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The School Of Frontier Missions in Bali can prepare you for pioneering long-term projects among UPG’s of Indonesia and South East Asia. Located on a tolerant Hindu Island among a sea of Islamic peoples, it’s an ideal learning and sending enviroment. Training starts January 17th and wraps up April 12th. For more info, contact Merv
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We’ve highlighted their ministry before, but it’s worth repeating. As they put it, ” People are looking online to find answers about God.” Of course, one of the things they’re famous for is their landing page, which highlights “right now, a person from _____” is indicating a decision for Christ. They give such great feedback. Check them out.
I’m fascinated by Dan Scribner’s article about using Facebook ads to address (directly) unreached peoples. See his article, which was adapted from
with permission, by browsing here…
It’s a fascinating concept and one which deserves a lot more study. Have you seen anything written up on this before (exactly this approach)? If so, can you point us to any resources? If so, please use the comment box that follows the web version of this item at the link below. Thanks in advance for any help, and Dan, thanks for your vision!
This past week, we began digging deeper about how to map unreached peoples, or unreached cities, or — whatever needed mapping. If you or your org have resources, tools, advice, or instructional resources — or if you would be willing to consult on this kind of opportunity, please jot a comment after the web version of this item during the coming week. We’ll try to share some of these mapping possibilities next week!
This past week, as I was monitoring a set of conversations about unreached people groups, the thought occurred to me to give God praise for the fact that his eternal plan of redemption keeps on pushing forward regardless of any earthly campaign or individual. I listened as one of the foremost researchers of our day reported that every day, he “hears about an average of 20 to 30 new engagements among previously unengaged and unreached people groups.” Like many of us, he is working behind the scenes to connect these new troops to existing outreaches, where they exist. If you thought we were working in a time when fewer and fewer missionaries were departing, perhaps that rumor has been oversold. Another friend pondered, “I just feel that the cause of these unengaged is kind of more our responsibility than His in a sense, you know? Until we get there. . . He can’t do what only He can do. It’s almost like He can’t engage them, and we can’t reach them. We can engage them, and He can reach them. … We CAN finish this minimum apostolic prerequisite of being incarnate among, and until we do that, a people is both unreached and unreachable.” These saints and dear friends aren’t in it for the notoriety or the fame. They serve our living God and those who have never heard of Him. They deserve our prayers and our highest levels of energy to forge on in completing the task that Jesus gave us so long ago. May God strengthen them, and all who come behind them.
It’s a perfect map-match: Just navigate to…
Choose the criteria needed for your own project. In my case, I wanted to find totally unreached people groups with populations of 100,000 or more. The People Selector responded almost instantly with 1,587 groups, plotted on a world map. This is a great tool and one for which we’ve dreamed since we began this ministry back in 1995. Great stuff.
This weekend, I’ve been speaking and leading workshops at a local church in the Great Pacific Northwest. As I wrap up the weekend, I’m left with the question — Why does this one local church seem to “get it,” without even much help? Their elders understand unreached peoples and cities and have arranged the budget in such a way that they are giving them priority. Their minister just finished a four-Sunday sermon series on the church’s responsibility for the lost. They’ve set up a special fund to adopt an unreached people group and they plan to send a survey group, in conjunction with a prayer journey initiative, in the next 90 days. There are at least 5 people who will probably step forward to volunteer to be sent full-time, even though the church hasn’t yet fully decided on which people group or city they’ll go reach. Ever since they’ve started pursuing this course, they’ve run ahead of budget — so much so that they’re now $15K ahead, which was enough to cover the cost of hosting the Wall of Unreached Peoples
as well as a special focus weekend on unreached peoples and cities. (They flew me all the way in from Louisville to speak there — in 7 sessions over the weekend, with various groups, including the elders and staff, select missions families, and 3 sessions with the entire congregation.) My guess is, Lord willing, they’ll have “boots on the ground” in a new unreached people group or city within 18 months from now.
All of which prompts me to ask — why? Why does this one church get it so well, while so many others lag behind, losing their chance to flourish and make a deep impact, both at home and abroad? Whatever they’re doing right, it makes me want to bottle it up and release it worldwide. Because if we only had more of this spirit, within one generation, the entire globe would have been exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
So what’s your theory? Why do some churches ‘get it’ and others don’t? If you have an insight, please click “Comment” below the online version of this item. (And by the way, before you ask, I should probably guard the identity of the church I’m describing lest they receive 1000 requests for support from thousands of Brigada readers who are raising support. Let’s give them a chance to get out of the gate first. :-) )
A great and faithful friend of mine recently shared with me that, upon learning about unreached people groups (UPG’s), he committed to pray for one. He confessed, however, that he hadn’t been able to learn a lot about his group yet. I offered to help and immediately went to work tracking down stats. I soon learned that the group was a small one consisting of only about 30 members in all. In spite of my best efforts, I was unable to learn much about this tiny UPG — so I finally wrote the guys at JoshuaProject.net. They were very responsive, though they admitted that they didn’t have a lot of additional data beyond what was on the page. Their answer kind of surprised me. “Why don’t you suggest to your friends that they choose another group.”
According to JoshuaProject.net, some 3500 of their 7165 UPG’s are fewer than 10,000 in population, meaning that there is ALMOST a 1 out of 2 chance that the group will be small. Bill Morrison, a professional researcher for JoshuaProject.net, is sobered by the challenge of smaller tribes, castes, and kindreds, but he insisted that the data were not fictitious. “I’m always skeptical of groups this tiny,” He wrote to us this past week, “as to whether they could even be found these days.”
Though sobered by these stats, still I remain a fan of JoshuaProject’s decision to let the data be the data. After all, any serious researcher should, in my opinion, always be reluctant to discard data points. Let the data speak, I say. What’s more, Jesus himself had something to say about small groups. In Matthew 18:12-14, he asked, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wonders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wondered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wonder off. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Sparse UPG’s take note: Jesus loves you too.
At the end of the day, however, the whole discussion might not matter that much. You see, although another 1400 or so groups are said to have fewer than 50,000 members, over 2000 unreached people groups have populations of 750,000 or more. These groups are hard to miss. So what I now tell the skeptics is this: Blow them off, if you dare. You still have plenty of work to do with the remaining challenges in our world today. After all, a list of 2226 mongo groups is every bit as sobering to me as a list of 7,165 groups of all sizes. Either way, we still need a planet-wide mobilization of hundreds, if not thousands of new missionaries from a wide array of cultures and occupations. Either way, we’d better pray to the Lord of the Harvest like never before, asking the Lord of the harvest to raise up a new force of goers, senders, and pray-ers. That’s what we need today. Let’s make it happen.
The good friends at JoshuaProject.net are in the process of surveying as many of their website users as possible to determine what they might do differently to better serve the missions and the greater unreached peoples community. They are gathering feedback through a 3 minute survey at
They’d greatly appreciate your participation there. Thanks in advance.
Every once and awhile, it’s probably a good idea to refresh your mind on all those definitions at Joshua Project.net…
I’ve found that audiences benefit from clarifying, for example, the difference between unreached and unengaged, as well as parameters constituting threshold measurements (such as 2% evangelical and 5% adherents). In fact, many audiences benefit from being reminded as to what constitutes an “evangelical.” Rumors that “everybody knows all this stuff,” are greatly overstated. Many are still newbies — and they don’t mind telling you so.
Check out their page about the Wall of Unreached Peoples…
This giant Wall resembles the Vietnam Memorial on the mall in Washington, DC, but instead of remembering the fallen, it reminds us of those outside the reach of the gospel. So for a love offering of $150 (and the cost of shipping the exhibit on to the next location), you can stage a $6000 traveling exhibit at your church, college, or event. Check it out today.
Last week, I shared some great progress being made by those focusing on unreached peoples. It’s encouraging news. In fact, it’s so encouraging that the Director of Research for one of the largest missionary-sending agencies in the world (the Southern Baptist International Mission Board or IMB) concluded in his summary statement that he’s “seen more progress in fulfilling the Great Commission in the past 5 years than throughout his entire 30-year career as a researcher and missionary.”
I trust this is as exciting for you to hear as it was for me. The bottom line on his numbers: His research is showing 3142 remaining unengaged, unreached people groups (UUPG’s) of all sizes. (This number differs from Finishing the Task’s (FTT) current number because FTT is currently looking only at groups greater than 25,000 in population.) The IMB, for their part, is asking their regional leaders (referred to as Affinity Group Leaders) to submit a plan or explanation of literally each of the UUPG’s in their region. This plan could propose any number ways to handle each individual group, but it must address each group intentionally. Some groups might be dismissed (either because, in the opinion of the regional leader, they don’t exist or they’ve now been engaged or they’re no longer “unreached” — meaning that enough have been evangelized). But for the groups that remain, the Affinity Group Leader must either write a plan for the IMB to embrace and launch a plan to evangelize the group — or they must hook up with another Great Commission agency (another mission agency or church) to do so.
I like this approach for several reasons. First, it’s intentional. Second it’s strategic. Third, by doing so, the IMB is indicating all the more its profound commitment to interact and integrate with other “Great Commission Christians.” This posture seemed to become even more profound following Avery Willis’ now-famous address at the Global Consultation on World Evangelism in 1995. By the grace of God, it happened that I chose to attend Avery’s session. Without knowing what I was about to hear, I wandered in, seated myself, and began to listen to this great man of God as he was, at first, repenting for his previous sin of excluding others from data-sharing and assuming that Southern Baptists had to “go it alone” in completing the Great Commission. That one talk seemed to do more to bring evangelical unity (at least as it relates to the Southern Baptists) than any other talk in the last century.
So this Christmas, I’m praising God not only for unity, but also for the progress that it is observing. I’m thankful to be on the side of the guys who are definitely destined to win the battle for right and not-so-right. Because, you see, I’ve read the last chapter of the book, and the guys covered with the blood of Jesus win all the battles — because Jesus wins all the battles for them. God be praised or unity and progress!
You know… it practically doesn’t matter which phone you have these days. Regardless, there’s probably an “app for that.” If you want to see the JoshuaProject.net data on your phone, get the JP Mobile app. If you’d like to see the Unreached People Group of the day, get the JP Unreached app. And if you’re into languages, get the JP Languages app (which lets you see lots of cool language resources that relate to various unreached peoples). They’re all free, but they’ve all come at a great cost: lots of loving hours of dreaming and programming time. Learn more by going to the app marketplace for your phone and searching for Joshua Project.
We hadn’t. I wrote him back to make sure I knew what I was looking at. He described it this way: “They applied their JP progress scale to languages by calculating the progress of each language group based on the people groups that spoke that language. They combined everything else they know about languages on one sheet so you can find unreached language communities now as well as unreached peoples. You can find unreached language groups that also have no Scripture, no Jesus Film and are Muslims. And a lot of other things like that, including language groups over a certain population with some other combination of criteria.” So hats off to JoshuaProject.net for the further development… and to Greg for pointing the Brigada family to it!