Statistics can be mind-boggling. Think of the following with missions as our interest, keeping in mind a world population of 7.2 billion people:
Muslims: 1.7 billion
Roman Catholics: 1.2 billion
Hindus: 985 million
Buddhist: 520 million
Christians: 532 million
Unreached People Groups:1
Shaikh in Bangladesh: 135,161,000
Japanese in Japan: 120,830,000 2
Shaikh in India: 77,725,000
Brahman in India: 58,346,000
Lest we get ourselves too much bogged down by statistics (e.g. arguing over which people group forms the largest pocket of Unreached People Groups, which I think gets us nowhere), what’s obvious is that of the imposing needs in world missions. Besides, as K.P. Yohannan says, ‘Missions is not applied anthropology, comparative religion or sociology. It is storming the gates of hell. It is a power confrontation—hand-to-hand combat with Satan and his demons.’ 3
With this in mind, it calls for us to do our part (instead of simply playing with the numbers game), to ask as to what can we do to make a difference? For one, it is that of prayer – since, as noted above, missions is spiritual battle. What do we pray about? Here’s a suggestion – our AGM has come and gone (just last Sunday). I recall the chairman of our church, Elder Andrew Lim, making a suggestion in a recent past AGM, to make use of the ministry reports as a prayer bulletin.
Great suggestion! Turn to the section on missions (pg. 39) which gives us a good summary of our missionaries and mission fields. For example, consistently pray for Stephan and Keiko, ministering to, if not the largest, the second largest Unreached People Group. Pray for our other missionaries in the front-line of ministry.4 Our prayers do make a difference.5
1 One definition says, ‘An unreached people group is a people group or ethnic group within which there is no viable indigenous church or churches with sufficient strength, resources, and commitment to sustain and ensure the continuous multiplication of churches.’
2 Depending on which statistics we use, some place the Japanese as having the largest number.
4 And since we are flipping through the report, pray for other needs, e.g. that which was highlighted during last week’s AGM on our ministry to children.
5 For regular updates, take note of our church’s prayer service calendar where regular updates are made during the services.
Elder Richard Lai