One-third of the world doesn’t have access to the Gospel. That’s more than 3 billion people who God loves and with whom He desires a relationship. That’s more than 3 billion people separated from God, but it doesn’t have to be that way. What can we do to close that gap?
Recently we met with Marv Newell, the executive director for Alliance for the Unreached, to talk about what every Christian can do to help the unreached come to know Jesus. “The unreached is a people group that does not have access to a church, to a Bible, or to believers,” Marv says. “The key word is access. Do they even have the opportunity to have the Gospel where they can find it?”
For a third of humanity, the answer is no.
What Can We do?
If you’re a Christian reading this, maybe your heart breaks for the unreached people. But if you don’t live near an unreached people group, is there anything you can do to help?
It might not seem like it, but no matter where you live, there’s something you can do to help this situation.
The Alliance for the Unreached started a movement called A Third of Us that is all about empowering Christians around the world to help bring the Gospel to these unreached groups. “Our goal is to bring awareness to people who are unaware of those who don’t have access to the Gospel,” Marv says.
The A Third of Us website has a few resources that can help you take action, including a family guide, a kit for churches, a prayer challenge, and an action guide.
In the interview, Marv lays out four steps from the action guide that people can take to make an impact.
“This action guide is to help the typical Christian be able to do something about it. You don’t need to be a trained missionary. You don’t need to be a pastor or a professional in ministry. You can do this even as a layperson in your own church and in your own circle of influence,” Marv says.
Before reading this article, did you know that one-third of the earth’s population doesn’t have access to the Gospel? Did you know about unreached people groups at all? Maybe you did, but that’s not the case for the majority of Christians.
For any cause, one of the important things that you can do is raise awareness. Little will be done about a problem if people don’t know the problem exists. So sharing about this issue is one step that any Christian can take.
A Third of Us has a symbol that uses three parallel lines, with one line separated from the other two.
One thing you can do is draw that symbol somewhere visible, such as on your hand, on a hat, or on a notebook. You can also buy branded merchandise on the A Third of Us website.
Once you have the symbol, just look for opportunities to explain it. If you display a symbol people don’t recognize, you can expect people to ask what it is. At that point, you can explain that one-third of the world doesn’t have access to the Gospel.
Taking that a step further, try sharing the symbol online to start those conversations. You can take a selfie with the symbol on your forehead or snap a photo of it on your wrist and share it on social media. Get creative with it. “Take a picture of that in whatever creative way that you have, and I’ve seen many, many creative ways of this, and just post it. People are going to say, ‘Hey, what do those three lines mean? What’s going on?’ And it gives you an opportunity to share that,” Marv says.
The hashtag #athirdofus can be used in any social media posts.
The author of The Kneeling Christian wrote, “Let us never forget that the greatest thing we can do for God or for man is to pray. For we can accomplish far more by our prayers than by our work. Prayer is omnipotent; it can do anything that God can do!”
As such, one of the most important things you can do for the unreached is to pray for them. There are 9,000 unreached people groups out there. If you want to pray for any specific groups and pray intelligently about their needs, Marv recommends using The Joshua Project’s Unreached of the Day mobile app. As the title suggests, the app features a different unreached people group each day. “I try to look at that app every day and take a look and pray briefly for that group,” Marv says.
Another good resource is a prayer booklet that the Indigitous Serve cohort created. The booklet – “Who Are Frontier People Groups?” – is an illustrated prayer guide with stories of the 31 largest unreached people groups.
As you hear about the unreached, as you share and pray about them, you may feel called by God to do more. Perhaps you feel called to serve, to give some of your time to help the people come to know Jesus.
If you’re looking for service opportunities, you can start with your church. Maybe they have some short-term mission trips or outreach strategies. Maybe you can do a digital mission trip or Digital Outreach. Check any missions organizations that you like. There are 70 missional organizations and movements that are part of the Alliance for the Unreached, each with a special heart for reaching the unreached, so any of those groups would be another good place to start.
“When you do serve, especially trying to serve people who are nonbelievers and unreached altogether, we get more and more of a burden for them and engage much more deeply because we see the face of people who are in need,” Marv says.
The final action point that Marv gave is to support missions to bring the Gospel to the unreached. Not everyone is in a financial position to do that. But some of us have been blessed by God in such a way that we can steward the finances He’s given us in a way that helps people come to know Him.
If you want to use your resources to help the unreached hear the Gospel, you can start again with your own church. Find out if they have any initiatives for this cause or if they have any missionaries you can support. You can also give to a missionary organization that focuses on bringing the Gospel to the unreached or to an individual missionary.
Marv also recommends any of the partner organizations of Alliance for the Unreached that are listed on the website. “Anybody that’s on our website has been vetted as a real organization with a real legitimate ministry that could be supported,” Marv says.
The task of bringing the Gospel to the one-third of the world that has no access to it seems like a daunting task, but we can all do our part to make an impact. No matter your situation, if you’re a Christian, there’s something you can do to help bring the Gospel to the unreached. You can definitely share and pray about the cause. You can probably find a way to serve. And you might be able to financially support missionary efforts. If you take just a small step of faith to do your part, it can make a profound impact.