The ANNUAL income of Evangelical Christians is approximately 6.72 trillion dollars.
1.8% of that 6.72 trillion dollars is given to Christian causes: $545 billion.
*This is how much Americans spend on CHRISTMAS every year
Only 0.1% of the annual income of evangelical Christians is spent on MISSIONS. That is 31 billion dollars a year. (Only 5.7% of the money given to "Christian causes" in a year.)
87% of that 5.7% goes to those who already have access to the gospel, the REACHED. That is $26,970,000,000.
ONLY 1% of the 0.1% of Evangelical Christians annual income goes to reaching those who have absolutely NO access to the gospel. THE UNREACHED.
Guys, that number... $310 million, is as much as Americans spent on Halloween Costumes in 2011...for their PETS.
This is not okay.
*Statistics found at http://www.thetravelingteam.org/stats
If you are anything like me. You read these statistics and they grab you. You sit there and think about them and you can't quite believe they are true.
And then you start to process it more and you get mad. You get mad at the church or evangelicals that do not give of the resources that God has entrusted to them.
Then after that, you decide you're going to do something.
But after a few more minutes you can't think of what to do, so you walk away and move on with your life. Probably buying something you don't really need (like Starbucks or something cute at target) and by that evening you've totally forgotten about what had so captured your attention only a few hours earlier.
It took me actually coming face to face with the unreached for those statistics to not just temporarily affect me, but instead, change the course of my life.
When a statistic is no longer a statistic but rather a face, it changes everything. Here are a few faces for you.
This is a church that took us over three hours to reach by truck on essentially hiking trails. They are desperate for the gospel and growth within their church but they have no one lead them. No one wants to live so far secluded from civilization to disciple and train these people. So instead, they wait for the missionaries to come when they can ( about every other month).
The worst part of this is, that this village is in Ghana. A country that is not even in the 10/40 window. These people are not one of the 7000 unreached people groups. They are technically the reached. So if no one will go to them... Who is going to go to the other 7000 unreached people groups that NEED the gospel?
I know that these statistics can seem overwhelming and unattainable. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed I just want to shut down. And that's how I can get when I think of my total inability to solve this problem. And then I remember that this is not my problem to solve.
Before Christ left this earth He gave us ALL one final task: make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit. That is our task. We as the church have this one task and that is all and we are all called to do it TOGETHER. We each have a role.
Just like the body is made up of many parts so are we.
Some are called to GO. Maybe The Lord has laid it on your heart or is now stirring up a desire in your heart to be one of the few that will go to these hard places to reach those who have never heard.
Please hear me, if you know that you are not called to GO, do not stop reading. You may have a role that in some ways is far more vital than the goer. You may be called as a sender. Maybe The Lord has provided you with resources that could be used directly impact the unreached.
I pray that soon the statistics will change and the culture of the church would change with it. How incredible would it be if we all learned to live on less and give more. If 99% of the funds given to missions were going directly to the 7000 unreached people groups?! Can you imagine the joy and contentment in that..in fulfilling the Great Commission in our lifetime?
I have realized something about myself these last few months. I am far too easily pleased. All it takes is the "next best thing" for me to be distracted from the task that God has given me.
So what can we do? How do we begin to conquer this task before us?
1. Take a perspectives class. Prioritize learning more about missions and the unreached
Link to Perspectives Classes near you: http://www.perspectives.org/
More information on the Joshua Project: http://joshuaproject.net/
2. Take a good look at your budget and honestly evaluate your giving in the light of eternity and our remaining task. Ideas for giving: tithe above and beyond to your local church, contact a missionary you know is going to the unreached and ASK to join their support team. ( could you imagine their delight having someone ask them if they could help them get to the nations?!?), give to an organization that is actively engaging with the unreached.
3. Honestly ask yourself:why not me? Why not now?
Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, when we have lost our thirst for the waters of life, having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity, and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, where storms will show your mastery, where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes, and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love. This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ. -Francis drake