A Special Breed: Out of 6.5 billion people on the planet, there are only 430,000 Missionaries from ALL branches of “Christendom.”

Even more precious: Only between 2 and 3% of these 430k missionaries work among unreached peoples. Of the 2-3% of all missionaries working among unreached people groups, not all are strongly evangelical or believe in operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

*Here in Thailand, according to a recent study on church growth, 1/3 of all Thai who came to Christ came because of a miracle, sign, or wonder! Truly the Kingdom of God is not merely a matter of talk, but of power! (I Cor 4:20)

It is estimated that most long term missionaries will not make it past the five year mark in service. ”Missionary attrition” is a big problem which begs questions about how we are preparing and caring for these precious servants of God once they decide to “Go.”

With much of the church in the West talking about “restoring honor,” I believe we need to restore honor to our modern heroes of faith, our long term cross cultural missionaries. The famous preacher C.H. Spurgeon was quoted as saying,

“If God has called you to be a missionary, I would not have you stoop to be a King.”

Worldwide Christian churches devote more than 85% of their resources on their own development. That is, only the remaining 15% of this arsenal of personnel, finance, prayer, and tools goes to missions.

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 only 0.5% to reach the unreached.

We have the finances! American evangelicals alone could provide ALL of the funds needed to plant a church in each of the 6,400 unreached people groups with only 0.2% of their income.

Imagine what could be done with more than a larger focused amount more than that mere 0.2%!

We have the work force! If all the missionaries needed came only from America, less than 0.5% of evangelicals aged 18 – 35 could form the teams required needed to reach the last unreached people groups.

Where is this mere force of only half a percent? Couldn’t we do much better America? What is holding up our generation?

Some stats from the Global Church Member Finances (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 (which is 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

ONLY 1% for work among the unevangelized, unreached, or unengaged

*The Church has over 100 times the resources needed to plant native churches in these 6400 unreached people groups.

Of those actively involved in missions in the US: (which many are not!-especially in today’s emerging churches)

98% are Senders (Financial Support, Prayers, Mobilizers, Pastors)

0.5% are Servicers (Administrative, Tech Support, Training, Communication)

only 1.5% are Missionaries (all types: Church Planting, Development, Tentmaking, Tribal Outreach, Health Services) When you consider “apostolic” or “evangelistic” ministries, the percentage and numbers are even much smaller!

I believe that with all my heart that the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20) applies to all believers in Christ for all generations. As the Church, we need to go forward in this generation with the realization that we have what is needed to finish the mandate our Lord gave us.

What is lacking is broad reaching vision and leadership to make it a reality.

The one question we need to ask ourselves is “What do we need to do to change all of this”?

Let’s all be challenged to do whatever we can to be a part of the solution!

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 www.peoplegroups.org, www.joshuaproject.net, & www.thetravelingteam.org

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