First a quick history lesson. The gospel arrived in Jerusalem, and from there the world knew of Jesus. First in Israel, then to surrounding Middle Eastern countries (before Mohammed great monastery’s were everywhere in Saudi Arabia), then spreading west-ward to Europe. Through the ages, the gospel crept further west, spreading to America, and then to South America, as well as shortly after spreading to Asia.
Well that’s the whole world then, right? Phew! But as far as people who know Jesus Christ as their Savior, or even knowing who he was historically, most of the world does not know Him. So when we talk about the “least-reached people” we talk about people groups who have the least amount of believers among them, and do NOT have access to the gospel because no church or Christian presence is there in their own language. The most reached ones being countries like South Korea and America, with confessing believers in Christ ranging in the 30% of the population. Least reached countries being like Indonesia (which is mostly Muslim) where the believing community is more like 0.01%.
The stats below are presented to bring to your mind the perspective of urgency in our world that oh so desperately needs to know Jesus Christ. Because “globalization” is happening and is already here, and our world is ever increasing to be an Internationalized community, its good to know where we stand in perspective to other countries, gospel-wise. So now, the stats:
We Live in an Asian World**
(this includes the Middle East)
61% of the Worlds population are Asian
12.7% are European
8% are from Latin America
5% of the Worlds population of the world are North Americans
“Asia is the only continent where Christianity is not the largest religion.”
“Asia is our greatest challenge for world missions.”
America is Packed Full of Churches
The US and Canada have 575,000 churches, or one church for every 537 people.
In Turkey there is approx. 1 BELIEVER for every 2.5 Million people in Turkey. About one church for every 5.5 million people. That’s like ONE church for New York, of about 150 people.
In some places the stats are worse, like India and Pakistan.
Least-Reached People groups by Blocs
Western (much of Europe) – 100 Million
Tribal/animalist – 242 Million
Buddhist – 376 Million
Chinese – 400 Million
Hindu – 841 Million
Muslim – 1.27 Billion
Foreign Missionaries Working in those Least reached Blocs
Western – 60,000
Tribal/animist – 11,200
Muslim – 7,000
Hindu – 5,000
Chinese – 2,000
Buddhist – 1,800
We are Good at Reaching the Churched Here in the West
(Not in the stats, but ask yourself how many people you know have attended church once, grew up in the church, have heard of Jesus Christ, have a Bible but not read it, or just heard of Christmas or Easter)
74% of our Foreign Ministers we send out, are sent to reach “nominal Christians” either in the America’s or Europe.
If Asia consists of 61% of the Worlds pop. how many are we sending to Asia?
1% to Jewish people
2% to Chinese (Asia)
3% to Buddhists (Asia)
4% non-religious Aetheists
6% to Muslims (Asia)
Where There is Darkness There Aren’t Enough Candles
Ratio of Foreign Ministers per Million in Geographical areas
<25 FM’s per Million in Middle East
<25 in Eurasia
<25 in Asia
85 FM’s per Million in Africa
100 in Europe
175 in Caribbean
415 in Latin America
500 in Pacific per Million
If the church is the body, are we more like a mis-proportioned body builder, who only works out his biceps, but forgets to work the rest of his body and so appears awkward. Are we like a shipbuilder who focuses all his attention on the mast and sail, but forgets to water-seal his hull, and so making him dangerously prone to sinking?
Don’t get me wrong, local ministry of the church is absolutely necessary! Just posing the question….perhaps we are a bit mis-proportioned?
What do you think?
** All stats and information found in “Through God’s Eyes: A Bible Study of God’s Motivation for Missions”, by Patrick O. Cate, William Carey Library, Pasedena, CA. Pp. 61-69