Missionaries. We love acronyms and important sounding titles for our projects.

All the infographics you’ll see at globalgates.info/upg are created using data from our UPG Priority matrix. So, we should probably explain what exactly that is and why it matters.

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 cross cultural missionaries. That is, 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.  As discussed last week, there are many people living close to churches in North America who are still unlikely to hear the gospel in a way they’ll understand.

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. 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. The groups near the top of our list don’t even have such a church.
  • 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. 
  • 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 church made up of their people, nor a church culturally close to them, to help them hear the gospel in a way they understand. 

Many people over several years have gathered and regathered information to create this matrix. 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 Bosnian Muslims? Maybe you’re in Houston or Chicago or Montreal and want to reach out to any of the huge populations of unreached people groups? We’d love to hear from you and help you out!

Just so you have it, here’s a visual representation of the 583 words you just read. You can find more visuals like this at globalgates.info/upg