Seeing the Mission Task Graphically (8th of 8 Illustrations). Frontier People Groups, the highest mission priority

The non-Christian population of the world can be divided into two kinds: First: there are four and a half billion non-Christians living “near” Christians. Second, there are two billion “far” non-Christians, illustrated here. The two billion “far” non-Christians are Frontier People Groups. These two billion have no hope of hearing that “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I became a Christian the first time someone read that verse aloud to me, in my dorm room at the University of Oregon. I was a “near” non-Christian; many “near” Christians who speak English and are “like me.”

Frontier People Groups are “far” non-Christians. The are “far” because they have no hope of hearing hearing a Christian read the Bible aloud to them. Sending missionaries to Frontier People Groups, therefore, is the highest priority.

Religion# of Frontier People GroupsPopulation
Buddhism22018 million
Ethnic Religions40616 million
Hinduism1756810 million
Islam24781100 million
Other/Small12120 million
Total4981 Frontier People Groups1970 million

Bible verses. Many Bible references refer us to God’s mission to non-Christians who are “far off.”

(At the dedication of the temple) When a foreigner, who is not of thy people Israel, comes from far away for thy name’s sake for they shall hear of thy great name, and thy mighty hand, and of thy outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do all the foreigner asks of you; in order that all the peoples of the earth may know thy name and fear thee, as do thy people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name. 1 Kings 8:41-43

He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar. He will whistle to them from the end of the earth; Surely they shall come with swiftly. Isaiah 5:26

Be broken, you peoples, and be dismayed; give ear, all you far countries, gird yourselves and be dismayed; Take counsel together, but it will come to naught; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us. Isaiah 8:9-10

Hear, you who are far off what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless. Isaiah 33:13-14

I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:6-7

I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations. Isaiah 66:18-19

He will arbitrate between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations afar off. Micah 4:3

Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far off countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return. Zechariah 10:9-10

The promise is for you, and your children, and all who are far off, everyone to whom the Lord our God calls to him. Acts 2:39

And he said to me, ‘Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” Acts 22:21

Paul writes to the Ephesians who were “far off” until they became Christians:

Remember that you were at that time without Christ, aliens from citizenship in Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is  our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came to declare peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:12-17

Dear Reader: Sending missionaries to the “far” non-Christians–the Frontier People Groups–is the highest priority.