GMI logo

Global Mapping International

The 10/40 Window

Overhead Transparency Map Set

Leader's Guide

Click here to download the leader's guide in ASCII format.
Click here to download the leader's guide in .pdf format.
Click here to download the leader's guide in MS Word 97 format.

1. The 10/40 Window (Map 1)

The core of the unreached people of our world live in a rectangular-shaped window! It has often been referred to as the "Resistant belt," that extends from West Africa across Asia, between ten degrees north and forty degrees north of the equator.

If we are serious about providing a valid opportunity for every people to experience the love, truth and saving power of Jesus Christ, we cannot ignore the reality that we must concentrate on this region of the world called The 10/40 Window.

The unevangelized are people who have a minimal knowledge of the Gospel, but have had no valid opportunity to respond to it. The unreached are the two billion people who have never heard of Jesus as Savior, and are not within reach of Christians among their own people. There are, in fact, some 2,000 peoples or nationalities in which there is not a vital indigenous church movement.

Why do committed Christians need to focus on The 10/40 Window? First, because of the historical and biblical significance of this part of the world.

It was in The 10/40 Window that we pick up the account of Adam and Eve. God’s plan for man as expressed in Genesis 1:26 had to do with dominion. Man was to "keep" or guard God’s paradise and to have dominion and subdue the earth. In the book of Genesis we read the historical account of the fall of man, when Adam and Eve failed to guard God’s paradise and forfeited the right to rule over the earth. Then came the flood followed by the building of the Tower of Babel which took place in The 10/40 Window. This effort by man to try to rally together in defiance against God resulted in the introduction of different languages, the scattering of the people and the formation of the nations.

It is here in The 10/40 Window that we can observe the truth described in Graham Scroggie’s book The Drama of World Redemption: "A world having turned from God, He left it and chose a man through whom he would ultimately by Christ reach the lost world." And so, ancient history was worked out in the territory marked by The 10/40 Window, from the cradle of civilization in Mesopotamia across the fertile crescent of Egypt. Ancient empires came and went. The fate of God’s people Israel rose and fell depending on their obedience to the covenant with their God. Here Christ was born, lived his life, died on the cross and rose again. In fact, it was not until the second missionary journey of the Apostle Paul toward the end of the biblical record, that events of divine history occurred outside of the territory identified as The 10/40 Window. For the committed Christian, the fact that so much of God’s dealings with humanity took place on the piece of earth described by The 10/40 Window is a significant reason to focus on it.

2. Least Evangelized Countries and The 10/40 Window (Map 2)

Most of the unevangelized people of the world live in The 10/40 Window. In fact, while this is only one-third of the total land area, almost two-thirds of the world’s people live in The 10/40 Window.

These people live in 31 countries, highlighted in solid green on the map. They include both sovereign states and non-sovereign dependencies. Only those countries with a significant majority of their area lying within The 10/40 Window are included.

When the 52least-evangelized countries are overlaid upon the countries in The 10/40 Window we immediately see a very close fit.

In fact, 95% of the three billion people who live in the 52 least-evangelized countries live in The 10/40 Window. This constitutes the core of the challenge of reaching the unreached.

We need to think of the mission of Christ who came to seek and to save the lost, as taught in the parables about the lost sheep and the lost coin. Christ made great efforts to heal, restore and save just one person. We need to consider Christ’s mandate to preach the Gospel to every creature, to make disciples of all the nations and be His witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth when we think about those people who live in The 10/40 Window.

3. Islam and The 10/40 Window (Map 3)

The graded shades of green reveal the fact that North Africa and the Middle East represent the core of the Islamic religion.

Adherents to the Islamic religion are growing, as suggested by the increased numbers pilgrimaging to Mecca. Yet at the same time, it is reported that many Muslims, having studied the Koran in great depth, have discovered in the process that the highest prophet described in the Koran is Jesus Christ and not Mohammed. We must pray that just as eastern Europe recognized that the atheistic ideology of Communism could not stand the test of time, so also the "eyes" and the "hearts" of the Muslims will be opened to recognize that the Christ of the Koran is not only the highest prophet, but the Son of God, who died for the sins of man and rose again for our salvation and that millions of Muslims over the next decade will be saved.

