1.  What is a people group?

Great question. When we look at how many there are we realize we depend on the definition.

From an article called “Has Everyone Heard?” at Joshua Project: “The definition used by mission strategist for people group is “a significantly large grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another because of their shared language, religion, ethnicity, residence, occupation, class or caste, situation, etc., or combinations of these.” For evangelistic purposes it is “the largest group within which the gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.” (Ralph Winter p. 536)”

Joshua Project provides a full answer to the question:  How many people groups are there?

People groups in google maps- Interactive map

2. Can’t we all just share the gospel with our neighbor and the whole world will hear about Jesus?

No. The world, because of people group differences, is not like a flat skillet we can pour the gospel onto and have it spread all across.

It is like a waffle iron, with separate compartments we must intentionally take the batter of the gospel from one place to another.

3. What is an unreached people group?

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.


4. What is the 10/40 Window?

Go to link here for Joshua Project’s definition: What is the 10/40 Window?

5. More Thoughts

What are unreached peoples?  They are people groups in the world where less than 2% of the people in that group actually know and follow Jesus, and less than 5% adhere to any form of Christian faith.  So when we say a people group is “reached”, that means there is a significant enough presence so that if the people following Jesus in that people will make disciples as they should, the rest of the people group can be given the opportunity to follow Jesus.  That DOES NOT mean that all the people in the group know Jesus or have even heard the good news about Jesus.  Hopefully in all reached people groups, many more individuals will come to know Jesus personally.

Here is a link at Joshua Project about what a people group is: What is a people group?

From Joshua Project: Has everyone heard (of Jesus by now)?

At Joshua Project, an important idea related to holding onto people group thinking.

At Joshua Project: Why people clusters?

Many people groups in the world are also UNENGAGED.  For a people group to be unengaged means that not only are they unreached, but no one at present is really trying to take the good news of Jesus to them in any significant way.  This is unacceptable; Jesus’ followers around the world must do our part to see that no group is unengaged nor, eventually, unreached.  May God work through us to accomplish this.

6. Data


William Carey, who is called the father of modern missions, said this:

“To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.”

We really could use data about what is going on in the world for God to lead us strategically:

Data helps us see what has been happening.

It helps us to decide where to implement what we value.
100 starving people next to 1 fed person: we know who to help!
We CAN know what peoples are still without Jesus and need our love, prayers, and the good news of Jesus

Choose these links below to see various kinds of data.

Joshua Project: peoples data

Josh. Proj.: Unreached people data

 International Mission Board: Peoples data 

Ethnologue: languages of the world

Wycliffe: Scripture and Language statistics 2014

Wycliffe: Biblia y Idiomas – Estadísticas 2014 en Español

Great Commission Maps at Joshua Project

This is a special link to a map (and further links for info) and info about the largest 40 least reached provinces in the world.  Top 40 Unreached Provinces