Population estimates project India will pass China as the world’s most populous country sometime this summer with about 1.4286 billion people. Of course, these are the experts’ best guesses. Without exact census data, it’s possible India already has.
The international community has seen this coming for a long time. China, which for long has dominated the world population charts, has been slipping for decades as a result of its one-child policy. Like many developed nations, its population is aging.
AP News has reported, “India has a much younger population, a higher fertility rate and a decrease in infant mortality over the last three decades.”
There are more than a few Indians living and working abroad, too. There are millions of Indian expats working in the Arabian Peninsula region. Despite the fact that I live in the Middle East, there are more Indians in my country than any other single nationality, outnumbering the indigenous population more than three to one! South Asians (including Nepalis, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis) make up the majority of the country.
That’s part of the reason our team have focused our efforts more on the South Asian expat laborer population. We want to see them touched by Christ, activated, trained, equipped, and sent back to their home countries with the Good News. Here’s a photo I took nearby several large companies’ accommodations.
The church, more broadly, needs to take notice of these trends if we want to finish the Great Commission.
I’m also deeply moved by the local witness already in India. My heart goes out to the heroic indigenous pastors and believers who face daily persecution in an increasingly hostile environment to share the Good News.
They have a huge task and monumental challenge in front of them.
One of my close friends lived in India for several years, and he described each of its 28 states as feeling like separate countries. Over 20 languages are listed as official in the constitution, and there are 14 languages with over five million speakers. Some say there are thousands of unique tongues spoken in the various corners of the nation.
There are 2,223 unreached ethnolinguistic groups (groups with a similar ethnicity and language) in India. That’s an incredible concentration of diversity! If you add the number of unique people groups that are unreached in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the rest of the top ten, it still falls short of India, the #1.
More unique unreached people groups reside in India than the next ten nations combined.
Let’s be honest… Where is the harvest?
The road to completing the Great Commission runs straight through South Asia.
Let’s believe for it, pray for it, and work for it, together.