4. Four Religious Blocks and The 10/40 Window (Map 4)

As you move from left to right in the rectangle you will see four religious blocks to which the majority population of that country belong. First, the Muslim block with 724 million people or 23% of the 3.1 billion people living in The 10/40 Window. Second, the Hindu block with 787 million people or 25% of the people living in The 10/40 Window. Third, the Buddhist block with 240 million people or close to 8%. Fourth, the Non-Religious block with 642 million people or close to 21%.

On May 6, 1990 the Jordan Times in Amman published a report from Algiers titled Collapse of Communism Will Weaken Islam. In a conference on the future of Islam, Egyptian writer Fahmi Howeidi argued that "The Islamic World is marginalized in a new map." Howeidi was among 40 scholars and political leaders from 10 Arab countries attending the conference. He said, "Christianity has been regenerated in Eastern Europe....Changes in Eastern Europe showed that a liberal model of society, based on Christian, capitalist values, was sweeping the world. Islam has yet to come up with a viable alternative."

5. The Poorest of the Poor and The 10/40 Window (Map 5)

The fifth reason to focus our attention on The 10/40 Window is because the poor are there. In fact, more than eight out of ten of the poorest of the poor, who on the average have a gross national product of under $500 per person per year live in The 10/40 Window.

One-third of the population of the world live in poverty with less than an average of $500 per person. Of these people 2 billion live in The 10/40 Window. Despite this, only 22% of all missionaries work among these people.

In the book Target Earth, Bryant L. Myers of World Vision and MARC wrote an article titled: "Where are the Poor and the Lost?" Myers suggested that "the poor are lost, and the lost are poor." He arrived at this conclusion after observing that the majority of the unreached live in the poorest countries of the world. The map that follows shows the relationship between those who are poor and those who are lost.

As Christians gathered from some 170 countries at Lausanne II in Manila, there was a heart concern expressed for the materially poor of the world in the second section of the Manila Manifesto: "We have again been confronted with Luke’s emphasis that the Gospel is the good news for the poor (Luke 4:18, 6:20, 7:22) and have asked ourselves what this means to the majority of the world’s population who are destitute, suffering and oppressed. We have been reminded that the law, the prophets, the wisdom books, and the teaching and ministry of Jesus, all stress God’s concern for the materially poor and our consequent duty to defend and care for them."

6. The Poor, the Unevangelized and The 10/40 Window (Map 6)

There is a remarkable overlap between the 48 poorest countries of the world and the least-evangelized countries of the world. In fact, as you can observe, 23% of the people who are poorest are also among the least evangelized countries of the world. And when you relate them to The 10/40 Window you discover that 98% of these least evangelized poor - 1.4 billion people - live in The 10/40 Window. Only 4% of the missionary force now work among this 23% of the world’s population. This certainly constitutes the greatest challenge of this decade for the committed Christian.

7. Christians under Persecution and The 10/40 Window (Map 7)

One of the reasons that foreign missions have had so little impact in The 10/40 Window is that the governments of many 10/40 nations have banned or restricted them. In addition, local citizens who become Christians may be threatened, harassed, beaten, jailed and even executed in some places.

Of the 22 countries that have severe persecution of Christians (according to the Open Doors International Persecution List), 15 are in The 10/40 Window and another 4 are adjacent (Uzbekistan, North Korea, the Maldives, and Somalia). Only 3 countries of severe persecution are well outside the Window (Cuba, Colombia and the Comoros Islands).

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Mt. 5:11-12). Today Christians in The 10/40 Window are falsely accused of all kinds of things. For example, in places like India and China they are accused of believing in a "foreign" God and thus being traitors to their country and their culture. In many Muslim countries they are accused of blaspheming God by claiming that Jesus is the Son of God.

