8 DECEMBER ’21 | PRAY FOR OUR WORLD
Dear prayer partners,
As 2021 draws rapidly to a close, it is a good time to take stock and contemplate God’s Kingdom within the context of the many geopolitical manoeuvres and headline grabbing events of the year. Shifts in leadership and power, as well as economic challenges, disasters and crises of many kinds, all have an impact on the Church’s labours in the world, and the fulfilment of God’s Great Commission to disciple the nations.
According to Joshua Project, there are about 17,400 people groups in the world of which 10,000 (57.5%) are considered ‘reached’. Those considered reached are divided into four categories: minimally reached (6.6%), superficially reached (10.4%), partially reached (21.7%), and significantly reached (18.8%). This leaves 7,400 (42.5%) people groups ‘unreached’ with the gospel of Christ. According to Ethnologue, there are currently 7,106 languages in the world. As of 2020, the full Bible has been translated into 704 languages. The New Testament has been translated into 1,551 languages and parts of the Bible have been translated into 1,160 additional languages.
Mission Frontiers posted an article (in 2016) entitled ‘40 Years of Unreached Peoples Effort’*. This article outlined the progress made, as well as the regression, in terms of global missions. Three main points of progress were highlighted. The first was that over the past 40 years, great strides were made in clarifying the remaining task of the Great Commission. Key to this was the identification of people groups across the world and their associated statistics. The second was that hundreds of once-unreached people groups had been reached with the Good News of Jesus, which had brought about transformed hearts and indigenous ongoing church presence. The third was that mobilisation efforts had been fruitful in making a lasting impact. Nations within Africa, Asia, and Latin America had become sending nations while simultaneously remaining mission fields themselves. Points of regression included a massive slowdown in the pace of evangelisation since 2000; specialised ministries detracting from the main purpose of reaching the ‘unreached’ instead of working together; the legitimacy of the people group concept was challenged due to it not being able to be applied in an urban setting; and a misunderstanding of the term ‘unreached’.
Matthew 9:37 (NIV) states that “the harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few” – while this rings true, we can rejoice and praise God for His kingdom advancing, despite challenges and setbacks. The Bible is clear that every people group will be represented in Heaven and that the goal of reaching the nations will be met. Revelation 7:9 (NIV) says: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Amid the ongoing crises that face our world today, followers of Christ carry His indestructible message of hope and play a role in inviting others to be a part of this future great gathering. There is no better season to bear witness of the source of our hope than in this Christmas period. We exist to know God and to make Him known!
Please join with us as we pray for our World.
“God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations.” (John Piper)
*Mission Frontiers: 40 Years of Unreached Peoples Effort: