A new report found that just three percent of Christian missionaries worldwide focus on "unreached" people, meaning people who have never heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or been to church.
According to The Traveling Team data cited by global evangelism ministry East-West, there are about 400,000 Christian missionaries worldwide. Among them, only 3.3 percent are focused on "unreached people groups," otherwise identified as UPG.
"When we say unreached, we're not just talking about lostness; we're talking about access. Unreached means that they don't even have access to hear the Gospel. There's no church, no Christian, no Bible available ... God has not just commanded us to make the Gospel known among as many people as possible. He has commanded us to make the Gospel known among all the peoples," said pastor David Platt of McClean Bible Church in Washington D.C., according to a blog posted to East-West's website.
The Joshua Project, an organization that tracks evangelism efforts across the globe, states that people groups are categorized as unreached when less than 2 percent of those identify as evangelical Christian and less than 5 percent adhere to any form of Christianity
Additionally, UPG resources noted that at least 2 percent of a population is required to reach an entire group.
While the earth currently has a population of over 7.7 billion people, about 3.2 billion are labeled unreached or least reached.
According to East-West, there are over 700,000 people groups, about 41.7 percent of the total population, labeled unreached.
The ministry also cited multiple reasons as to why these people groups remain unreached, such as physical, political and cultural barriers.
Physical barriers, such as inaccessible terrains like mountains and remote villages, have made it difficult for evangelists to reach people with the Gospel.
Additionally, cultural and political barriers have hindered evangelism efforts, especially for people living in countries where Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or a folk religion are predominant and where Christian persecution is rampant.
As reported by The Christian Post, East-West founder John Maisel contended that God is glorified when His people choose to take risks when reaching the lost with the Gospel.
"God's greatest delight is when His children choose by faith to get out of the safety of the boat to meet Him and follow His leading," he wrote in a blog post.
"You show me a Christian without a passion for those around them who are outside of Christ, and I will show you a Christian without vision who is playing it safe," he said.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.