Unreached peoples are: “Basically it is a people group with very few to no real Christians in its midst. Perhaps less than 2 out of every one hundred people. From the article “Has Everyone Heard?” at Joshua Project: “An unreached people group is “a people group within which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize this people group.””
It doesn’t mean there are no Christians, just not enough to keep the gospel moving forward through the group. The Church there is not strong enough.
2% seems a threshold number; but certainly we should want to see 100% of every group know Jesus! So even “reached” people groups need to hear the gospel and for the Church to be healthy and reaching out.”
This is #3 from my page on “definitions and data“.
You can explore more about unreached peoples from all over the world at www.joshuaproject.net.
In our world there are over 16000 people groups, and of these about 6700 are considered unreached with the gospel of Jesus. The total people in these unreached groups is over 3.1 billion people. About 75% of the unreached people groups are in Asia. But because of the way people can now move about in our world, even the United States has about 80 unreached people groups (most of those are transplanted from other places). There is much work to be done and much prayer to be offered to Jesus (Luke 10:2).
So let’s look at a real life example of “unreached peoples”: the Turkic peoples.
Among unreached peoples, one of the major blocs of peoples are the Turkic peoples of central Asia. Let’s learn about them so we can show compassion.
So how lost are they? How desperate is their situation? Why should we have compassion on them?
So the Turkic peoples are an unreached bloc of people groups with almost no access to the good news of Jesus. They are lost and in need of the gospel of Jesus. They are mostly Muslims. They need the compassion of the body of Christ. They need the gospel or face an eternity without God, without hope.
Only the Persian-Median bloc of peoples are more unreached than the Turkic peoples. Both are deeply lost in Islam and in need of compassionate people in the body of Christ to take the gospel to them.
Here is another map showing where these central Asian countries are. The Turkish peoples within the Turkic peoples bloc mostly live in Turkey, outside of central Asia.
- Web page at Joshua Project on the Turkic peoples affinity group
- Web page at International Mission Board on Central Asian Peoples
Will you join us to help reach them with
the good news of Jesus?
Will you help be a part of reaching unreached peoples wherever they are?
More information on the Turkic peoples affinity bloc:
In central Asia there is an “affinity bloc” of peoples called the Turkic peoples.
An affinity bloc is defined at Joshua Project like this: “All people groups, who either live in a particular region or have similar cultural roots. Peoples are broadly grouped into 16 blocs with affinities based on language, culture, religion, politics. In nearly every Bloc there are widely dissimilar and unrelated linguistic minorities, but often there is one particular culture that is dominant.”
Within this bloc of peoples are 9 clusters of peoples.
A “cluster” of peoples is defined also at Joshua Project: “Within each Affinity Bloc are a number of more closely related peoples which, for strategic purposes, may be clustered together. These relationships are often based on a common identity of language and name but sometimes on the basis of culture, religion, economy, or dominance of one group over another. Almost all People Clusters have total populations of over one million. It is likely that each People Cluster will need an international partnership of Christian churches and agencies for the effective evangelization of each constituent people group.”
(see the end of this post for further definitions)
As a whole the Turkic peoples affinity bloc are comprised of 361 people groups within countries. They are from the light purple areas in the picture here. 304 of these people groups are unreached. 169,818,000 of 173,964,000 people live within unreached people groups. That is 97.6% of the people living within unreached people groups and is the second most unreached affinity block by this measure in the world.
The nine clusters of peoples that form the Turkic people affinity bloc are the following.
You can read more at each link if you like about the various people groups within that cluster.
The Altaic peoples are composed of 13 people groups (within countries which means if we count across countries there would be 10). Within the Altaic peoples are 404,000 people. 352,000 of these people live in unreached people groups.
The Azerbaijani peoples are composed of 40 people within countries (if you count across countries there are 15). ALL 40 of these people groups are unreached with the gospel. There are 30,667,000 people within the Azerbaijani peoples.
The Kazakh peoples are composed of 35 peoples within countries (across countries there are 4). 32 of the 35 people groups are unreached. 14,771,000 of 14,777,000 people live within unreached people groups. As a note, that is more people within unreached people groups than in ALL of the USA (10,575,000 people in the USA live in unreached people groups).
The Kyrgyz peoples are composed of 13 people within countries (across countries there are 2). All 13 people groups are unreached. It is comprised of 4, 742,000 people.
The Turkish peoples are comprised of 96 people groups within countries (9 peoples across countries). 89 of these people groups are unreached, and that is comprised of 58,043,000 of the 58,315,000 total people within the Turkish people group cluster. The Turkish peoples are the largest cluster of peoples within the Turkic peoples affinity bloc. Over 53,000,000 of these people live in the country of Turkey.
The Turkmen peoples are comprised of 14 people groups within countries (1 people across countries). All 14 of these people groups are unreached and are comprised of 7,761,000 people.
The Ural-Siberian peoples are comprised of 103 people groups within countries (41 across countries). 59 of these people groups are unreached. 7,367,000 of the 11,179,000 people in the Ural-Siberian cluster live in unreached people groups. This is the most reached of the people clusters within the Turkic peoples affinity bloc.
The Uyghur peoples are comprised of 25 people groups within countries (9 peoples across countries). All 25 of these people groups are unreached and are comprised of 15,620,000 people.
The Uzbek peoples are comprised of 22 people groups within countries (2 peoples across countries). All 22 of these people groups are unreached and are comprised of 30,496,000 people.
For clarity, Joshua Project defines a people group as follows: “A significantly large grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity with one another. “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.” In many parts of the world lack of understandability serves as the main barrier and it is appropriate to define people groups primarily by language with the possibility of sub-divisions based on dialect or cultural variations. In other parts of the world, most notably in portions of South Asia, acceptance is a greater barrier than understandability. In these regions, caste, religious tradition, location, common histories and legends, plus language may be used to define the boundaries of each people group. Joshua Project uses the terms “people”, “people group” and “ethnic people” synonymously.”
For further clarity, Joshua Project gives the following definition for unreached people group: “Joshua Project uses the terms “unreached” and “least-reached” to mean the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably on this website. An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group. The original Joshua Project editorial committee selected the criteria less than or equal to 2% Evangelical Christian and less than or equal to 5% Professing Christians. While these percentage figures are somewhat arbitrary, “we should not underestimate the significance of the small group of people who have a vision of a just and gentle world. The quality of a whole culture may be changed when two percent of its people have a new vision.” – Robert Bellah, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, originally quote in Psychology Today in the 1970s, currently quoted in Christianity Today Oct 2011: 42.”