UPG Priority Matrix

We’ve been putting out these blogs and infographics for nearly a year now. So we thought now might be a good time to remind you of the incredible resource we’re using for most of this information: our UPG Priority Matrix. All the infographics you’ll see at globalgates.info/upg are created using data from it. This is designed to be a tool that helps you find the least reached people groups that are living right around you! Chances are you have a globally significant UPG (Unreached People Group) living within a couple hours of you.

If you’re a church leader, youth leader, someone who’s taken a Perspectives class, or simply interested in the Great Commission, we want this to be a tool you use and understand. So here’s a quick little explanation. If you don’t want to read all this, there’s an even quicker explanation on the infographic over here 👉🏻

Getting to Know the UPG Priority Matrix

To put it simply, the UPG Priority Matrix is a list. It’s a list that tells us what people groups in North America are most in need of cross cultural missionaries–people who are willing to cross cultural boundaries to share the gospel. 

Even in North America, we need people to be willing to work cross-culturally.  There are many people living close to churches in North America who are unlikely to hear the gospel in a way they’ll understand. Global Gates wants to see these people have an encounter with Jesus and hopefully share about their encounter with their friends and family here and abroad. 

So, back to the matrix. The UPG populations are listed in order of priority. How’s this determined? 

There are five weighted factors that determine the order of priority:

  • The global significance and size of the local population of a specific people group. Global significance means that the population is a uniquely substantial one outside of their country. So, 10,000 Tibetans in New York score high on global significance, but 10,000 Hindi speaking Indians in Columbus, OH do not.  The matrix also only includes populations more than 5,000.  This is because a large and globally significant concentration of people means the gospel can spread to more people faster within that people group once people start coming to faith in Christ. 
  • The Global Status of Evangelical Christianity among the people group.The more Christians exist in a people group, the higher the chance they’ll hear the gospel from someone within that culture. This means there is less need to send cross-cultural missionaries to that group. 
  • The Presence of Local Churches Among Their People. Even a small house church of Gujaratis with Hindu backgrounds meeting together increases the likelihood of other Gujaratis in that city hearing the gospel. Highest priority groups don’t even have a small group of Christians from their background in that city. 
  • Ministry Engagement by Local Christians. Let’s say that there’s a couple of churches in Houston who have made it their goal to reach out to their Bangladeshi neighbors. Wonderful! That means there’s less of a need to mobilize people, making that group less of a priority on the matrix. We praise God whenever a group moves down the list.
  • Same or close culture Christians in the city. If there’s a large population of Egyptian Christians in a city, that means Egyptian Muslims are more likely to hear the gospel because there’s a group of people who are familiar with their language and culture. The ideal would be for Egyptian Christians from a Muslim background to start a church that reaches Egyptian Muslims. Some groups, like Bosnian Muslims (a whopping 70,000 in St. Louis) have no relevant church for them to join.

The Goal of Our Research

Many people over several years have gathered and regathered information to create this matrix. And they are continuing to gather information! With new groups and cities and research, we learn and make adjustments. The end goal is for it to not exist at all! We’d love to see all of these people engaged by loving Christians from their own culture or cross-culturally. Maybe you live in St. Louis and want to reach out to those Bosniak Muslims? Maybe you’re in Houston or Chicago or Montreal and want to reach out to Muslims or Hindus? We’d love to hear from you and help you out!