Over the 35 years that I have been working in cross-cultural missions, I have seen mission organizations highlight many different needs, opportunities, and strategies. Countries open and close. New methods gain prominence while others are abandoned. Younger generations are motivated by different themes. But one characteristic of mission work never changes. We need many, many more workers to address the opportunities before us. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” as Jesus said.
According to Joshua Project, 7,423 people groups with a total of 3.37 billion people remain unreached.1“Unreached” is defined as less than 2% evangelical. Joshua Project: People Groups of the World | Joshua Project Missionaries and local Christian workers to these unreached people total about 32,200 people.2 from Missions Statistics — The Traveling Team. Therefore the ratio of UPG workers to the total unreached world is 1 Christian worker or missionary for every 105,000 unreached people.
The weakness of the kingdom
I have been thinking about the kingdom of God and particularly what Jesus called the “secret of the kingdom.” As I explained in my previous post, the secret of the kingdom is that it came in weakness despite it being the power of God. The majority of the Jewish people did not recognize Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. This movement he started did not conform to their expectations of what God’s kingdom would look like.
Jesus did not have enough staff
One aspect of the Kingdom that highlighted its weakness was the scarcity of workers. The kingdom Jesus proclaimed did not have enough servants to meet the needs of the people who needed help. Note what Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 9.