You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.Revelation 5:9, 10 NRS
Jesus is worthy of our prayers on behalf of the people groups who are yet to know the price he has already paid for their redemption – paid once for all sins, once for all peoples, and once for all of time.
The people groups mentioned in the Book of Revelation Chapter 5 (distinguished by tribe, language, people group and nation) number today about 9,800, across country boundaries. Perhaps you are familiar with the names of people groups such as the Quichua, the Lisu, the Mohawk, the Afrikaner and the Cantonese.
Praise God that since the Day of Pentecost, when the Apostle Peter addressed the crowd that had assembled from so many different places and languages (Acts 2:1-42), the Good News of redemption has been sown and taken root, and Christ’s church has been established among about 60% of all the people groups around the globe. Indigenous and growing churches exist among them, able to evangelize their own people groups. The Lausanne Committee explains: “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” (Chicago Meeting, 1982). People groups such as the Aymara of Bolivia, the Maasai of Kenya, and the Karen S’gaw of Thailand now have at least 2% Evangelical Christians and 5% or more professing Christians.
“Reached” in terms of sowing, discipling, leadership training and mobilizing may not necessarily indicate a church on every corner, or even in every city or town of a people group. One might consider it more as a term to help us gain perspective, to raise our vision for the entire world of ethnolinguistic people groups for whom there is still minimal or non-existent gospel “reachedness.”
“But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.”John 4:35
While the Good News can be shared in any language and within any culture, and spreads and proceeds to establish the Body of Christ among any people group around the globe, there remain about 4,000 people groups yet-to-be-reached. Jesus is worthy of our prayers for this remaining 40% of all people groups. An unreached people group may be defined as “a people group within which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize this people group.”
We can give praise to the Lord that many of these 4,000 groups have at least some Christians among them, Scriptures in their language, and organizations/churches strategically reaching out to them through workers and praying people – people like you. In fact, due to the large size of a few “unreached” people groups, there are literally tens of thousands of believers among them already. May the church soon become established and spread throughout all 4,000 remaining groups!
Still, there remains a level of “unreached-ness” that challenges us to extraordinary prayer and effort as guided by the Holy Spirit. Estimates are that hundreds of people groups still have no known believers at all, and about 110 of those groups are completely unengaged, having no outreach by any organization, no Scripture translation in process, no gospel media, and no group intentionally and regularly praying on their behalf.
It has been said, “It is a great injustice to think that 2000 years after Jesus gave the Great Commission, many people groups have no witness in their midst.” Groups with no Christians, Scriptures or workers include the 41,000 Tunni of Somalia, 60,000 Northern Mashan Miao of China, and the 12,000 Tai Pao of Laos and Vietnam – to name just a few. Will you pray for them?
- Ask God to lead his people to prioritize the yet-to-be-reached people groups who have little or no witness among them.
- Pray for God to prepare the minds and hearts of many within each group to understand and receive the Good News when they hear it.
- Ask the Lord to call and send out workers for his harvest among the frontiers of unreached people groups.
- Pray for the Lord to pour out his power for the establishment of healthy, growing local expressions of the Body of Christ among every people group.
Except as noted, statistics and quotations from joshuaproject.net/resources/