If you are a follower of Jesus, the Great Commission is in your DNA. It’s the commission to follow in the ways of Jesus–to teach and baptize among all of the nations of the world (Matthew 28:18-20).
Many people and cultures have received the good news of the gospel. You are probably a part of one of them if you are reading this. There are places in North America with a church on nearly every block. There are the Baptists, the Methodists, and even the Pentecostals to suit each person’s preferences. Surely that means that anybody living in North America could easily have access to the gospel?
That’s not necessarily the case.
Living between those Baptist and Methodist churches are Unreached People Groups (UPG). A UPG is defined as an ethnic group that is less than 2% evangelical Christian. There are several technical ways to explain that definition, but we’ll try to be less technical here.
Imagine if you grew up speaking Arabic in your home. Your family members are all conservative and devout Muslims. They took you to Sunday school not to learn about Jesus and His death, but to learn how to read and pronounce the Arabic of the Qur’an. Your life has always been governed by social practices and rules that everyone you know adheres to. Maybe you’ve met a Christian. You assume most white, English-speaking Americans are Christians. You’ve never spent time with one, though. You’ve certainly never gone to church.
How likely are you to go to that Baptist church down the street? Would you consider going to an Arabic-speaking church filled with people of a different ethnic background than you? Would you feel free to consider betraying your family and your culture by reading the Bible and learning about Jesus?
That’s what it’s like to be a part of an unreached people group.
While there are concentrations of them around the world, there are also significant populations of unreached people groups all over North America. They shop at your grocery store and their kids are in school with your kids. They will likely never hear the gospel, though, unless someone like you is willing to cross cultural barriers and share with them in a relevant way.
Are you willing to cross those barriers in obedience to the Great Commission?
Learn more about where these unreached people groups are and how to reach them at globalgates.info/upg. Keep following this series of blogs to dig deeper into the research.