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The Use of Christian Money and Personnel Among the Unreached People Groups and Bibleless People Groups

I am often defensive when the topic of money, and how I how I ought to spend it, is being preached at me. So I am well aware that discussing money and missions can be a sensitive subject, especially during the current, world-wide financial turmoil. It is not my intention to make any individual, congregation or agency feel guilty about their allocation of funds or personnel. Guilt may be a strong motivator in the world, but it has no place in Christian discourse unless it is to point to God’s grace to alleviate it. My sense is that outside of a small circle of informed Christians, most of us are unaware of the disparity between the resources spent on the reached and those spent on the unreached and Bibleless people groups of the world. Armed with knowledge of the reality of this situation, I believe we will begin to realign our mission monies and personnel.


So, I offer some pertinent facts. In 2004, according to Mission Frontiers, Christians gave about two hundred and thirteen billion dollars to Christian endeavors, including their local congregation. $213,000,000,000. Wow! That is a lot of zeros (yet it amounts to less than two percent of their earned income). Of that amount, only 11.4 billion dollars, or 5.4%, went to foreign missions. The bulk of that mission money, 87%, was allocated to mission work among those people groups that have already been reached. Ministries to the unreached made do with the remaining 13%. The bottom line is that only .000918% of all funds contributed to Christian causes (that’s nine cents out of every one hundred dollars) went to works concentrating on unreached people groups.


I recently discovered a great tool for showing this disparity. Rev. Shari Hobby, Co-Director Ethne, has developed a tool to “visually and experientially” impress a congregation or small group with the reality of the number of unreached peoples and the paucity of resources concentrated on them. The tool consists of a set of note cards that can be marked and distributed to among any gathering. You can find the procedure for marking the cards in Rev. Shari’s paper, DEVELOPING A PERSPECTIVE OF WORLD MISSION. I encourage you to use the tool.


Another recent discovery for me was an outstanding student developed and maintained website by the name of The Traveling Team with the purpose “to glorify God by educating and equipping college students to become World Christians who fulfill their responsibility in World Evangelization.” In Lesson 4 of their resources they point out that only 4% of foreign missions work force is working to reach unreached people groups. The other 96% labor among the reached.


On the first of this month, (Nov. 2008), the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly concluded in Pattaya, Thailand. They adopted six resolutions, one of which concerned the worldwide financial crisis. “While we hope that the painful consequences of the turmoil will be mitigated, our concern is that its impact will continue to permeate into more regions and economies of the world. We recognize that this economic crisis will have the most painful impact on the poor, who are the most vulnerable.” The resolution went on to call on Christians to care for the poor during the crisis and live simply and generously.


While trusting in the Lord to provide for the unreached people groups of the world, I must be honest that I wonder if efforts directed toward them might suffer greatly. Join with me in prayer that the unreached people groups and those working among them may truly experience the presence of the Lord in their lives and that their lives may be changed on this earth and the one to come. What are you seeing or foreseeing concerning the impact of the world financial crisis on the unreached people groups and missions working among them?


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