Seeing the Mission Task Graphically (3rd of 8 Illustrations). Map of Frontiers Peoples by Population
This map is distorted to compare the size of non-Christian “Frontier Peoples” populations in South Asia to the populations of Frontier Peoples in all the rest of the world. What are Frontier Peoples? Frontier Peoples are the Muslim and Hindu and (some) Buddhist peoples with ZERO Christians in their populations, OR fewer than 1 in a thousand Christians in their populations. Frontier peoples are arguably the highest mission priority because these non-Christian Frontier Peoples cannot become Christians until missionaries go to them. Here are the Frontier Peoples populations presented as a graph:
South Asia: 72% of all Frontier Peoples Groups (1.3 billion people)
Central Asia: 10% of all Frontiers People Groups
The Middle East and Africa 10% of all Frontiers People Groups
East Asia (South and North) 5% of all Frontiers People Groups
The rest of the world. 3% of all Frontiers People Groups
Dear reader, we study the Bible to understand the highest mission priority. Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also. They too must hear my voice.” As we have illustrated here and here, most Christian missionaries go to other Christians. We examine the charts and statistics to be certain of where the mission priority is the greatest. Proceed accordingly. The Bible and fact-filled charts: That is the way William Carey strategized; he carefully surveyed the extent of Christianity to know where the mission need was the greatest. We can complete the task of sending missionaries to the hundreds of still unengaged Muslim and Hindu peoples.
One afternoon, as a mission conference was ending, a van driver was taking several delegates to the airport. A delegate on her way home was telling us about her mission trips to Latvia, and the great need for Christian teaching there. “I have a heart for Latvia,” she said. I tried to understand; Why Latvia? It dawned on me that she and I and the others in the van had just sat for three days at a missions conference, where the statistics on unreached peoples had been presented. At the end she “had a heart for Latvia.” Can statistics change our heartfelt affections? Latvia, a country of 2 million, has hundreds of thousands of Lutherans and Catholics. (There is a large non-Christian population of Latvians as well.) Must everyone go his own way, despite our Lord’s teaching that the “other sheep, not of this fold” must hear his voice? The heart is an inscrutable mystery. If we can study the Bible, and hear the mission priority expressed by our Lord; and if we can study fact-filled charts and maps, then let us not go our own way. For the love of God compels us.