Present global statistics tell us there are more than 6,000 distinct “unreached” people groups around the world. An unreached people group is best defined as an ethnic people where the indigenous community of Bible—believing followers of Jesus lack adequate numbers and resources to evangelize and disciple the ethnic group at large.
Some of the 6,000 may be very small populations. Most are found within the 10/40 Window. This is the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude.
It is often called “The Resistant Belt” and includes 80% of the world’s poorest people and the birthplaces of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. An estimated 2.51 billion individuals (or a third of the world’s population) live in approximately 8,809 distinct people groups in the 10/40 Window.
To break it down more, we need to consider what are now being called “Unengaged, Unreached People Groups.” These are ethnic groups with populations of 100,000 or more who are considered the neediest of the needy.
No ministry, church, or organization is yet engaging with them to plant indigenous reproducing churches and make disciples. There are zero known believers among these ethnic groups. This takes us from the 6,000 groups to 476 people groups.
At this time, the global body of Christ is not engaging with these 476 people groups in any way. Yet they are made up of individuals lost apart from trusting Jesus Christ and doing the will of the Father. They are not living under the rule and reign of Christ. It is God’s purpose that today’s generation of believers engage with these 476 ethnic groups with the distinct purpose of providing a powerful and culturally relevant witness that produces widespread fruit among them. For a listing of these people groups, see www.finishingthetask.com.
God is sovereign over all and rules over history, the present, and the future. Yet He has chosen to set up His Kingdom so that every advance in this age is done in holy partnership with His beloved bride, the true global Church.
God has chosen, out of love, to limit himself. He seeks disciples to stand in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30). He does not need us but out of deep love, has chosen to set up His Kingdom in partnership with weak and broken humanity. The core desire among Jesus’ followers is to know the Lord deeply and cooperate with Him as He works out His plans and purposes in the earth.
This is what we were created for. The eternity He has placed in our hearts longs to have greater heart understanding of God and to participate with Him in what is of the utmost eternal significance (Ecclesiastes 3:11).