By David Pam McQuel
This week, I made a post on Facebook stating that instead of praying that Jesus should come back now, let’s take the gospel to those who never heard it. And in response, a gentleman wrote these words expressing his personal opinion:
“He’ll be here soon. Because of satellite communications. We have reached all nations. All prophecies have been fulfilled. Now we wait and pray!”
He added, “I’ve seen a lot of Pastors who have talked about how they and many other people have been doing missionary work in the country’s you speak of. Many are installing wells, feeding and giving medicine to these villages. At the same time Gods word is being shared. Many will tell you that almost all the world has been reached. So not sure where you have been or who you get your information from, but just because you have been doing this for 22 years. Doesn’t mean you are totally informed. I’ve been a follower of our Lord for over 50 years. I’ve seen the work being done.”
He concluded by asking me “what have you done to help? David, to spread the gospel to all the people is impossible. Think about it. It is literally impossible to reach every single person on the planet. Just like a baby. They are given a pass for their innocence. So are the people who are deep in the jungles. You’ll never reach the people who are still so primitive, people who shut the outside world out…So all we can do is continue to love one another, help each other and spread his word. But to reach every single human being on earth is impossible. Only God can do it.”
I was perplexed.
I reflected a lot on these things and in search fell on these resources compiled by David B. Banner and Todd M. Johnson, of World Christian Trends AD30 – AD2200, published on
* There are 7.3 billion people in the world. (Joshua Project)
* 2.3 billion are Christian (748 million are Evangelical Christian). (Joshua Project; Barrett and Johnson 2001, 20)
* 1.7 billion are Muslim. (Joshua Project)
* 1.1 billion are Hindu. (Joshua Project)
* 979 million are Non-Religious. (Joshua Project)
* 488 million are Buddhist. (Joshua Project)
* 671 million are of Ethnic Religions including Chinese Religion. (Joshua Project)
* 103 million other/unknown. (Joshua Project)
* Of the 7.3 billion people in the world, 3 billion live among unreached people groups of the world and 1.6 billion are completely unevangelized. (Joshua Project; Barrett and Johnson 2001, 427)
* There are 6,510 languages in the world. (Joshua Project)
People groups are what Bible scholars believe are referred to in many mission oriented verses, such as Matthew 28:19, 24:14, and Revelations 7:9. According to one database, there are 16,562 people groups in the world. Of these people groups, 9,715 have been reached with the Gospel message. 6,847 people groups are still unreached with the Gospel. To be unreached means less than 2% Evangelical Christian, the sizable proportion thought to be needed to reach their own people. (Joshua Project)
* 86% of all unreached people groups lie within the region called the 10/40 window, which is between 10 and 40 degrees north and from the west coast of Africa to the east coast of Asia. (Joshua Project)
* In AD 100 there were 360 people for every believer. Now there are 7.3 people for every believer. (Winter et al., 1)
* In AD 100 there were 12 unreached people groups for every congregation of believers. Now there is 1 unreached people group for every 1000 congregations. (Winter et al., 3)
90% of foreign missionaries work among already reached people groups. 10% work among unreached people groups. (Winter and Koch, 543)
* Despite Christ’s command to evangelize, 67% of all humans from AD 30 to the present day have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ. (Baxter 2007, 12)
91% of all Christian outreach/evangelism does not target non-Christians, but targets other Christians. (Baxter 2007, 12)
* In the last 40 years, over 1 billion people have died who have never heard of Jesus, and around 30 million people this year will perish without hearing the message of salvation. (Baxter 2007, 12)
* 70,000+ people die everyday in the unreached world without Jesus. (Baxter 2007, 12)
Of foreign mission funding: 87% goes for work among those already Christian. 12% for work among already evangelized, but Non-Christian. 1% for work among the unevangelized and unreached people. (Baxter 2007, 12)
*Christians make up 33% of the world’s population, but receive 53% of the world’s annual income and spend 98% of it on themselves. (Barrett and Johnson 2001, 656)
North American and European Christians spend $12.5 trillion on themselves and their families each year. (Barrett and Johnson 2001, 656)
* Only .1% of all Christian giving is directed toward mission efforts in the 38 most unevangelized countries in the world. (Barrett and Johnson 2001, 656)
60% of unreached people groups live in countries closed to missionaries from North America. (The Traveling Team)
