“Unsaved” and “unreached” are not the same. Here’s why it matters

By December 8, 2021

International (MNN) — Theologian and pastor John Piper once said, “You have three choices in world missions: be a joyful, sacrificial goer, be a joyful, sacrificial sender, or be disobedient.”

Which one are you?

“People who love Jesus and understand the price of their salvation, we don’t want them to be in the ‘disobedient’ category. We want them to be part of the process of taking the Gospel to these people (the unreached),” missiologist Marv Newell says.

(Graphic courtesy of A Third of Us)

Newell heads up the Alliance for the Unreached. It’s a coalition raising awareness of unreached people groups and calling Christians to action under the “A Third of Us” banner. A third of the world is denied access to the Gospel.

“When we say that a third of humanity is unreached, we’re talking about people who have no access to the Gospel whatsoever,” Newell says.

“There are no churches nearby, no believers. There’s no Bible in their language.”

Unreached vs. unsaved

The Alliance helps believers throughout North America understand key differences between Christian terms like “unreached,” “unsaved,” “unengaged,” and more. For example, “just because people are unsaved doesn’t mean that they’re unreached,” Newell says.

He says your neighbor down the street who doesn’t believe in Jesus, for example, is not unreached. Your presence means that neighbor has at least one access point to the Gospel. Unreached communities have no Christian witness whatsoever.

“They’re unsaved,” Newell says, referring to the theoretical neighbor. “But they are reached with the Gospel because the Gospel permeates the environment in which they live. They might be ignoring it or denying it, but that doesn’t mean they’re unreached,” he continues.

“It would be very difficult to say people in America are unreached; we have the Gospel available in so many different ways and avenues.”

You can help a third of humanity know Jesus by drawing three lines on your hand. Learn more here.

“Many parts of the world are living in Gospel poverty. They simply don’t have it,” Newell says.

“Not giving a person the opportunity to understand salvation through Jesus Christ is one of the greatest injustices in the world.”



A third of the world is still denied access to the Gospel. Do you want to help give everyone a chance to know Jesus? Take step one today. Draw the symbol somewhere visible and then talk about it! (Photo, caption courtesy of A Third of Us)

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