What is an Unreached People Group? Why Japan?
Matthew 24:14 says, "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." Matthew 28:19 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,"
It is clear, if you read the Bible, that God loves all nations! We, as followers of Jesus, should presumably love all nations as well!
What then, is a "nation" or "ethne" in the way Jesus used the word? (These days, in order to clarify the matter, we often hear the words, "people group".)
Ralph Winter writes:
"In March 1982 a group of mission leaders came together in Chicago for a meeting sponsored by the Lausanne Strategy Working Group. It was designed to help bring clarity and definition to the remaining missionary task. At no time before or since this meeting has as large or as representative a group gathered for two days to focus specifically upon the necessary definitions for strategy to reach the unreached peoples. Two basic definitions came from this meeting;
1. A People Group is 'a significantly large grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have common affinity for one another because of their shared language, religion, ethnicity, residence, occupation, class or caste, situation, etc., or a combination of these.'
2. An Unreached People Group is 'a group within which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize this people group.'"
Now maybe some are thinking, "Well, if these groups have two or three Christians, then aren't they reached?" But let's step back to consider this more deeply. Without greater numbers of Christian support, these Christians themselves are in danger of losing their faith and or dying out.
More than this, let us consider:
Because Jesus loves all nations, we should love Muslim peoples. We should love communist-controlled peoples, we should love people groups that hate us! Because Jesus loves all nations, we should give ourselves to the task of REALLY reaching all nations, just as Jesus has promised they would be.
Well, where does Japan fit in? Japan is currently the second largest unreached people group in the world. For most this comes as a shock. Less than .5% of Japanese are evangelical Christians, and therefore Japanese do not have the numbers to effectively evangelize their own people group without significant outside help.
How could such an advanced country be so missed in the commission that God gave to all of his disciples, not to mention all of his disciples living today? If you would like more information on how you can pray for or help Japan, please leave your e-mail address in the comment section below and I will contact you.