* 22 million internationals visit the US each year. Of these, some 630,000 are university students from 220 countries, 25% of which prohibit Christian missionaries. 80% of those students will return to their countries having never been invited to an American home. (The Traveling Team)
* 40% of the world’s 220 Heads of State once studied in the US. (The Traveling Team)
60% of international students come from the 10/40 window. (The Traveling Team)
90% of international students are unreached by ministries while in the United States. (The Traveling Team)
* American Christians spend 95% of offerings on home-based ministry, 4.5% on cross-cultural efforts in already reached people groups, and .5% to reach the unreached. (The Traveling Team)
* There are 430,000 missionaries from all branches of Christendom. Only between 2 and 3% of these missionaries work among unreached peoples. (The Traveling Team)
There are 140,000 recorded protestant missionaries serving in the world, with 64,000 from the US. (The Traveling Team)
* Of the 140,000 Protestant missionaries, 74% work among nominal Christians, 8% among tribal peoples, 6% Muslims, 4% Non-religious/atheists, 3% among Buddhists, 2% Hindus, 1% Jews. (The Traveling Team)
* Christians’ annual income is $12.3 trillion. $213 billion is given to Christian causes. $11.4 billion is given to foreign missions, 87% of which goes to work being done among the already Christian, 12% goes to work among the evangelized non-Christians, 1% among the unevangelized. (The Traveling Team)
* Over 160,000 believers will be martyred this year. (The Traveling Team)
* 5 Christian vocations have over a 3% murder rate: bishop, evangelist, catechist, colporteur, foreign missionary. (World Evangelization Research Center)
Christians spend more on the annual audits of their churches and agencies ($810 million) than on all their workers in the non-Christian world. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* The total cost of Christian outreach averages $330,000 for each and every newly baptized person. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* 54% of evangelical Christians are non-whites. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* The country with the fastest Christian expansion ever is China, now at 10,000 new converts every day. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* 818 unevangelized ethnolinguistic peoples have never been targeted by any Christian agency ever. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* 40% of the church’s entire global foreign mission resources are being deployed to just 10 oversaturated countries. (World Evangelization Research Center)
*Over 20 centuries, Christians have announced 1,500 global plans to evangelize the world. Most have failed. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* It costs Christians 700 times more money to baptize converts in rich Christian countries, such as Switzerland, than in poor unevangelized countries, such as Nepal. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* Annual church embezzlements by top custodians exceed the entire cost of all foreign missions worldwide. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* In 1900, there were only 1 million Pentecostals/Charismatics/Newcharismatics and now there are 602 million world-wide. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* Each year, 180 million Bibles and New Testaments are wasted (lost, destroyed, or disintegrated) due to incompetence, hostility, bad planning, or inadequate manufacture. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* Some 250 of the 300 largest international Christian organizations regularly mislead the Christian public by publishing demonstrably incorrect or falsified progress statistics. (World Evangelization Research Center)
* Out of 648 million evangelical Christians, 70% have never been told about the 1.6 billion unevangelized individuals in the world. (World Evangelization Research Center)
Of all missionaries employed by US mission agencies, about 2/3 are non-US citizen native missionaries working in their own country. Only 1/3 are American missionaries. (80,834 vs 44,384) (Weber and Welliver 2007, 13)
* US ministries send out over 144,000 short-term missionaries each year. (Weber and Welliver 2007, 13)
* US mission agencies have an annual budget of over $5.2 billion. (Weber and Welliver 2007, 13)
* About 2,000 tentmaker missionaries from US organizations are on the mission field. (Weber and Welliver 2007, 20)
* The average American Christian gives only 1 penny a day to global missions. (Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions, 142)
* Approximately 85% of all missionary finances are being used by Western missionaries who are working among the established churches on the field rather than being used for pioneer evangelism to the lost. (Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions, 143)
*Of the more than 70,000 North American missionaries, only 5,000 are working among the totally unreached people. (Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions, 154)
