State of the World
Christianity leads the world’s religions in number of adherents, followed closely by Muslims. However, the rate of change of these percentages also needs to be taken into account. Christians as a whole are declining in percentage of world population, but the groups declining the fastest are the Atheists and non-religious! The religions which are gaining in percentage (at the expense of other religions in total world population) are: Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, & Hindus.
According to the 5th edition of Operation World, the United States had an operative mission force of al-most 40,000 missionaries sent to other countries in 1993 (not including short-termers of a year or less). In addition, there were 600 U.S. citizens serving cross-culturally within the United States and 18,500 U.S. citizens classified as missionaries who served their own people in the United States. These figures don't even count all the pastors, priests, and ministers in the U.S. which, according to religioustolerance.org, number 530,000.
As you can see, the preponderance of missionaries sent to other countries are sent to already-Christian groups, while the least-evangelized groups of people with the highest populations are getting the fewest missionaries! Only 26% of Protestant foreign missionaries are focused on the 2/3 of the world which is predominately non-Christian – and most of that 26% is ministering among already-reached groups. Furthermore, in terms of finances, less that 1% of U.S. church giving goes to support mission work among the unreached.
SOURCES: Todd Johnson, Patrick Johnstone.
World Population by Gospel Access
Paul the Apostle said in Romans 15, “It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ has not been named.” With one third of the world still without significant access to the Gospel and so few missionaries trying to reach them, the need for new missionaries is great! Furthermore, not only do more missionaries need to be deployed, but, those missionaries need to be deployed strategically, so as to actually reach those who would not otherwise hear. This means that church leaders and congregations need to be educated in missionary strategy, and this is what Caleb Project is all about!
SOURCES: AD2000, Ralph Winter
So where are the missionaries sent? The World Evangelism Research Center www.gem-werc.org esti-mates that if the U.S. missionaries are added to all the missionaries sent from other countries in the world, there are currently 10,200 foreign missionaries sent to the parts of the world where people have never heard the Gospel, 103,000 foreign missionaries sent to people who have heard the Gospel yet remain Non-Christian, and a whopping 306,000 foreign missionaries sent to Christian groups. Tons of missionaries are sent to people that are already Christianized, while those who have no chance to hear the Gospel get relatively few missionaries.
God has promised to glorify Himself by bringing some from every tongue, tribe, and nation into His presence to worship Him. Let us pray and work together to that end. We want to see more missionaries sent to the part of the world that has never heard about how wonderful Jesus is!