Joshua ProjectJoshua Project

Joshua Project is a research initiative seeking to highlight the people groups of the world with the fewest followers of Christ. Accurate, updated people group information is critical for understanding and completing the Great Commission. Revelation 5:9 and 7:9-10 show that there will be some from every tribe, tongue, nation and people before the Throne.

Joshua Project seeks to answer the questions that result from the Great Commission's call to make disciples among every nation or people group. Who are the people groups of the world? Which ones still need initial church-planting in their midst? How can we pray for them? What ministry resources are available to reach the least-reached?

There will be some from every tribe, tongue, nation and people before the Throne.

Core Values

  • Having a people group lens. There are many ways to view and determine priority ministry needs in the world. Joshua Project views the world through a people group lens, identifying how God is at work among the peoples of the world, and identifying and displaying the gaps to help the global church prioritize intercession and mission work among peoples who have had little access or responsiveness to the gospel.
  • Having a responsiveness to the field. Joshua Project relies on feedback from the field to accurately display people’s identities and their status of Christian witness. We seek to display on a global website the local realities and viewpoints of people’s identities and responsiveness to the gospel.
  • Maintaining data integrity. At tension with the prior value, Joshua Project seeks to maintain integrity in our data, which means we work diligently to provide updates on population counts and take seriously the level of reputability of field data sources. We also compare data with other sources and seek to reconcile disparities.
  • Obtaining enough demographic data on all people groups to catalyze prayer and ministry among them. We are not exhaustive in our understanding and presentation of information on particular people groups or the details of mission activity among them. Instead, we seek to create an exhaustive list of people groups that defines the mission field as accurately and adequately as possible to help the Body of Christ prioritize their prayer and mission activity. Such basic information can be limited to people’s identities, population counts, languages spoken, places of habitation, status of Christian witness, and gospel resources that exist in their languages. In written people group profiles, we add more layers of information to aid prayer and understanding.

Activities and Focus

Joshua Project gathers, integrates and shares people group information to encourage pioneer church-planting movements among every ethnic group and to facilitate effective coordination of mission agency efforts. Joshua Project compiles the work of numerous missions researchers to develop a list of all ethnic peoples that is as complete as possible. Errors, duplicates, and overlaps may exist and the data is continually being updated. We welcome feedback of all kinds!


From this overall ethnic people group list, a subset of unreached / least-reached peoples has been identified based on the criteria of less than 2% Evangelical and less than 5% Professing Christian. This subset helps focus attention on the unfinished task of the Great Commission. We desire that this list be used by mission agencies, denominations, churches and missionaries to accelerate the Gospel's advance into each of the least-reached people groups. Joshua Project has also developed a Progress Scale a spectrum of reachedness rather than a simple on / off indicator.

History and Track Record

Joshua Project began in 1995 as part of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement. From 2001 through 2005 Joshua Project was at different times informally connected with Caleb Project, ICTA and World Help. From 2006 until 2023 Joshua Project was a ministry of Frontier Ventures (formerly known as the U.S. Center for World Mission). In 2024 Joshua Project became an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Joshua Project helps define the unfinished task of the Great Commission by highlighting unreached people groups.

The original Joshua Project list was a cooperative and globally used list of the largest unreached ethno-linguistic people groups and related ministry activity data. The Joshua Project list attempted to provide a clear goal of pioneer church-planting among the largest unreached peoples. Joshua Project has since expanded this list to all unreached / least-reached peoples regardless of size and moved from a purely ethno-linguistic to an ethnic people focus.

Distinctives and Uniqueness

  • Strategic - We help mission strategists who ask, "Where is the greatest need?" Our desire is to help focus the Church on the most spiritually needy ethnic people groups.
  • Effective - We seek to maximize the effectiveness of Kingdom resources by helping identify and reduce duplication of effort between ministries through data sharing.
  • Comprehensive - Our emphasis is on comprehensiveness, to see that the Church is initially established in all the world's ethnic peoples. Our method has been "when in doubt include a people group on the list" to ensure that no groups are overlooked.
  • Neutral - We are a neutral, low-profile ministry, serving the global missions community.
  • Grassroots - We encourage grassroots initiatives and seek input from those actually doing onsite work. Priority is given to updates made by local and national researchers.
  • Openhanded - We provide all data and services at no charge and we desire individuals and agencies in all parts of the world to have access to unreached peoples data.

Data is gathered from a worldwide constituency of researchers, field workers, agencies and denominations.

Constituency and Partners

We serve missions agencies, denominations, churches, and individuals around the world that have a heart for pioneer church-planting among the world's least-reached people groups. Data is gathered from a worldwide constituency of field workers and their agencies, brought together into a database, and within security guidelines, provided free of charge to the global Church.

Regular users and providers of Joshua Project data include: international researchers and church-planters, local churches and individuals, denominations and mission agencies. Field workers utilize the information for building prayer and vision for their ministries and discovering what ministry tools may be available. Local churches see value for missions mobilization, and for finding agencies with whom they can partner to see pioneer churches established among unreached / least-reached people groups. Mission agencies use the data to strategically determine where to send new church-planting teams and for partnership development to avoid duplication and waste of kingdom resources.

Joshua Project is a small team of five staff members.

A Small Staff and Budget ... A Significant Impact

Joshua Project is a small team of five staff members. No staff receive salaries; each is responsible for raising their own personal funding, just as traditional missionaries do.

Joshua Project operates on a very small amount each month. All gifts are used to pay for basic operating expenses and limited subsidies for staff whose support level has decreased below basic income needs.

Joshua Project is able to continue catalyzing pioneer church planting among the least-reached peoples of the world through the gracious gifts of God's people. Click here to donate.

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