* There are around 285,000 indigenous (aka national, native, home) missionaries serving in the world. They make up 2/3 of the world’s missionary force. (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 23)
* 86 countries prohibit or restrict Western missionaries. (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 31)
* The average Western missionary spends only 3% of his time involved in direct evangelism. (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 35)
* Only 10 to 33 percent of Western missionaries are involved in evangelism and church planting. (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 35)
* In 1998, 450,000 short-term missionaries were sent out from North America. (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 38)
* Up to 1/2 of all new missionaries do not last beyond their first term on the mission field. (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 45)
* Only 1/4 of North American cross-cultural missionaries are involved in evangelism activities (such as preaching, translation, church planting, and teaching), while 3/4 are involved in administration and support work (such as agriculture, aviation, community development, literacy, medicine, and relief efforts). (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 63)
* Christian organizations spend $8 billion a year on conferences. (Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 126)
* There are over 3,000 indigenous mission boards in India that have a combined total of 100,000 missionaries. (Finley 2004, 47)
*Indigenous missionaries do 90% of pioneer mission work, but only receive 10% of mission funding. Meanwhile foreign missionaries do 10% of pioneer mission work, but receive 90% of mission funding. (Finley 2004, 178 & 244)
* One indigenous ministry surveyed the believers in the churches they planted and found that 80% had come to faith in Christ because they had seen a miraculous act of God or experienced an answer to prayer. (Chacko 2008, 138)
* That same indigenous ministry holds that their average missionary will plant 3 churches within the first 5 years on the field. (Chacko 2008, 138)
* The New Testament is translated into the languages of 94% of the world’s population. (Johnstone and Mandryk 2005, 7)
* The potential audience for Christian radio programming is 99% of the world’s population, assuming good reception, availability of a radio, and a desire to find the programs. (Johnstone and Mandryk 2005, 7)
* Two of the largest Gospel radio broadcasters, Far East Broadcasting Company and Gospel for Asia, both receive around 1,000,000 listener responses each year. (Far East Broadcasting Company, 15; Gospel for Asia)
* There have been 4.1 billion viewings of the Jesus Film, representing about 3 billion individuals. More than 99% of the world’s population could view the film in a language they know. (Johnstone and Mandryk 2005, 7)
* In 2009 alone, Global Media Outreach, the internet outreach branch of Campus Crusade for Christ, reported over 10 million internet users came to faith in Christ through their websites. They also received close to 4 million emails. (Global Media Outreach)
In one month alone, Trans World Radio saw over 500,000 downloads in China of their online broadcasts. (Libby, 2)
Barrett, David B., and Todd M. Johnson. 2001. World Christian Trends AD 30 – AD 2200: Interpreting the annual Christian Megacensus. Associate ed. Christopher R. Guidry and Peter F. Crossing. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library.
Baxter, Mark R. 2007. The Coming Revolution: Because Status Quo Missions Won’t Finish the Job. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing.
Chacko, Jossy. 2008. Madness. Croydon, Australia: Empart.
Far East Broadcasting Company. FEBC 2010-2011 Gift Catalog.
Finley, Bob. 2005. Reformation in Foreign Missions. USA: Xulon Press.
Global Media Outreach. About Us.
Gospel for Asia. Reach Millions with your Radio Ministry.
Johnstone, Patrick, and Jason Mandryk. 2005. Operation World. Tyrone, GA: Authentic Media.
Joshua Project.
Libby, Lauren. 2010. President’s Column. 2010 Annual Ministry Progress Report 31, no. 2,
The Traveling Team. State of the World.
Weber, Linda J., and Dotsey Welliver, ed. 2007. Mission Handbook 2007-2009: U.S. and Canadian Protestant Ministries Overseas. Wheaton, IL: Evangelism and Missions Information Service.
Winter, Ralph D., and Bruce A. Koch. 2009. Finishing the Task: The Unreached Peoples Challenge. In Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, 531-46. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library.
Winter, Ralph D., Phil Bogosian, Larry Boggan, Frank Markow, and Wendell Hyde. The Amazing Countdown Facts. Pasadena, CA: US Center for World Mission.
World Evangelization Research Center. An AD 2001 Reality Check.
Yohannan, K.P. 2004. Come Let’s Reach the World. Carrollton, TX: GFA Books.
Yohannan, K.P. 2004. Revolution in World Missions. Carrollton, TX: GFA Books.

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