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Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missionaries Worldwide, part 2: Mission Statistics

Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Last week I reviewed a little bit about what I learned about immigration reform in America since 1790.  I received a few questions as to my post last week. The first had to do with sources. I used quite a bit, but the majority of my sources came from both www.uscis.gov (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and Pew Research, a nonpartisan fact tank.

Also, I want to suggest to people to take my post last week as a beginning to the conversation. There is no lack of controversy when you begin discussing immigration reform. Some people will agree completely with what I say about it and others won’t. But rather than turning my blog into a potential “fake news” site, I would rather you use it to begin the conversation and to spark a desire to research about the issues yourself rather than taking what people say without doing the research.

That said, I want to take this week and discuss the world as seen by a missionary sending organization.  I am going to be talking about several different Christian-specific principles, so if you have questions about it, again, please do the research and don’t just potentially quote me out of context.

I am pulling this information from several different missions organizations and societies. When dealing with such large numbers in the billions, do not get bogged down in arguing a few thousand people one way or the other. the majority of my world statistic numbers will be coming from 2014 government data.

To start, there are almost 7.2 billion people on the earth today with a median age of just under 30 and a life expectancy of about 68 years. The countries which have the highest population are (in order):

  • China – 1.3 billion
  • India – 1.2 billion
  • USA – 318 million
  • Indonesia – 253 million
  • Brazil – 202 million
  • Pakistan – 196 million
  • Nigeria – 177 million
  • Bangladesh – 166 million
  • Russia – 142 million
  • Japan – 127 million

Out of all of the people in the world, they are broken into 16,761 distinct people groups. A people group is defined as an ethnolinguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the members. The organization, The Joshua Project, analyzes all of these people groups and determines how “reached” they are by Christianity.

The first group is the unreached peoples. Those are communities that have less than 2% as evangelical Christian. Of the 16,761 people groups throughout the world, 7,050 of those are unreached! That accounts for over 2.9 BILLION people, or 42% of the world’s population.

The next group is the unevangelized. These are groups that have higher than 2% evangelical Christan but still have very high numbers of unsaved. There are 2,854 unevangelized people groups in the world. That accounts for almost 17%, or 900 million people.

Before I go any further, I need to define what evangelical Christian means. In America, the term “evangelical” holds a very negative connotation as that group of Christians have associated themselves deeply with a singular political party. For terms of this post, an evangelical Christian is a person who believes Jesus is the sole path to salvation, has a personal faith in Him, recognizes the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and is committed to Biblical preaching and evangelism as the way to bring others to faith in Christ.

That brings us to the 10/40 window. Most of the unreached people groups in the world are inside the 10/40 window. It stands for the degrees of latitude, between 10 degrees north to 40 degrees north of the equator. 60% of the unreached groups live in the 10/40 window and over half of the world’s population as a whole are in that window as well.

Of those unreached people groups, the majority of them are Muslim, followed by the majority religions inside China, and then Hindi. Islam has 3,431 of the world’s people groups and 2,854 are unreached. China, one of the fastest growing Christian churches in the world, has 519 of the world’s people groups and 428 are still unreached.

As for the Christians in the world, over 95% of all Christians work within the Christian world. The total number of Christians worldwide is about 2.2 billion with 550 million evangelical. It is pretty amazing to know that evangelical Christians have grown from 3 million in AD 1500 to 550 million today. There are 900 churches for every unreached group and 78,000 Christians for every unreached group.

It is estimated that there are 6,909 languages worldwide. The largest is Mandarin Chinese at 12.44%. This is followed by Spanish at 4.85% and English at 4.83%. Over 4,400 languages in the world do not have a readable version of Scripture available to them. Right now there are over 1,600 languages that have been started for Bible translation, which leaves the rest still needing someone to begin the project.

Reaching the world can be as easy as reaching those international students who have come to America. Right now, there are an estimated 886,052 international students in the United States. 62% of them are from the 10/40 window. 80% of those students will return to their countries never being invited to the home of an American citizen. That is a huge opportunity for Christians here in America!

Over 40% of the world’s 220 Heads of State once studied in America. Only 10% of all international students, which includes those Heads of State, were invited to a ministry by a Christian.

The top countries that have students over here in America are China, India, South Korea, Canada, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey. Many of those countries have high amounts of unreached people groups.

Now let’s shift gears a little. Let’s look at the money. The total annual income of all church members worldwide is $42 trillion, with $7 trillion coming from evangelical Christians. The interesting thing is that Christians worldwide give about $700 billion to Christian causes.

But get this….

That $700 billion includes purchasing presents for Christmas!

If we factor out Christmas spending, only a mere $45 billion is given to missions. That is 6.4%.That is equal to the amount America spends on dieting programs and, until recently, less than Americans spend on Halloween costumes.

The majority of the money given goes to tithing and pastoral ministries. Only about $450 million went to reaching the unreached people groups. Sadly, this means that for every $100,000 that Christians make, only $1 goes toward reaching the unreached people groups around the world.

Some thoughts about this, but if Christians used only .003% of their income to plant churches in each of the areas that have unreached people groups, then we would reach all groups around the world.  And if every Christian gave 10% of their income to missions, we could easily support 2 MILLION new missionaries!

So how many missionaries are actually out there?

There are only 400,000 Christian missionaries in the world today. Only 13,300 are in areas with unreached people groups. Over 75% of those missionaries are in areas that are already reached. Some more interesting statistics about this:

  • 1 missionary for every 60,000 tribal/animist people
  • 1 missionary for every 179,000 Hindu people
  • 1 missionary for every 405,000 Muslim
  • 1 missionary for every 260,000 Buddhists

This means that you are more likely to be in a plane crash than being one of the few missionaries that go to unreached areas.

Moving into next week, I want to begin looking at missionaries over the ages. Since there is little to no research done on the effect of immigration reform on missionaries worldwide, I will need to make some assumptions until professional research can be done.

So next week, we will start at 1790 and begin working toward the present day.

Psalm 96:3 – Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

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