Figures and quantitative analysis cannot be contested. They reflect reality without sentiments or prejudice. When such figures are about the souls and eternal destiny of real men it becomes critical. Earlier in the year, the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Cornwell Seminary released the Status of Global Christianity, 2023, in the Context of 1900–2050. The report placed in very incisive perspective the state of the Gospel over a period of a century and half. Of particular interest in this article is the year 2023 and the state of the global Church viz-a-viz the state of the unevangelized ( better still unreached) of the world.
The Unevangelized/The Unreached
According to the report, the Global population is estimated to be 8,045,311,000 by mid-2023. Out of this, the population of the unevangelized will be 2, 250, 856,000. This means 28% of the world will be unevangelized by the middle of 2023. The implication of this is that with the current speed and attitude of the global Church, a whooping 28% of the world population will not have access to the Gospel by mid-2023! These are 2, 250,856,000 real souls Jesus shed his blood for at calvary! 2,250,856,000 souls facing the risk of eternity without the privilege of hearing the Goodnews of Jesus’ redemption!
It is of note to clarify here that these are different from the unbelievers who have access to the Gospel, have had opportunity to receive the Gospel but have decided against it. While the souls of these ones are very important to God, God has a unique interest among the unevangelized to make them have access to the Gospel.
Going further, the report states that the percentage of non-Christians who know a Christian is 18.3%. Conversely, this means that 81.7% of non-Christians globally do not know a Christian or have met a Christian before! In definite terms, this means that in spite of global migration, internet and human connectivity, 1,838,949,352 souls who are non-Christians do not know a Christian and as such do not stand the chance of hearing the Gospel message. So sad!
According to the report, the five top religions on earth after Christianity are Islam (2,007, 352,000), Hindus (1,090,304,000), Buddhists (535,545,000), Chinese folk-religionist (458,580,000) and Ethnoreligionist (288,866,000). All these are aside the Sikhs, Jews, Atheists and several others still being held by the shackles of one religion or persuasion or the other who makes up about 5.4 billion souls silently crying for deliverance. Perhaps the cry of some of them would be ” …the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved! ” Jeremiah 8:20.
Mobilizing the Christian
According to the report, population of Christians in the world stands at 2,604,381,000. These number of Christians are made up of 4,200,000 congregations of Christians globally. This makes Christianity to be 32.4% of the world’s population. This of course includes the Catholics, Evangelicals, Charismatics and other expressions of Christianity. However, it is of note that in spite of the multitudes of the unevangelized on earth, there are only a meagre 440,000 Foreign Missionaries. This makes the foreign missionaries a very minute 0.0169% of all Christians globally! This means the ratio of foreign Missionaries to population of unevangelized is 1(one) foreign missionary to 5115 unevangelized globally! However, the report further states that the number of Christian National workers( Citizens) working in their Own country stands at 13,600,000.
CHRISTIAN FINANCE (IN US$, PER YEAR)
According to the status of Global Christianity, 2023, the Personal income of Christians Worldwide stands at $56,000 billion. Giving to Christian causes is $945 billion while Churches’ income is estimated at $380 billion globally. The income to Parachurches and institutions is $570 billion while the income of global foreign missions is $55 billion.
From the report, only 1.68% of Christians’ personal income worldwide is given to Christian causes while 0.68% of the personal income of Christians are churches’ income globally. Furthermore, it is also noted that about 0.1% of personal income of Christians worldwide goes to foreign missions.
However, it is estimated that $62 billion is lost to Ecclesiastical crime annually. This borders on issues of embezzlement and other mismanagement. It is shocking that more money is lost to ecclesiastical crime annually than goes to foreign missions!
From the foregoing, it is shocking to discover that 0.0169% of Christians globally are deployed as foreign missionaries with a meagre 0.1% of the personal income of Christians. It is very clear that the global Christian movement do not prioritize deployment of her resources and foreign missionaries to the priority needy areas of the world, especially to the 81.7% of the unevangelized who do not know a Christian.
What are the Implications for the Unreached/Unevangelized and the Christians
- Due to the numbers of the unevangelized that do not know a Christian (81.7%) , finishing the task of World evangelization requires the deliberate deployment of missionaries by the Church to core unevangelized regions of the world. From the statistics above, it is clear that global migration, internet and other means of global interactions are not enough to give access of the gospel to the unevangelized. It takes deliberate deployment of missionaries to the unevangelized regions. This does not mean however that global migration and other means of engagement are not relevant.
- If the global Christian community would step up her sending capacity to evangelize the unevangelized by sending just 0.1% of her population, being 2,604,381missionaries, that means 1 foreign Missionary will be engaging 864 unevangelized souls as against the current state where 1 foreign missionary is engaging 5115 unevangelized souls.
- The implication of the above means the global Christian community will need to increase her foreign Missions sending capacity sixfold over.This will be an average of 2 foreign missionaries will be sent by about one and a half congregations.
- The 13,600,000 national Workers serve as a ready pool from where foreign Missionaries can be mobilized to reach the unevangelized. With the correct envisioning and engagement, the estimated 2. 6 million foreign missionaries needed to be deployed abroad that would increase the number of foreign missionaries to about 0.1% of global Christianity can be sourced from among the national workers.
- If the status of the unreached/unevangelized would change, the attitude of Christians towards giving for foreign missions must change.
- From the statistical analysis, it can also be deduced that the level of awareness and mobilization of the Christians is directly related to the evangelization of the unevangelized.
In conclusion, as we are burdened about the state of the unreached and unevangelized nations because of their spiritual state, it is very important we express similar concern about the level of the mobilization of the Church towards her responsibility to the evangelization of the unevangelized nations. If the damning and troubling statistics about the state of the nations, the level of deployment of missionaries among the unevangelized nations coupled with the low investment in foreign missions will change, the average Christian will need to be mobilized effectively and aggressively to respond to the beckon of God to “…go and make disciples of all nations”.
Adegbite Olanihun is the Executive Director of Omega Center for World Missions, an organization committed to mobilizing the Church for world Missions and discipling the nations. He is married with Children and lives in Northern Nigeria with His family. He can be reached at +2348068120447, firstname.lastname@example.org.