In spite of all this persecution, and sometimes because of it, the church is growing rapidly even in countries like China. Christians witness by putting their lives on the line, taking risks, and sometimes paying a terrible price. But this raises questions in the minds of other people. What is it about Jesus that is so important that people will even sacrifice their lives for him? And the answer to that question is the good news.

Note: The theme of Map 7 was changed in the 2001 edition. The accompanying explanation for Map 7 was written by GMI staff, not by Luis Bush as the other explanations were.

8. 100 Gateway Cities and The 10/40 Window (Map 8)

100 Gateway Cities were carefully selected in The 10/40 Window as the least evangelized, most needy cities, considered "strongholds" of Satan, for targeted prayer. Specific, targeted, global prayer was focused on these 100 strategic cities.

Cities are the economic, political, social and spiritual centers of each country. As the city goes, so goes the nation. And cities can be "gateways" to reach a nation. Only by going to battle in prayer for the cities will we see change, if it happens at all. Will you join with Christians worldwide and pray for the 100 Gateway Cities?

9. Joshua Project 2000 and The 10/40 Window (Map 9)

At the heart of Joshua Project 2000 are approximately 1,579 peoples whom mission leaders have agreed are most in need of a church planting effort. Of these 2.3 billion "Joshua Project Peoples," nearly 76% live in The 10/40 Window. This map identifies the 100 largest, least evangelized peoples. Plans are being made in countries around the world to enable individual believers, entire churches, denominations, organizations and mission agencies to actually begin church planting efforts in all of these people groups. There are three primary ways this will be done, based on the model from the book of Joshua.

1. We will explore the land. Plans are being made to send short-term research teams from churches and mission agencies to each of the Joshua Project 2000 peoples. Each team’s findings (including maps, photographs and videos) will be used to provide a prayer profile and other essential aids for each people group.

2. We will pray. In October of 1995, millions around the world joined in "Praying Through The 10/40 Window" - a month of prayer and fasting focusing on 100 strategic cities called "Gateway Cities." In October of 1997, we will pray through The 10/40 Window again, this time for the 1579 least evangelized peoples targeted by Joshua Project 2000. There is no substitute for the fervent prayers of God’s people. The work cannot be done apart from His power.

3. We will seek our place of involvement. We cannot do it alone. Each must take the place assigned him or her by the Holy Spirit. You can adopt a specific people, form a research team, facilitate a church planting effort, or become an advocate. The possibilities are endless. We believe each individual, each church and each ministry today has unique gifts to contribute in this coordinated, systematic, step-by-step advance to "take the land." Only then can we see these lands claimed for the Lord Jesus Christ.


As the modern era of missions has been described by Dr. Ralph Winter in three phases, perhaps we are entering into a fourth phase, that is in the last decade of this century and millennium. The focus of the concerned Christian community 200 years ago was for the coastlands of the world, followed by a focus 100 years ago on the interiors of the continents, and then, within the last century, the unreached peoples. Perhaps in the last ten years, we need to concentrate on The 10/40 Window. This calls for a reevaluation of our priorities. It underscores the need for finding ways to reach the people in The 10/40 Window with the compassion and truth of Jesus Christ. We must consider a redeployment of missionaries, creative Christian partnerships with Christians within The 10/40 Window, tentmakers, non-resident missionaries, short-term missionaries and a reexamination of the use of our financial resources. On the other hand, it does not mean that work going on in other places of the world in training, relief, development and mobilization for missions should be curtailed. Rather, it means that we need to significantly increase our efforts in this decade to reach those who are in The 10/40 Window. If we are to be faithful to Scripture, obedient to the mandate of Christ, and if we want to see the establishment of a mission-minded church planting movement within every unreached people and city so that all peoples might have a valid opportunity to experience the love, truth and saving power of Jesus Christ, we must get down to the core of the unreached - The 10/40 Window.


Luis Bush, April 1996
(statistical and map updates, Oct., Nov. 2001)

10/15/02For comments on this web site, write Return to GMI Home Page