According to the Joshua Project, there are a little under 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, living among 3,317 different people groups. Scroll through this list and see how many of these people groups have 0.00% evangelical Christians. If we are serious about the Great Commission then we must be serious about reaching these groups that make up nearly 25% of the world’s population.
Last week I pointed out that those who go as missionaries must go with courage, expecting to suffer. They also must go with hope, expecting to see people saved. Many Muslims are hungry for the gospel and thousands are coming to Christ every month. In the most recent issue of Mission Frontiers, David Taylor describes a few of these developments:
In Iran, a strong underground church movement continues to emerge with thousands of house fellowships multiplying throughout the country. Surveys in the country indicate that Christian satellite broadcasting in Farsi, which began in the year 2000, is being viewed by well over half the population. Equally impressive are the results of radio and satellite broadcasting throughout the Arab world. One ministry, SAT7, has a regular audience of 8.5 million people. In North Africa, the Berbers are responding to the gospel in massive numbers, with one movement among the Kabyle encompassing several hundred thousand believers.
Iran is #2 on the World Watch List of Christian persecution, and Kabyle Christians in Algeria have faced increasing persecution since 2006. Yet the church is growing exponentially in both places. Paul’s words, written from Ephesus nearly 2000 years ago, describe the present reality well: “A wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor 16:9). We should prepare to withstand the adversaries, but we should focus much more on the wide open doors for effective work.
The open doors evidenced by recent developments in Iran and Algeria should encourage us to go with hope. However, we don’t hear good news like this everywhere. In fact, good news from Iran could be discouraging to a gospel worker serving in a place where he sees no fruit. What about all those people groups with 0.00% evangelical Christians?
God has promised to open doors among every tribe, and every people, and every language (Rev. 5:9). Jesus once encouraged a bruised and battered Paul by telling him, “I have many in this city who are my people.” Those same words apply to the most hostile and most unreached peoples on earth. We will suffer as we go, but we should go in faith. As Adoniram Judson once said, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.”