NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A people group shares a basic identity
and view of the world.
Individuals within a people group frequently have the same
language, culture, history, customs and family/clan identities.
From a missions perspective, a people group is the largest
group through which the gospel can flow without encountering significant
barriers of understanding and acceptance.
An unreached people group is comprised of less than 2
percent evangelical Christians.
Your church can play a key role in bringing an unreached
people group to Christ.
Adopting a people group helps churches take an active and
direct role in missions.
Pray for God’s guidance
As in any spiritual endeavor, your search for an unreached
people group to adopt must begin with prayer.
Discover church’s natural affinity (DNA)
Do you already have a connection to an International
Mission Board (IMB) missionary? Have you sent out a missionary from your
Do you have a parent or children of missionaries who are
Has a team been on a mission trip where they felt a connection
to the people group(s)?
What are the skills and spiritual gifts of your church
- What people groups live near your church or its members?
Check out www.peoplegroups.info to find people groups in your area.
Determine your church’s expectations
- Do you want to commit to pray for an unreached people
group? To be a prayer partner, call (888) 462-7729 or find prayer resources at
- Is your church ready to pray and connect with a missionary
on the mission field by going on multiple volunteer trips?
Is your church ready to pray and become the “missionary”
to an unreached people group that has no missionary working among them? Are you
ready to study the culture, develop the strategy and take ownership of reaching
a people group that may never hear about Christ unless you go?
Identify a missions champion
- Has God laid a particular people or part of the world on
the heart of one or more church members?
- Are they ready to find ways to take the gospel to those
who have little or no access to it?
- Who in the church will be the point person to communicate
with those on the field?
- Is this person willing to be trained in security measures
to allow communication to restricted areas where there is a lack of openness to
- Can this person help influence the congregation to focus
prayer for your unreached people group?
- Are they willing to lead teams and work with church and
IMB field leaders?
- Do you feel led to reach a megacity or a rural area or
something in between?
- Are there volunteer opportunities available that might
help you discover the people or area of the world where God is leading you?
Explore opportunities at going.imb.org.
- Has your state convention or local association adopted an
unreached people group?
- Assign teams or individuals to research various people
groups and areas at peoplegroups.org.
If you feel led to a specific area but have not yet
selected a people group, contact an IMB mobilization specialist assigned to
your state at (800) 999-3113, ext. 1667, or go to the “Lead Your Church”
section at imb.org, and find “Church Services.”
Celebrate God’s direction
Once you have determined your adopted people group, follow
God’s leadership, find ways to bring the whole church into the process and meet
with church leaders to plan a celebration time.
Communicate, follow through and
- Learn from field personnel.
- Connect with other churches to multiply your efforts.
- Communicate with field personnel as your team trains and
Keep your commitments. Building trust is vital.
Follow-through will lead to more opportunities.
- Evaluate your role every year. If God leads you in another
direction, communicate this to the field and other churches that have joined in
this effort and develop a strategic exit plan.
To learn more about adopting a people group, go to the “Lead
Your Church” section of imb.org.
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