Use Joshua Project Data
What can we do about the
thousands of unreached people groups?
Focus on people groups, not countries.
Jesus commissioned the Church in Mathew 28:19 to go and make disciples of all nations. The Greek word for "nations" here is ethne (ἔθνη) and means "people (or ethnic) groups." In this context "nations" is not used like the term in the "United Nations" but instead like the term for the American tribes in the "Six Nations of the Iroquois."
Jesus desires followers from every ethnic people group of the world. Today, half of the world lives with little or no access to the gospel, yet Christians can be found in every country. To complete the Great Commission, more churches and mission organizations should adjust their focus to include people group thinking.
- Look up the countries where your missionaries are serving by using the search tool and find the unreached people groups in that country. Talk with your missionaries about expanding their strategy to include a deliberate focus on the unreached people groups in their area.
Focus on unreached people groups.
You've probably heard (or made) statements like these:
- "Missions begins in your back yard."
- "Your mission field starts as soon as you walk out the doors of the church."
- "Start with your 'Jerusalem'." (See Acts 1:8)
- "We have 'unreached' right here where we live."
Often we make these declarations, unaware of how they trivialize important terms like "missions" and the "unreached." Those words should be largely reserved for the "utmost" or "uttermost" Jesus tasked us with. The mission is Jerusalem AND Judea AND Samaria AND the uttermost parts (literally, to the extremes) of the earth.
Joshua Project emphasizes cross cultural missions and missions to the unreached so strongly because that is often the most neglected part of what Jesus commissioned us to do.
"Missions is not about simply persons being evangelized on your campus. Missions is about reaching the peoples....Missions is about crossing a culture, learning the language, planting the church where it doesn't exist so that it can do evangelism like you can here." - John Piper, Cross Conference 2013
- Without abandoning missionaries you support who are working among people who already have the gospel readily available, decide to begin giving and sending strategically towards where the gospel is not. "...Lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest." (John 4:35)
Keep God's missionary heart in front of you.
Missions is not a compartment nor a department of the church. It is God's heart to reach those for whom Christ died. The Bible is full of references to what we might call "missions." It is not just the book of Jonah and the last few verses of a couple of the Gospels.
Weaving the thread of this missionary heartbeat into your presentations and sermons could not be easier. You can find it in the call of Abraham, Israel's laws, the dedication of the temple, many of David's Psalms, key gentile characters, the minor prophets, Jesus' teachings, almost every book written by the Apostles and as the Scriptures close out with the book of Revelation.