Contend Earnestly: Thinking About Church Planting or Missions? Look at These Stats

Monday, December 07, 2009

Thinking About Church Planting or Missions? Look at These Stats

One of my elders put this up on The City, and thought it to be interesting. I also wonder, what can we as the church individually help get the church universal back into the correct understanding of Matthew 28? Because what it seems is happening is that dying for our faith, or being persecuted for our faith isn't something that sounds too condusive to my idols that I have placed in my life. These numbers are striking to see where we send missionaries and our monies, because it isn't to save all the nations, but seems to be to try and strengthen the "safe" areas.

The following information was taken from an article on

Of the world’s 15,958 Major People Groups, 6,415 (numbering 1.8 billion persons) are considered Unreached – though Christian work occurs among most of them. (

Numbers of major religions:

* 2.0 Billion – Christians

* 680 Million – Evangelicals

* 1.3 Billion – Muslims

* 350 Million – Buddhists

* 1.0 Billion – Roman Catholics

* 340 Million – Chinese Folk Religions

* 900 Million – Hindus

* 250 Million – Tribal Religions

* 875 Million – Atheists & Non-religious

* 17 Million – Jews

Annual Growth Rates:

* World population 1.6%

* Muslims 2.7%

* Hindus 2.3%

* Buddhists 1.7%

* All Christians 2.6%

* Roman Catholics 1.2%

* Protestants 2.9%

* Evangelicals 5.7%

* Pentecostals and Charismatics 10%

There are an estimated 6,400 unreached people groups worldwide, which still need missionaries to plant Christ’s church among them.

Most of the unreached people groups are located geographically in what some scholars call- “The 10/40 Window” – from West Africa across Asia between 10 degrees latitude north of the equator to 40 degrees north.

Within this 10/40 window are:

1. Most of the world’s unreached peoples.
2. Two-thirds of the world’s population, although only one-third of the earth’s land area.
3. The heart of the Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist religions.
4. Eight out of ten of the poorest of the world’s poor enduring the world’s lowest quality of living.
5. Only 8% of the world’s missionary force and 0.01% of the income of the world’s Christians.

While about some of these unreached people groups are scattered among various world cultures, the majority of them are primarily in five major cultural blocks: (Global Progress Scale Listing)

1. 3,276 unreached Muslim groups. Over 1.3 billion individuals are Muslims. One sixth of the world’s population.
2. 2,550 unreached tribal groups. Only about 140 million individuals.
3. 2,425 unreached Hindu groups. They comprise a population of about 900 million individuals.
4. 450 unreached Mandarin Chinese groups. In which live 793 million individuals.
5. 552 unreached Buddhist groups. About 375 million individuals are in these groups.

Over two billion people live in these unreached people groups and every day some 50,000 of them perish without having heard the Gospel. That is about 26 million a year.

60% of unreached people groups live in countries closed to missionaries from North America.

22 million internationals visit the US each year. Of these, some 705,000 are university students from 220 countries 25% of which prohibit Christian missionaries. 80% of those students will return to their countries having never been invited to an American home.

* 40% of the world’s 220 Heads of State once studied in the US.
*60% of international students come from the 10/40 window.

10% of international students are reached by ministries while in the United States.

Worldwide Christian churches devote more than 85% of their resources on our own development. That is, only 15% of this arsenal of personnel, finance, prayer, and tools goes to bless unreached people groups.

In the U.S., the picture is even bleaker. According to the Bibles for All World Prayer Map, American Christians spend 95% of offerings on home-based ministry, 4.5% on cross-cultural efforts in already-reached people groups, and 0.5% to reach the unreached.

American evangelicals could provide all of the funds needed to plant a church in each of the 6,400 people groups with only 0.2% of their income.

If all the missionaries needed came from this country, less than 0.5% of evangelicals aged 18 – 35 could form the teams required.

The Resources


There are 430,000 Missionaries from all branches of Christendom. Only between 2 and 3% of these missionaries work among unreached peoples. 140,000 Protestant Missionaries. 64,000 Protestant Missionaries from the US.

Distribution of Protestant Missionaries among cultural blocks

*74% Among Nominal Christians
*3% Among Buddhists
*8% Among Tribal Peoples
*2% Among Hindus
*6% Among Muslims
*2% Among Chinese Folk Religions
*4% Among Non-Religious/Atheists
*1% Among Jewish Peoples

Global Church Member Finance (in US Dollars)

* 12.3 Trillion – Total Annual Income
* 213 Billion – Giving to Christian Causes (1.73% of total income
* 11.4 Billion – To Foreign Missions (5.4% of giving to Christian causes)
* 87% of foreign mission money goes for work among those already Christian
* 12% for work among evangelized non-Christians
* 1% for work among the unevangelized.

The church of Christ has over 100 times the resources needed to plant native churches in these people groups.

The stats above are adapted from data by David B. Barrett and Todd M Johnson of the Global Evangelization Movement web site. Other portions come from Patrick Johnstone’s The Church is Bigger Than You Think, Bill and Amy Stearns’ Catch the Vision 2000, and the course material for Vision for the Nations published by the US Center for World Mission.

Also data used from and


Poop is Emergent Too said...

There is enough money..but the truth is most financially over committed Christians are not going to part with any of it...because they have confused their lifestyle with "need"... If I hear one more middle class Christian whine about how they don't have any money while Missionaries and Christian nationals in ministry struggle I am going to puke...then I am going to hit someone.


Todd said...

There is a battle to be fought, and we need people on the front lines. I'm planning on heading to SE Asia in the 10/40 region. Burma's always been on my mind....

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