Here’s the thing about getting the Gospel into the hands of Unreached People Groups: It’s really difficult and expensive.
But here’s the other thing: It’s totally necessary.
But here’s the OTHER other thing: We’re living like the inconvenience of the first thing negates the reality of the second thing.
And that’s not cool.
By my reckoning, our lack of engagement with Unreached People Groups (UPGs) is probably one of the biggest beams in the eye of the modern-day church. UPGs are the metaphorical flatulence in the crowded elevator – their existence is glaringly obvious, yet nobody wants to openly acknowledge the issue.
We think that if we just ignore them, they will eventually dissipate into an awkward memory. We don’t want to deal with them.
Well, I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but the crowded elevator is stuck, the air conditioning is broken, and the lactose intolerant guy in the back is sucking down his second milkshake of the afternoon.
We need to deal with this problem.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all preachy here about the desperate plight of individuals in UPGs, or dwell on the fact that there are crazy personnel needs amongst them. I’ve already done that HERE. And HERE.
No, today I’m hoping to focus more on how believers in the States can make a positive difference for UPGs from where they are living right now.
OK, so here’s the starting point for the conversation: The Evangelical church spends 99.7% of their (our) funds engaging with people in REACHED people groups, that is, people who already have access to God’s Word in their language and have a functioning indigenous church.
They (we) spend less than .1% engaging with UNREACHED people groups (AKA: people who do NOT have access to God’s Word in their language, and who do NOT have a functioning indigenous church).
And, as a point of clarification, reached people groups represent about 3.5 billion people, and unreached people groups represent about 3.14 billion people, so the disparity in numbers is not due to the populations of each group. They are basically the same size.
Now, when I look at those numbers, I can’t help but wonder, is there some way we could make them look a tiny, teensy-weensy bit more, you know, NOT astronomically different? I mean, maybe if the unreached were to, I don’t know, possibly get a whole 1% of the church’s money invested in them, instead of a fraction of one percent? Is that too lofty of a goal?
Probably. But, hey, go big or go home, right?
Now, I’ve been a part of a non-profit organization for a while, so I know what some of you are thinking at this point. (Of course, I don’t mean YOU, personally. This is directed at some other reader.)
Someone ELSE is probably thinking, “Here it comes. The guy wants money for his organization, or whatever. Well, I’d love to help all those unreached folks, but you’re trying to get milk from a bull, buddy. I’m already giving as much money as I can to charity. I’m plum tapped out of funds.”*
To this OTHER person (not you), I say, “I get it. Life is hard, funds are short, and you’re doing the best you can. I’m not going to ask you to donate more money to getting the Gospel into the hands of the unreached.”
I’m going to ask you to donate someone ELSE’S money to getting the Gospel into the hands of the unreached! (sort of)
Here’s the deal. I have two totally different non-profit organizations to show you that can allow you to give large amounts of money towards mission work among the unreached, without spending any extra money yourself!
The first one ANYONE can utilize. It’s called “Coffee for Thriving Churches.” They sell coffee, and then give 100% of the profit to the Ethnos360 missionary of YOUR choice (over $2.00 per 12 oz bag)! I’ve seen this play out first-hand, and it can easily add up to a significant contribution in a short amount of time.
Wouldn’t it be great if, with every morning cup of coffee you drank, you could be supporting a church-planting endeavor overseas? They even have single-serve Keureg-style cups! This could also work out well for you tea drinkers out there. This could be your chance to stop wasting your money on sissy potpourri-water and start drinking a REAL hot beverage!
Does your church serve coffee? Your small group? Your small business? What if you were to move those already occurring expenses over to Coffee for Thriving Churches? You would get the same product (probably a BETTER product), but you would also be giving regular funds to a missionary serving an unreached people group!
The second organization is called STEER INC., and they are one of the coolest programs I’ve ever come across. They are dedicated to enabling farmers to support missions by using their time, hard work, and resources – at almost no cost to the farmer!
Whether you work with beef, swine, dairy, or raise crops, you could use your livelihood to help finance mission work around the world!
Here’s an example of how it works: STEER Inc. will supply a cow at no cost to the farmer. They will also cover any veterinary costs incurred by the animal they supply.** The farmer provides feed and raises the animal along with the rest of his herd, as if it were one of his own. When it comes time to sell the cow, 80% the profits from the sale are sent to the missionary of the farmer’s choice.
Is that awesome or what?! With a minimal increase to your current overhead costs you could send hundreds of dollars to missionaries each year! If you are a farmer, or if you know a farmer, or if you have ever played Farmville, you NEED to check this out!
Remember, the elevator IS going to make it up to our penthouse apartment. Let’s take this opportunity to get the stink out of it before we arrive. Let’s get more resources moving in the direction of the unreached.
Let’s take the milkshake from the weenie in the back of the elevator.
*Is that other guy a country bumpkin, or what?
**Even if the animal dies, there is still no cost to the person raising it.