## Underengagement in Finishing the Task List

When looking at the Finishing the Task list of unreached, unengaged people groups, an important point should be born in mind (which was drawn out in a recent conversation I had with others): this is really more the starting point than the finish line. To illustrate this, I have taken the most recent FTT list from their website and slightly re-organized it as given below.

The important columns for consideration are the final three. “WN” is “Workers Needed” based on a ratio of 1 worker per 50,000 (a figure which I roughly agree with, since mine is one team per 100,000). The second column, “WC”, is for “workers confirmed”. This is the number of workers that FTT knows is already at work on church planting among the group. (This is not the same as, for example, disaster relief workers, etc.)

I have changed their “Status” column (the final one) with three new indicators: “Adequate” (where WN=WC), “Under” (where WC<WN) and “Over” (where WC>WN).

The results are very interesting:

Out of the 710 groups on the FTT list (which are by no means all of the groups that need workers, and more on this in a moment), 84 (over 10%) have no workers whatsoever. (This is where the priority of FTT’s focus presently is). 71 (10%, exactly!) have exactly the number of workers that are needed (for example, the Tamanrasset of Algeria mathematically need 2 workers and have 2 confirmed).
On the other hand, there are 277 groups that are under-engaged, and 278 groups that are over-engaged. Each of these categories represent roughly 40% of the total number of groups.

Of those that are “Over Engaged”: the groups mathematically need a total of 1,196 workers, but actually have 5,134 committed. This is an overage of 3,938. (I am not here saying that the additional workers are unneeded–only that even within such a list, there is an unevenness to the distribution.) If you look within the list there are some fairly dramatic distributions: particularly amongst the Ethiopian groups. I’m not sure what this reflects, but clearly someone has taken these groups to heart and has a large workforce among them.

Of those that are “Under Engaged”: these groups mathematically need 10,281 workers–yes, based on population alone they need ten times as many workers as the over-engaged groups do. Yet there are just 1,922 workers committed.

So here we have a typical situation. Within 80% of the FTT list, there are some dramatic differences. Those that are over-engaged, are over-engaged by 5x. Those that are under-engaged, are under-engaged by about 10x.

Of those that have no engagement whatsoever: just 455 workers are needed at this point to completely tackle these. But even when these groups are engaged–that will be just the beginning of the task. In reality we still need many thousands of workers for these groups to be adequately engaged.

But now, just to meddle a little bit more, let’s consider the religions that are being engaged:

• Ancestor Worship: needed 37, committed 74, over
• Animism: needed 896, committed 1,007, over
• Buddhism: needed 60, committed 298, over
• East Asia Religions: needed 232, committed 498, over
• Hinduism: needed 4,109, committed 1,681, under
• Islam: needed 3,907, committed 2,084, under
• Judaism: needed 19, committed 59, over
• Non-believers: needed 129, committed 10, under
• Non-religious: needed 818, committed 19, under
• Other religions: needed 466, committed 1,115, over
• Other traditional religions: needed 102, committed 89, under
• Polytheism: needed 5, committed 3, under
• Shamanism: needed 4, committed 6, over
• Sikhs: needed 21, committed 34, over
• Various: needed 252, committed 163, under
• Other religions: needed 466, committed 1,115, over
This is all fairly obvious from the downloadable version of the FTT list, and by taking a little time to work through the numbers on the spreadsheets. It might not be a bad idea for the web-based version of the FTT list to be colorized in a way that indicates under-engagement.
At the same time it is important to note that this analysis only reflects the FTT list. The same situation exists in the much broader world of those groups that are already engaged yet remain unreached. Many are significantly underengaged and need additional work. Less is known about the precise level of unengagement in many of those groups, however.