The people represent the 5.25 billion people in the world. The half on my right represents 3.05 billion people who are within reach of the gospel. That means they can hear about Jesus; most likely, a significant portion of the Bible, if not the entire Bible has been translated into their language, and there already exists a church in their culture.
The first person represents the Active Christians. (Bible) The Active Christians know Jesus personally and share Jesus with others.
The next two people represent Nominal Christians (Name tags with Christian written on them) They are Christians in name only, thus the name tags. They think going to church or having Christian parents makes them a Christian.
These three people represent Non-Christians within reach of the gospel. (Sunglasses) They have opportunity to hear the gospel, but they're blinded to spiritual truths and are living in darkness. The Non-Christian whose neighbour is a Christian and who lives down the street from an ............ church fits into this category.
Now, let's look to the other half of the world. the represent 2.2 billion people who are beyond the reach of the gospel. The most likely do not have a Bible in their own language and are definitely without a church in their culture. These people currently have no culturally relevant witness. Each person standing here represents not specific people groups, but rather, as you will see, large blocks of unreached peoples.
One person represents the Atheist/Non-religious population. (Red scarf) This includes many in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Albania and China. These people have been raised believing that there is no God.
The next two represent Muslims. (Head-dresses) Muslims believe that Allah is God and Mohammed is his prophet. The believe that Jesus was a prophet, but not the son of God. One fifth of the world's population is Muslim, yet there are more missionaries in the state of Alaska than there are in the entire Muslim world. Many Muslims are Arab, but the Muslim world reaches from South East Asia to Europe and across Africa.
One person represents the Hindus. (Dot on the forehead) Hindus live mainly in India and Nepal. The believe in and fear millions of gods. The believe n reincarnation. They too believe that you that you should be born again... and again, and again...
We'll let the last person represent two blocs of people: Buddhists and Tribals. (Orange sash and sabre-tooth necklace) Buddhists priests wear orange and the people follow the teachings of Buddha. Most are found in Thailand, Japan and China. Tribal people live in constant fear of evil spirits and many worship their ancestors.
So, this is the world. Take note, again, the distinction between these two groups of people. While there are many non-Christians in the half of the world which is within reach of the gospel, nevertheless, these non-Christians are within the reach of the church. They most likely have a Bible in their own language and can hear about Christ in an understandable way, as well as go to a culturally relevant church.
But in half of the world which is beyond the reach of the gospel, the people are truly separated from the gospel. There is no living witness of Christ in their own language and culture, and very rarely any form of the gospel in print.
This world view isn't complete yet, however. We need to include the missionary force! I need 10 more volunteers. Come on missionaries. As ............ gives you your pith helmets, I will commission you. "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Now at the count of three I want you to go and stand in front of the people that you think have the greatest need to hear about Jesus. 1, 2, 3, go!
That's encouraging.! Most of our missionaries went to the half of the world that is beyond the reach of the gospel. If this was really the way it is, I could see real progress in world evangelization. But, unfortunately, this is not an accurate picture. I'll have to re-arrange the missionaries to show where they are really going today.
(Remove all but on missionary from the unreached half and send them over to the half within reach.)
For every ten missionaries that go out cross-culturally, which means learning a new language and culture, nine of them go to the half of the world within reach of the gospel and only one goes to the half which is beyond reach. In fact, out of all the full-time Christian workers: pastors, teachers and missionaries, 140 of them are in the half of the world which is within reach while only one goes to half of the world which is beyond reach.
Now we're not saying that all of these missionaries should move over to the other side, because as you can see, they are needed where they are. But we do want to see a new wave of missionaries raised up to go to the half of the world which is beyond reach. In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus said "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."