Praying for Unreached People Groups
August 27, 2019
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.
March: The Xiang People
There are approximately 35.5 million Xiang Chinese, mostly living in the Hunan Province. The Xiang are traditionally acknowledged as the most stubborn and proud of all the Chinese peoples. Long after the rest of the empire was open to missionary activity, Hunan kept its gates firmly closed against foreigners.
Recently there has been an upsurge in religious interest in Hunan as people seek answers to the spiritual void in their hearts. In 1861, Welsh missionary Griffith John met a Hunan military mandarin, who "boasted of the glory and martial courage of the Hunan men, and said there was no danger of them ever believing in Jesus or of his religion taking root there." The pride of the Xiang has made them the most unreached of all Han Chinese peoples. The entire Christian population of Hunan is numbered at no more than 120,000. Additionally, because of internal strife, the Hunan church has been described as a "disaster area."
Pray that God will call Chinese believers to live among the Xiang to begin sharing Jesus and making disciples. Pray that healthy, indigenous churches will begin and grow in every village where they live.
Pray that the young people who live in larger cities will hear the gospel, believe, and then have a burden to share their new faith with relatives and friends in their home villages.
Pray that evangelistic and discipleship materials will be developed in Xiang.
Pray a church in the city of Liupanshui will look beyond their walls and reach this people group for Christ.
For the few believers among the Xiang, ask that God will mature them in their faith, strengthen their work and give them a burden for the lost.