What is a UPG?

It is estimated that of the 7.83 billion people alive in the world today, 3.37 billion of them live in unreached people groups with little or no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Joshua Project, there are approximately 17,428 unique people groups in the world with 7,400+ of them considered unreached (over 42% of the world’s population!). The vast majority (85%) of these least reached groups exist in the 10/40 window and less than 10% of missionary work is done among these people. Watch this brief video to learn more!

People Group

[ People Group ] : an ethnolinguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the various members. The most dominant identifier of a people group is their language, but each unique people group also shares a common sense history and customs. For strategic purposes, a people group is the largest group through which the gospel can flow without encountering significant barriers of understanding and acceptance. In other words, a people group calls “us, us” and “them, them” by distinguishing insiders and outsiders. In the Bible, the Greek word “ethne” often times gets translated as “nations” but really means ethnic groups or people groups.

Unreached People Group (UPG)

[ Unreached People Group (UPG) ] or [ Least Reached People Group ] : an identifiable group of people distinguished by a distinct culture, language, or social class who lack a community of Christians able to evangelize the rest of the people group without outside help. The only opportunity for the people group to hear about salvation is through an “external witness.” Most missiologists consider 2% of the population becoming Christ followers as the “tipping point” at which the group is generally considered “reached” with the Gospel.

Unengaged Unreached People Group (UUPG)

[ Unengaged Unreached People Group (UUPG) ] : According to Finishing the Task, there are 144 remaining unengaged, unreached people groups numbering over 5.7 million souls that are still beyond the reach of the Gospel. These 144 ethnic groups are perhaps the neediest of the needy as they are unengaged, which means that no church, no missionary, no mission agency…no one has yet taken responsibility to tell them about Jesus Christ.

Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (ESV) The Greek phrase for “all nations” is “panta ta ethne” which refers to all of the ethnicities or people groups of the world. We believe that Jesus was very clear in stating that His gospel would be preached to all nations/ ethne/ people groups before He would return. Therefore the simple, yet major goal of Global Frontier Missions is to assist in the preaching of the Good News to every people group in order to fulfill the words of Christ!

Revelation 7:9: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,” (ESV) The apostle John gives us a glimpse of what worship in heaven will look like. The Bible has made it very clear that God will not be satisfied until there are people from every people group represented in His heaven.

Jesus gave us the Great Commission, telling us to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations”. And when we accomplish this task, then He will return! Global Frontier Missions exists to mobilize, train, and multiply disciples and churches especially among unreached people groups. We would love to help you or your church “adopt” or engage one of the remaining unreached people groups of the world.

For more research and information concerning unreached people groups, please visit Joshua Project or the IMB Global Research Department. Ethnopedia is a great resource to get involved with reaching UPGs in many different languages. For information and research on people groups coming to the United States where you can search by state or zip code, check out PeopleGroups.info.

This video is part of our five week Step In study which is designed for small groups to learn about God’s heart for the nations and explore next steps in Great Commission involvement.

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