Great Commission milestone reachable by 2020, experts say


By Michael Ashcraft and Mark Ellis

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come." (Matt.24:14)
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matt.24:14)

Today, there are 1,600 unreached ethnic groups, the U.S. Center for World Mission estimates. About 300 new people groups are being engaged by missionary workers each year for the first time, according to David Taylor, a leader at the U.S. Center.

This means that by the year 2020 all remaining unreached groups will receive an introduction to the gospel, according to their projections.

Such a dramatic fulfillment of Bible prophecy (that the gospel will be preached to all peoples before the end will come, given in Matt.24 & 28) has been the quest of evangelicalism.

Undertaking the daunting task of reaching 3,000 unreached groups, a task force at the U.S. Center eight years ago began coordinating conferences, efforts and prayers to launch missionaries into the remaining unreached parts of the world.

“Within our lifetimes, we are going to be able to say that for the first time since Jesus gave the Great Commission, we have finished the task of ‘beginning’ – getting missionaries to every nation, tribe, people and language,” Taylor says.

“I can’t help but think, it is our generation that will witness the 2,000-year anniversary of the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus,’” he says.

“Wouldn’t it be an amazing Christmas gift if by that time we will be able to say, ‘Here are the rewards of your suffering, people from every nation, tribe, people and language, worshipping and representing your name form Jerusalem to the ends of the earth,’” Taylor says. “We are closer than ever to that reality coming to pass.”

Founded in 1976, the U.S. Center for World Mission conducts research, innovates solutions to overcome barriers, and utilizes media to promote preaching of the gospel worldwide.

As part of the overall effort, the Presbyterian Church in Mexico, representing 5,000 churches with a total of 2 million members, launched a “sending program” and began to devise a manual for church planting, Taylor noted.

“There are literally thousands of denominations with millions of members in the non-Western world which do not have mission sending programs,” Taylor notes. “This was one of the major oversights of the mission work of the last century.”

The Mexican Presbyterian Church will host a missionary conference next year with 1,200 participants, Taylor says.

In December, the U.S. Center for World Mission is praying for the Middle East, with an initiative dubbed “Light the Window.” Plays are underway to form an association for indigenous mission organizations in the 10-40 window, a latitudinal swath of the earth through Northern Africa, the Middle East and China that represents the area of the globe least-reached by the gospel.

More than 70% of missionaries today are from non-Western world, Taylor notes.

“Let’s double-up our efforts and give it our all in this final sprint to the end!”


  1. I strongly suggest you emphasize the whole great commission. including the part about “teaching them tho obey everything I commanded you.” I am afraid too many people believe that that is all we have to do, but baptizing them is only the first part of a very complicated process, seeing every nation, tongue, tribe, etc. worshiping AND living as the followers of Christ should.

    Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

  2. Matthew 28:14 the Gospel will be preached to the nations and the whole world will be saved and the world will end. Number one I have never read that scripture if I did I did not comprehend its meaning although it seems very clear to me now! and to know by the year 2020 more unreached people will know of the Gospel is so awesome. I pray that I will be a part of the mission group to have touched the unreached people of the world! Thank God for building a people who are willing to go out among His people and spread the word all around the world, so that they might be saved. Not just the lost but everyone might be saved. AMEN

  3. Thank you for the great work you are doing! We truly are living in exciting times as we look forward to the return of Jesus. I agree, new converts must be baptized and discipled according to Matt 28:19,20, which is the challenge, as this means to make sure that the converts are firmly established in a congregation. May I ask a question, please? How does one break the ground in an Islamic country? Yes, I know through prayer and probably this is the only way, but my heart breaks as I watch them walking in malls, visiting them, speaking with them, but you have to wait for them to ask questions about our faith, before you may ever so carefully offer an answer. I look into their eyes, longing to tell them about Jesus … but you may not. Satan’s strong hold on their culture send them straight into hell! It breaks my Lord’s heart.

    Just by the way, I run an internet outreach and am praying that it somehow penetrates into homes where the Gospel is not allowed.

    Much love,

  4. I love missions and seeing the gospel being proclaimed among unreached people groups. I was also privileged to serve in Malaysia from 2001-2007 among the Malay people. However, Matthew 24:14 is not a prophecy for our future, but rather was fulfilled before Jesus’ own generation passed away (Matthew 24:34). We can’t overlook the testimonies of Scripture itself:

    [1] “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven… And they were amazed and astonished, saying… ‘we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God’” (Acts 2:5-11).

    [2] “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world” (Romans 1:8).

    [3] “Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations…” (Romans 16:25-26).

    [4] “…the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing… (Colossians 1:5-6).

    [5] “…if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister (Colossians 1:23).

    The “end” that Jesus spoke of was the end of the old covenant age (70 AD), not the alleged end of the world. The phrase “the whole world” or “all nations” in Matthew 24 meant what it did in Luke 2:1 when it was said that “the entire world” was registered in the days of Caesar Augustus, i.e. the known world or the Roman Empire (cf. Acts 24:5). Eusebius (263-339), the early church father, said this when commenting on Matthew 24:

    “Thus, under the influence of heavenly power, and with the divine co-operation, the doctrine of the Saviour, like the rays of the sun, quickly illumined the whole world; [1] and straightway, in accordance with the divine Scriptures, [2] the voice of the inspired evangelists and apostles went forth through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world; the Apostles preached the Gospel in all the world, and some of them passed beyond the bounds of the ocean, and visited the Britannic isles.”

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