Praying for Unreached People Groups
February 21, 2017
A people group is defined as an ethno-linguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the various members. For strategic purposes it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.
A people group is considered unreached (UPG) when there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage this people group with church planting. Technically speaking, the percentage of evangelical Christians in this people group is less than 2 percent. South Asia has the largest unreached people group population with 1.5 billion people who have little to no access to the gospel. Of the 11,741 people groups in the world (7.4 billion people), 7,024 are unreached (4.3 billion people).
Unreached people groups are unengaged (UUPG) when there is no church planting strategy, consistent with evangelical faith and practice, under way. Gathering believers and planting churches are the keys to establishing an effective and multiplying presence among these people groups. There are approximately 220 million people worldwide who are unreached and unengaged.
Please join us as we pray for unreached people groups each month. Pray that God will raise up laborers to take the gospel to these parts of the world. Pray for the truth of Christ to overcome the darkness.
February 2019: The Central Kurds
Today, Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a state of their own. They are unevenly distributed between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan. If the Middle East map were to be redrawn to give the Kurds their own boundaries, Kurdistan would be as large as France, stretching over 200,000 square miles.
The Kurds of Iraq live along the country's northeastern borders with Turkey and Iran. Most are farmers and all but a few thousand have given up the semi-nomadic lifestyle of the past in favor of settled farming. The Kurds of Iraq form nearly one third of the Iraqi population.
The Kurds of Syria make up about one tenth of the Syrian population. They live in two separate enclaves along the northern border with Turkey. In an effort to dilute the Kurdish population, Syria has relocated large numbers of them, perhaps 100,000 or more, into southern Syria and has settled them among the Arab population. By forcing Kurds to resettle and disperse, the Syrian government hopes to assimilate them into the larger Arab society and thus avoid a potential threat.
Although 99.95% of Kurds are Muslim, it has been said that they "hold their Islam lightly", meaning that they are not so strongly committed to Islam, and do not identify as closely with it as Arabs do. This is perhaps due to several factors, one being that many Kurds still feel some connection with the ancient Zoroastrian faith, and they feel it is an original Kurdish spirituality that far predates the seventh century AD arrival of Muhammad. Nonetheless, most Kurds are Muslims, and today about three quarters are members of the majority Sunni branch (at least nominally). As many as four million Kurds are Shiite Muslims, living mostly in Iran where the Shiite faith is predominant. (Information from Joshua Project.)
Pray for the Kurds who have been dispersed to hear the gospel and believe, and then take their faith back to their homelands so that many more can hear and respond.
For more information on how to pray for the Kurdish People, click here.