Jesus declared, When the good news about the kingdom has been preached all over the world and told to all nations, the end will come. -Matthew 24:14 (CEV)
This doesn't mean everyone will believe, but until the good news has been heard all over the world and told to every nation, Jesus will not return. It would seem these words should motivate us to "get with it" but for some reason, we are terribly distracted by many other things going on around us.
As 2012 comes to an end, the global status of evangelical Christianity* finishes the year with a long way to go. Consider the following numbers:
11,342 - Number of people groups in all countries. A people group is the largest group through which the gospel can flow without encountering significant barriers of understanding and acceptance.
6,422 - Number of people groups where Evangelical Christians comprise less than 2% of the total population. These UPG stas do not include USA & Canada.
571 - Number of unreached people groups in the United States and Canada. [Note: engagement and statuses for many people groups in USA and Canada are still unknown. This number will change as more information becomes available.]
3,133 - Number of unreached people groups not engaged by anyone. A people group is engaged when a church planting strategy, consistent with Evangelical faith and practice is underway. In this respect, a people group is not engaged when it has been merely adopted, is the object of focused praer, or is part of an advocacy strategy.
393 - Number of unreached people groups with populations at or above 100,000.
Another way of looking at these mind-boggling figures is through population numbers:
6,944,287,685 - Number of people in the above 11,342 people groups.
4,192,663,816 - Number of people in the above 6,422 people groups where Evangelical Christians comprise less than 2% of the total population.
240,245,046 - Population of the 3,133 unreached people groups not engaged by anyone.
96,381,569 - Population of unreached people grooups that are not engaged by anyone, anywhere around the world.
Every one of the 6,944,287,685 persons is loved by God. Let's not confuse numbers with real people. Each is a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter of someone. Every single person is someone for whom Christ died.
So what does all of this mean? For me there are at least three ways to respond:
1) Indifference--not my problem, I'm not going to do anything about it, I already have a full plate of other concerns.
2) Involve myself--as we begin a new year, I am going to intentionally engage in trying to do my part in making sure the Gospel gets to the nations--I am going to inform myself, pray with understanding, give purposefully, and maybe even go myself.
3) Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to me about what He would have me do, and then do it.
*Above information courtesy of Global Research Department of the International Mission Board.