There are currently 2.7 billion people, nearly a third of the earth's population, that have little or no meaningful access to the Gospel, according to Orlando-based mission agency Pioneers USA.
Pioneer USA also reports that missions experts say, of all the foreign missionaries serving around the globe, only one out of every 10 is actually ministering among these 2.7 billion unreached people – which means about 90 percent of missionaries serve people that already have access to the Gospel.
Pioneers wants to change that by reaching out to people groups that don’t have access to the Gospel through their "Close the Gap" Campaign. To date, they have secured $475,000 in a matching gift from an anonymous donor for the campaign.
Eric Thomas, director of development for Pioneer USA, said that the 2012 initiative is raising money to highlight three things: security, sending and training for missionaries.
The training aspect is focused specifically on church planting. They want more churches planted overseas by Pioneers missionaries, but they also want missionaries to teach locals how to plant new churches in surrounding areas.
Thomas said their focus is on the Great Commission and “equipping missionaries and national partners in church planting movements” throughout the world.
Another big part of the new campaign is raising money for the security and well-being of their missionaries. Thomas said they have many missionaries in countries that are dangerous, and they want to ensure they are providing support and protection for those serving.
The last part of the campaign is focused on sending missionaries to unreached people groups, but along with that, they want to continue sending more missionaries to serve on already established teams throughout the world as well.
Pioneers has missionaries serving in locations all over the world, from Southeast Asia to Central Africa and the Middle East.
The missions group also has a large focus on Indonesia, trying to reach the most populous Muslim country in the world. In a video on the Pioneers website, one of their missionaries talks about work in Indonesia. He said small groups of Muslim seekers and new believers are gathering to study the Bible. They have house churches led in the native language and when one house church reaches 12 members, they send out people to start a new one so that they continue multiplying.
The missionary in the video spoke about the mission in Indonesia, which ties in to why Pioneers sends out their missionaries. “Local believers need someone to encourage and model ministry…To be trained and sent out, multiplying churches,” he said.
Pioneers began over 30 years ago and now partners with more than 2,000 churches to sends 1,900 missionaries throughout the world. They focus on people groups with the least opportunity to hear and understand the Gospel. According to its website, Pioneers’ role as a missionary agency is to “recruit, train, and support missionaries who serve in difficult environments around the world.”