Reaching the Unreached
The Problem, the Resources and the Strategy
Asia-Pacific is home to more than 4 billion people—over half the world’s population. The vast majority do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and many live without a church of any kind in their community. In the words of noted Asian church history scholar Scott Sunquist:
“Christianity began in Asia, but Asia has been the least hospitable region for Jesus and his followers….In every other continent, even in the islands of the Pacific, Christianity has grown in large part by the support or protection of rulers. This was not the experience of Asian Christians. I don’t think we can emphasize this too much.”
The Joshua Project website (joshuaproject.net) tracks detailed statistical information on people groups around the world. They classify “Frontier Peoples” as those with less than 1 Christian per 1000 people. There are 38 Frontier Peoples that have a population of over 10 million, and the majority of these largest unreached people groups are in Asia:
At the same time, Asia is home to a number of healthy, locally led churches. According to 2021 statistical reports, there are over 100,000 Wesleyan church members in Asia-Pacific. So, Asia-Pacific has both overwhelming need and encouraging signs of the Spirit’s movement. In light of these realities, what are the most strategic ways we can engage in the Great Commission in this most populated, least reached continent?
The 5 Phases
Global Partners takes a strategic approach to grow local churches in global communities. It is a Five-Phase approach that includes building relationships, making disciples, and investing in local leaders and the churches they plant – so that sustainable, locally led churches continue to multiply long after missionaries have moved on.
Global Partners accomplishes this Five Phase strategy by sending missionaries and by facilitating the development of churches. We resource missionaries to ensure they are prepared, supported and healthy to effectively serve at every Phase. We coach and convene national leaders from established churches as they step up to lead missional advancement in their areas and beyond.
To illustrate how this strategy works, let me tell you a story about a lady we’ll call *Nancy.
*Nancy was from an unreached people group—in fact, she was from one of the 38 “Frontier Peoples” described above.
*Nancy had a very difficult life. Her prospects were bleak. She was lost in every sense of the word. One day, she met Jesus, and her life started to change. She grew in her faith, and she wanted to share her faith with others.
She connected with Global Partners missionaries working in her country, and together, they begin to organize Perspectives courses, which offer education and training for Asians who wanted to become missionaries themselves. At one time she was leading up to 75 Asians through the Perspectives course.
When COVID began in 2020, the first countries that were impacted were in Asia. I remember meeting with national leaders from a number of countries over Zoom. Leader after leader shared about the hardships their churches were facing. Members were unable to find work to feed their families, much less support their pastors.
*Nancy was participating in this Zoom call. She was moved by the need to help her brothers and sisters from other countries. Over the coming months, she raised over $100,000 USD from house churches in her closed country to provide essentials for these churches in other Asian countries. Like the Macedonian church described in 2 Corinthians 8:2: “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
In 2021, *Nancy became the first member of The Wesleyan Church from her country. She continued to passionately and faithfully train new missionaries. She was giving her full life to the advancement of God’s kingdom…all while battling stage 4 cancer herself.
This March 14, 2022, *Nancy passed away, while still a young woman. One of her dying wishes was that a training program for pastors be started in her country. Today, 11 students from her country are participating in an underground training course, preparing to be ordained pastors one day.
Think of all the unreached peoples that will have access to the gospel as a result of Nancy’s life.
You Play a Part
Because of your partnership, Global Partners is able resource, coach and partner with missionaries and national leaders serving in each of the 5 Phases. Some are pioneer church planting; others are facilitating the development of multiplying church networks.
Thank you for supporting the work of Global Partners, so we can see more people like Nancy raised up to reach their own people, until every person in the world has a transforming gospel presence in their community.