What is an “Unreached People Group?” (UPG)

“In early December, 1995, under the auspices of the AD2000 Movement, Christian leaders from 77 countries met in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to launch Joshua Project 2000 – a five-year initiative to help establish church planting movements in strategic places around the world. At the heart of Joshua Project 2000 were approximately 1,700 peoples whom mission leaders have agreed are most in need of a church planting effort. Of these 2.2 billion ‘Joshua Project Peoples,’ nearly 90% live in the 10/40 Window.”

At the Billy Graham Conference on Evangelism at Amsterdam, the Joshua Project 2000 suggested targeting 253 UPGs with the following characteristics.

  1. Country-distinct peoples – if a single people live in more than one country they are counted as many times as countries they live in. For example, the Kazakh people live in nine Central Asian countries. They appear nine times on the Joshua Project list.
  2. Population – 10,000 and above in a given country.
  3. Ethno-linguistic distinction – peoples are defined by their ethno-linguistic characteristics only. Cultural, social and religious distinctions are not included in this list.
  4. Less than 2% Evangelical (true regenerate believers)
  5. Less than 5% Christian adherents (broadest possible definition of Christian, includes nominal, Orthodox, Catholic, anyone that would call themselves a Christian. Not necessarily regenerate.)

    (Text of the five points just above was taken from People File, a CD-ROM resource available from Global Mapping International at GMI.org)