Unreached People Groups

If you are interested in Unreached People Groups (UPG), you will probably be interested in visiting the Joshua Project website if you don’t already know about them.

Joshua Project is a research initiative that studies and brings attention to the least evangelized and churched ethn0-linguistic people groups of the world. Joshua Project believes that “accurate, regularly updated ethnic people group information is critical for understanding and completing the Great Commission”.

As we seek to fulfill the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lifetime, Joshua Project helps us to answer many of the questions that are associated with the command to “make disciples of all the “nations’“. Three of those questions are:

  • Who are the ethnic people groups of the world?
  • Which people groups still need an initial church-planting movement in their midst?
  • What ministry resources are available to help outreach among the least-reached?

On the JP website you will find a wealth of information, for your head and heart, about the tremendous number of people groups and people who have yet to hear the saving news of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joshua Project also provides us with definitions of many of the terms that are used, and that you will hear or read, when discussing the reaching of the “nations”. An understanding of these terms helps bring clarity and intentionality to our thinking and praying as we strategize how best to reach the “nations” for Christ.

One such term is “people groups”.

“For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”

Another term is “unreached”.

“An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group.”

“The original Joshua Project editorial committee selected the criteria less than 2% Evangelical Christian and less than 5% Christian Adherents. While these percentage figures are somewhat arbitrary, there are some that suggest that the percentage of a population needed to be influenced to impact the whole group is 2%.”

So, the question is now begged: “Just how many unreached people groups are there in the world today?”

Joshua Project reports that there are 16,344 People Groups in the world. Of those, 6,639, or 40.6% of the world’s People Groups, are unreached.

Joshua Project also reports that of the world’s 6.7 billion people, 2.74 billion are members of Unreached People Groups. That means that 40.9% of the today’s world population has not been reached with the message of God’s love and salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ.

What then will be our response to the Lord’s command to “Go  therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe (obey) all that I commanded you.” ?

Let us pray that the Lord will send out laborers into His harvest fields, the harvest fields of souls that are ripe unto harvest. (Luke 10:2) May we be prepared to be the Lord’s answer to our own prayer!

Let us pray that the unreached billions will be reached and that myriads upon myriads will come to know Christ as personal Savior.

Let us pray for those who are even now serving as laborers in the Lord’s harvest fields of the world.

Jesus said:

” … this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.”  (Matthew 24:14)


Visit Joshua Project here.

(This article was originally posted on teethnenetwork on October 21, 2009)

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