin. Before Christ came, that blood was the blood of animals and was temporary, until Jesus could come and voluntarily die in your place. Jesus Christ was pure and drained his blood out for you, dying for you, sacrificing his life in your stead. Apply Christ’s blood to your sin, or your soul cannot be cleansed and be allowed into God’s presence when your physical body dies. Your physical body will die but your soul will live forever in the presence of God, if purified by the free application of his blood. Jesus Christ is God’s only son, who came into this world by the virgin birth through the Holy Spirit. Jesus was born of God in the body of a human man, lived without sin, shed his innocent blood, and died so that you and I would not have to pay the penalty of our sin. All other beliefs will lead you to eternal separation from God and Christ. All other religions are useless and dead.

Essentially, all man-made religions are the same thus political in nature. Islam is no different from Buddhism or Hinduism. They are all man-made systems that lead you to eternal separation from God the father, the creator of the universe. They cannot cleanse you of your sin. Buddha did not shed his blood for you. Mohammad did not die and resurrect from the dead so that you too could also be resurrected into eternal life. Man-made religion is an empty glass of air. It does no good to pray against the growth of Islam or Hinduism because they are just air. They are nothing. We should be praying against Satan, who deceives the masses into believing that Mohammad or Shiva can save them from the penalty of their sin. Religion is not a barrier to the missionary. All people everywhere have sinned, and their sin is the barrier between them and the presence of God their creator. The missionary needs to tell them this. The missionary has to get to them and communicate this message clearly in a way they can fully understand it. These are the problems the missionary has to resolve.

Many remote unreached people groups fall into more than one category. Some fall into every category. An example of a people group in every category would be this: you are a missionary to a people group living in a completely closed country. Your people group does not speak the national language at all, lives far from major cities and roads, and murder is an everyday part of life. Your people group is not on any unreached prayer guide or any other list for consideration of missionary sending. Your people group is also below 50,000 in population. These groups are going to require the most dedicated Christians living the simplest missionary lives and using the most basic missionary models in order to help them come to Christ. By the time you finish this book, you will understand that the population of the people group is irrelevant to the great commission. This is something you will not find explicitly in the New Testament, although I believe that it is the attitude of Christ. He does not consider the size of the people group to be important. All people groups should and will hear, regardless of size. All these small groups will have the Gospel preached to them before the end comes.

This chart displays the number of people groups and their populations. It contains the sum of all the known people groups in the world, not just the remote unreached groups. For example, you will see that there are 688 people groups above 1,000,000 in population, comprising 6% of the people groups in the world. Most of the remote unreached people groups will be smaller in population and be found in the darker sections of the chart.

You can see that the missionary movement has focused primarily on 6% of the world’s people groups: those having over 1,000,000 in population. Another way that our missiology is incorrect is that our focus on missionary sending is incorrect. The larger people groups already have some Christian activity, we just don’t know about it. New missionaries will need to go to the smaller remote unreached people groups, where there is no known Christian activity since it is more likely that there are no Christians in these smaller groups. I recently saw an advertisement from a large mission conference in the United States. A young man had painted on his face I WILL GO. I sincerely hope so, but where? Most young people are mobilized into people groups with the Gospel available to them–those above 0% and below 2% evangelical Christians. I hope this young man goes as far as he possibly can, taking Jesus to the most remote parts of the world, where there are 0% Christians and below 50,000 in population. They are remote in every sense of the word. They have no missionaries among them, and they are remote visibly to the Church, meaning that they are small and not being seen or promoted. They are seemingly insignificant people groups because they are small in the eyes of the missionary movement. They will be the last to receive missionaries.

All new missionaries will need commitment, mobility, faith, perseverance, tenacity, a stick-to-it attitude, a hard work ethic, a go-it-alone approach, a willingness to die, a sacrificial heart, a no-return strategy, and a massive servant attitude. On top of all this character, they will need special training in language learning and scripture translation. Our current missiology may teach some of these things, but it is not producing disciples that live these things in their daily lives. Lastly, modern missionary candidates will have to go, with little or no backing, into an adverse situation. If you examine the teaching of Jesus closely, the character part will come as you go. Maturity happens over time, not overnight, and full maturity is not a New Testament prerequisite for missionary work. Just look at the lives of the disciples for proof. This book presents some very different options that will make going and staying in a remote unreached people group much easier.

There are thousands of you out there who have all the character you need. Now, all you need to do is to simplify the going part and the staying part. You have to remember that mission work was done for several centuries without all the missiology and technology we have available today. Therefore, you too can do mission work without all the modern missiology and technology we have available today. When Jesus taught the disciples to take the Gospel into all the world, he knew exactly what he was doing. He had a carefully developed plan. It was possible then to follow his plan without all the missiology and technology we have available today, and so it is possible now. Jesus did not have church structures, training centers, sending agencies, or the modern communications and transportation that we have.