The kingdom of God, once established in a people group through a gospel movement, becomes like an orchard—the community of believing households demonstrate God’s kingdom in a way that bears multiplying fruit, and this community of faith requires tending for greater fruitfulness, and guarding against complacency and other threats.
Three fourths of the world lives in people groups where such an orchard has been established—where reproducing communities of believing households are bearing fruit.
Some of these orchards are young, and have barely begun bearing fruit—amidst a sea of lost households within their own people group. These younger orchards need special care and attention, often amidst persecution to reach maturity.
Other orchards are more mature—with the gospel being more widely known and generally having had widespread impact, and with faith in Christ being commonly considered acceptable. Mature orchards often need tending against the complacency that comes without persecution.
Yet there are other fields (people groups) where the first orchards are practically non-existent, and still need to be established through pioneer mission work. An estimated 25% of the world lives in these Frontier People Groups (FPGs).
Only God knows all the places where believing households have begun reproducing; however the researchers at Joshua Project estimate that:
- 60% of the world lives in 10,000 people groups with mature orchards—where Christians are more than 5% (one in 20) and/or Evangelicals are more than 2% (one in 50). (Evangelicals are a measurable approximation for what God seeks—Spirit-led Christ followers who worship Him in spirit and truth.)
- 15% lives in 2,300 people groups with young orchards—where believing households demonstrate God’s blessing through Christ, but most of the lost may be unfamiliar with the gospel. This subset of Unreached People Groups has more than 0.1% Christians (one in a thousand), and up to 2% (one in 50) Spirit-led Christ followers, but 5% (on in 20) or less Christians.
- The remaining 25% lives in 4,800 Frontier People Groups—where the first believing households are still 0.1% (one in a thousand) or less of the population. In many of these groups there may be no community of believing households yet at all. In these FPGs, the lost have little or no opportunity to see what it looks like to follow Christ among their own peoples—without being perceived as betraying their family, their people, and their generational identity.
The finishable missionary task
The responsibility for tending all orchards in maturity or to maturity will continue until Christ returns. These are the many pursuable ministries of the global Church, to be sought in partnership with local believing households.
The Great Commission starts in each people group with one finishable step—establishing the first enduring community of believing households as an orchard that can grow to maturity as they are taught to obey everything Jesus commanded (Mt. 28:19–20).
The great imbalance
There is a great imbalance today in the allocation of Christian prayer, ministry and giving. Most of these resources go to tending the mature orchards among the 60% of the world’s population. A much smaller portion goes toward strengthening the new orchards in the 15%. And almost none of the Church’s resources go to the finishable task of starting new orchards in every Frontier People Group.
Jesus urged leaving the 99 who are safe to rescue the one in peril.
What would Jesus say about this 25%—where the gospel is not yet known to be bearing fruit?
God’s Word is clear. All nations will be blessed (Gen 12:3, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14, etc.)
Some day every people group will have a gospel orchard, with both fruit and leaves of healing (Rev 22:2) both for their own people group, and all for all people groups.
90% of the population of all FPGs are found in just 400 large, influential Frontier People Groups. As multiplying communities of believing households receive and demonstrate God’s blessing in these people groups, their experience and demonstration of God’s blessing will make it much easier to start gospel movements among the many smaller FPGs.
Christ is calling His global body to complete the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham—to bless/disciple all the family lines (peoples) on earth.
This starts in waiting on the Holy Spirit’s leading and empowering, just as the first disciples did in Acts.
Starting with reliance on the Holy Spirit, you and your family (or group) can play a key role in blessing any one of these strategically large, neglected Frontier People Groups.
- Sign up below to learn more.
- Seek the Lord to discover your people group.
- Join others in praying for and blessing your people.