12) Are the Unreached "Waiting to Hear?

According to your experience, are unreached peoples “waiting to hear?” This topic came up in a comment on this video…




A Brigada participant commented, “Statistics are good. However, the phrase ‘Waiting to hear’ is repeated several times and this is misleading. Sadly many workers return home in the first couple of years of service, and I have heard them say, ‘I thought people were waiting to hear but they are not.’ It would be good to couple this video with another one on resistant people and do some statistics there. India and Muslim majority countries have a lot of very resistant people groups in them. We need to go, but the challenge and risks are greater.” What’s your take on “truth in advertising” in recruitment videos and testimonies? Do we “sell” the need to such an extent that the “go-ers” begin to imagine that all the unreached are super-receptive, “if only they heard?” Click comment and share your own take on this please. Also, when you respond, please share what, for you, is a more fair way of sharing needs and statistics?

6 Responses to 12) Are the Unreached "Waiting to Hear?
  1. Dan DeGroat Reply

    We must not confuse “waiting” with “wanting”. There is a difference, and it is significant. I’m afraid the two terms are used interchangeably. Actually, unreached people are “needing” to hear, but don’t know it. And with no messenger, they are indeed “waiting” but not with anticipation as in “waiting for Christmas”. Believers have a mandate to TELL, the Holy Spirit regenerates their hearts, they receive salvation by grace through faith and become children if God. Dear missionary, learn to replace Expectation with Anticipation and God will use you mightily.

  2. Stan Reply

    We cannot describe the unreached as a one monolithic Bloc. Many of the unreached are not interested and resistant. However, some are open and some are even searching and waiting. In 25 years of partnering with many serving among the unreached, many harvest workers can tell of people who had searched for God and were waiting/hoping for someone to come tell them the truth. Others had dreams of Jesus but needed someone to tell them the meaning. One of the main missionary tasks is to search for those God has prepared (Luke 10).

  3. Andrew DIPROSE Reply

    Unfortunately the unreached are not waiting to hear. That is my experience with South Asians in Italy. I cannot elaborate on the details but after 20 years here and after talking about it with other cross cultural workers I can assure you some of the unreached are very resistant.

  4. Justin Long Reply

    While not denying the possibility that some people groups may be resistant, research related to the World Christian Encyclopedia as well as other studies in the field have consistently shown that the problem is far more lack of exposure than lack of response. While obviously in many peoples you never
    (?) see 100% of the group come to faith “overnight”, many groups have significant response (saudis and Iranians come to mind). I don’t think all Unreached peoples are actively waiting (like we might wait for Christmas morning and presents) but more in the category of “haven’t heard” than “actively resisting.”

  5. Westerner living Overseas Reply

    Another Perspective from my 20 years’ in South Asia among Muslims:

    I don’t agree with the premise of the question being presented – about how we may be falsely advertising the harvest to the church.:-) (Ok, so I feel deeply about this. I’m not attacking the editor or others in my comments, simply writing from my heart. Thanks for reading my thoughts).

    Jesus set us up (set our expectations) to be that if we share the Gospel and give an invitation to respond, as he did, to repent and believe, there would be those who would believe (narrow road & few who find it – Matt 7:13-14). Jesus gave the invitation widely, even to hostile audiences, yet he gave the command to go and make disciples. Meaning – we are his witnesses and as a result of being His witnesses – people will believe. There are sheep in other folds, outside Israel, that Jesus would call and His sheep will follow him. John 10:16. If anything, the ‘selling” of the lost who are waiting to hear is simply a re-articulation of all that. Acts and Epistles are a demonstration of that. Thus we are ‘set up’ to believe there will be a harvest. We have no choice but to think that even as we toil among the seemingly resistant.

    We have no choice but to ‘sell it’ as Jesus taught his disciples to, as the Apostles did, with an expectation of fruit,. We need to remember that we don’t bring forth the fruit, He does. So, at the end of the day, we are, like John the Baptist, simply a voice calling people to repent and believe, multiplying the voice of the Gospel by training his church to be the mouthpiece of the Gospel in their geographic area. The Fruit is God’s. Our task is faithful obedience, evangelism with a readiness to followup in making disciples, forming churches and raising up new leaders from the new believers. Faithful obedience to the Core Missionary Task. I and our team are doing just that, trusting the Harvest to God. #GreatExpectations

    If we, as missionaries and church members become discouraged and go home, I think that reveals we have forgotten our task. We forgot what Jesus’ experience was in his being rejected. My reading of the Gospels this Lent period has brought to my eyes again the masses who rejected him.This is quite easy to do in our age of data and measuring responses and databases of UUPGs, etc.. Daily I need to keep Jesus as the focus. And when I do, I get back doing what He called me to do in obedience, whether I see the fruit or not. There is a harvest out there. He promises it. He sets us up to believe there will be. We have no right to think or act otherwise. :-)

    Over the last 20 years I’ve battled doubt, I keep retooling myself in methods and strategy, continually attempting to be more effective at the missionary task. And when I pray, I’ve found myself begging God (lamenting) for the Lost to be saved, for Jesus to draw his sheep to himself from among this generation of Muslims. #KeepOn! ;-)

  6. R.W. Lewis Reply

    I spent 5 years in a Muslim country before seeing the Holy Spirit transform the life of a poor M. woman. She did not know that Jesus was who she was waiting for until she came to know him, and has been a radiant believer for the last 30 years through many problems. When I read John 4, I see Jesus carefully helping the Samaritan woman see that he is indeed the one she had been waiting for, not so she could become a Jew, but so she can “worship God in Spirit and in Truth.” The Jewish disciples could not see the ripe harvest field of the Samaritans, because to them the only way into the kingdom was to become Jews. In my experience, few people are waiting to become Christians, but most people are waiting to really find God, even in so-called “resistant” groups. It is heartbreaking to see them weep, “why didn’t anyone tell me before that Jesus can save me too.” Or, as the Samaritan villagers said “now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the savior of the world!”

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