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International Day for the Unreached

"Most Christians in North America have no idea that a third of the world does not have access to the gospel."

May 23, 2021 is the International Day for the Unreached.

Why? Because for a third of our planet’s population, there is…

…no Bible,
…no church,
…no known believer nearby,
…no one reaching out to them with the truth of the gospel.

Most Christians in North America have no idea that a third of the world does not have access to the gospel. And for many of those who do give it some thought, a common perspective is disbelief that so many millions still have not heard about Jesus. Surely by this point in history just about everyone must have had an opportunity to hear at least once, right? The Great Commission has been the church’s principal assignment for about 2,000 years, and modern missions has been around for more than two centuries. 

In 1792, William Carey challenged his generation to “expect great things from God” and “attempt great things for God.” Carey is credited as the father of the modern missions movement, launching a sustained global effort to reach the unreached. Half a century later, Hudson Taylor influenced the significant expansion of modern missions with an emphasis on ministry to the unreached of inland China. Exactly 100 years after Carey’s challenge, in 1892, the World’s Gospel Union was founded, later to become known as Avant Ministries. It too focused its efforts on identifying and reaching the unreached, including notable pioneering efforts in places like Morocco and Ecuador, and ministry successes among speakers of the Quechua, Shuar, Waorani, Berber, Bambara, and Arabic languages, among others.

Two other 19th and early 20th century missions have merged with Avant in more recent years, both having also been founded to reach unreached peoples. The Evangelical Union of South America, founded in 1911, and Camino Global, founded in 1890, merged with Avant in 1975 and 2019 respectively. Many tens of thousands of unreached people have come to know Christ over the past 130 years, and several thousand churches have been planted because of God’s work through these ministries.

So why is Avant still as laser-focused on reaching the unreached today as it was in the 19th century? Simply put, despite great advancements in the modern missions era, the church globally, and perhaps especially the North American church, has not placed enough emphasis on the priority to reach the unreached. Global population growth, and the growth of major religions such as Islam and Hinduism, have outpaced the church’s efforts to finish the task of the Great Commission. Geopolitical instability and religious hostility have also been factors.

Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (to reach the unreached globally) was shared face to face with His disciples and re-awakened some 1,800 years later by Carey, Taylor and others. In 2021, the Commission is not yet completed!


  • 500 known people groups globally have no Christian presence and no one reaching out to them.
  • 70,000 people die every day without knowing Christ.
  • 495,000 villages in India alone have no Christian presence.
  • 2.5 billion people have seldom or never heard the name of Jesus!

Avant is focused on rapidly planting and developing churches in the unreached areas of the world. We define the term unreached to mean areas where 2% or less of the population are evangelical believers. This criterion is shared by the Joshua Project, which maintains data on the world’s unreached peoples. In the past 5 years alone, Avant has impacted and/or is currently engaged in ministries among 15 of Joshua Project’s list of the 50 largest unreached people groups in the world. And historically, Avant efforts have touched 19 of the groups on this list. The combined population of these unreached groups represents some 200 million people!

Sunday, May 23 is the International Day for the Unreached! Avant is a champion partner of the Alliance for the Unreached because our heart and vision for the unreached beats in sync with our partners who focus their efforts on sending, going and reaching them with the redemptive truth of God’s Word.

Help Avant bring awareness to thousands more about the third of the world who are still denied access to the Gospel.


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