Statistics about workers and the work in restricted access areas are difficult to come by; and they are difficult to validate. This is why we limit our use of them. However, statistics are a useful tool. They help us visualize the world around us. This is why we use them. We want to help people get a picture of the incredible needs that still exist in our world.
One of these incredible needs is how few followers of Christ actually live and work among the peoples that comprise the Unseen 1/4.
I worked among one of these peoples for over 25 years. The people I worked among currently number over 60 million. In all those years the workers who could speak their language and meaningfully interact with them were deplorably few in number. It was a difficult area of the world to get to, and the context was difficult to endure for any length of time, and the language was difficult to learn. For a brief time in those twenty five years, the statistic was about one worker (local and expat) to a million people. It is significantly less now.
So, when we in Interserve say only 3% of all Christian workers work among the Unseen 1/4, we say this not because we can verify this with 100 percent accuracy, we say this because 1) the Lausanne Congress put forth this statistic in 2007, 2) we know that the bulk of Christian workers go to areas of the world that are “christianized” in some manner, and 3) we know what we see in the regions where we work. Jesus’ followers, local and expatriate, who are intentionally living among and interacting with the Unseen 1/4 are deplorably few in number. We are desperate to change this.