The church has made great progress in missions in the past century. Consider the last 25 years. I vividly remember being challenged as a college student to pray for, give toward or go to the USSR, Albania, Romania and China. At the time these four countries represented some of the most difficult, thorny, rock-hard fields for the message of God’s love in Christ. Yet today all four of these nations have been fundamentally changed. The USSR no longer exists. Albania has been saturated with the gospel and hosts a thriving church. Romania has student-led movements all over the country and has been sending out missionaries for years, even to China. On a typical Chinese campus one in every five students who hears the good news will begin following Jesus.
What happened? God worked. He worked through the prayers of the saints, the obedience of his church, and the life-on-life impact of faithful believers. Wow. Be amazed!
But…we’re a long way from done. My friend Paul frequently updates me on how well the church is doing on “getting to where we’re not.” Here are a few stats to bring some hard – and uncomfortable – data into the equation. One day people from EVERY tribe, tongue, people and ethnic group will worship God together, but…
Did you know…
- 2,251 languages have no Scripture and no one working on them.
- 1,953 languages have someone that has begun work but, as yet, they do not have one book of the Bible available.
- Impact: 300 million people living in 4,204 groups have no access to Scripture in their own language.
- There are many ways of figuring the number of unreached groups in the world. Since 2000, about 6,000 of 12,000 have been “reached,” meaning there are at least 2% evangelical believers. Of the remaining 6,000 groups, 3,400 have no known witness for the Lord. There are about 600 million people (twice the population of the USA) in these Unengaged Unreached People Groups (UUPGs in missions lingo).
- We need revolutionary approaches to rekindle intentional outreach to the 1.3 billion Muslims, 1 billion Hindus and 700 million Buddhists alive today.
- The easy and difficult places have been reached. The most challenging, difficult places remain before us.
In spite of this…
- 94% of active missionaries are working among the 14% of the most evangelized ethnic groups.
- Of every $1,000 given toward Christian missions, only 10 cents goes toward Muslim evangelism.
I invite you to download this 3 page summary from the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelism and join me in praying through the top 11 priorities of the global church. Let’s do what we can to change the world.