On 1 July, 2007, just after midnight, 1,850,401,827 people will be unevangelized. Beyond the number, consider that these are not people who have some vague perception of Jesus from Sunday School days, nor people with a token Bible on the shelf, nor people who can flick over worship services on television, nor people who work with Christians and avoid them. These are souls completely removed from any form of Christian witness. This is mission frontier. The figure of 1.4 billion unevangelized in 2005 is the lowest, the most conservative, of the three estimates given here which range all the way up to the IMB’s 3.6 billion ‘unevangelical’. The point being that in everyone’s terms the priority task is far larger than the 22 people groups on this “core of- the-core” list. All agree that there are millions of other souls, just as least-reached, who need our prayerful attention and action. These 22 are not the whole of the core, but they are a good place to start. Each of the three internally-consistent lists will benefit from the highly technical process of comparing between the lists (please God, send the right people to do this), and in turn this will benefit the users of each list. As new prayer and ministry flow to some of the least-evangelized people groups, other groups will rise up the priority lists for particular ministries. Populations and indicators are constantly changing, but beyond the indicators, God our Savior wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. In this we are united.
Peter Crossing is Data Analyst for the World Christian Database.
January-February 2007 Mission Frontiers