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Fifteen years ago, the relationship between Saudi Arabia, homeland of Islam, and the United States was cool at best. Opportunities for Christians to live there were... read more
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Most Significant Unreached People Group Communities in Metro New York

Revised Oct 2018 by Chris Clayman

Below is a prioritized list of church planting needs in Metro New York among unreached people groups—those groups who have little or no indigenous community of Christians to spread the gospel to their people and others. We assume that, at least in the first generation of Christians, peoples-specific churches should be started that will most effectively spread the gospel to the rest of their people and near-culture people groups. We also assume that the gospel will spread most rapidly among a people if the churches started primarily consist of converts and not merely Christian-background people with a similar culture or language. As a result, we have not counted churches as started among a people group, even if a church has started that primarily consists of people from the same country and speak the same language, if the church primarily has Christian-background members who are removed from the dominant religious and social structure of a given people group (e.g., there are around a dozen Pakistani churches in Metro New York but only a handful of Muslim-background Christians in these churches because they are so far removed from the dominant Pakistani Muslim culture).

The Global Gates UPG Matrix was used to sort the list below in prioritized order of where, as of October 2018, cross-cultural missionaries are most needed in Metro New York. The UPG Matrix assigns an overall significance score based on a matrix of weighted factors including a people group’s global status of evangelical Christianity and the global significance of a people group’s presence in a city, along with typical categories of population size, amount of Christians, amount of ministry being done, and amount of churches started. In effect, the matrix prioritizes frontier people groups with the smallest Christian presence globally (e.g., small Hasidic Jewish groups with few believers score higher than large Bangladeshi people groups who have movements to Christ in their homeland). Furthermore, the matrix prioritizes unreached people group communities who have the least amount of missionaries and same-culture believers, even if those communities are smaller than others (e.g., Punjabi Sikhs in NYC score higher than Punjabi Sikhs in Vancouver because of the more developed missionary work in Vancouver).  To be included in the list, an unreached people group community must number at least 5,000 in a metropolitan area. If you have information you would like to add about an unreached people group, please fill out this questionnaire.

Special Note from Global Gates Prayer Coordinator: If you are praying for one of the UPGC’s below or may start soon would you drop us a quick email and let us know? It is very important that no community gets left behind or ignored. Every unreached-least-reached people group community must be saturated in prayer. Your feedback or imput lets us know who is or what group is being left out…who is caring for these people? My email is: It can be just a few word or whatever you want to write. Your part in reaching out to these UPGC’s is significant!

At the bottom of the list of Unreached People Group Communities (UPGC) below we have provided you with the dates, times and other information concerning regular monthly Prayer Conference Calls for UPGC’s throughout the year of 2013 in case you are interested in participating. As you begin browsing through the UPGC list you may benefit from viewing this short 2 minute video.

In order of subjective priority.


  • Syrian Jews, Pop: 75,000, Ocean Parkway (Brooklyn), Deal (NJ), no church, little engagement.  Most of the approximately 75,000 Syrian Jews in Metro New York (community estimate) live in the Ocean Parkway area of Brooklyn. This is the largest Syrian-Jewish community in the world. They mainly intermarry with other Syrian Jews, and their contact with non-Jews is minimal. When Syrian Jews from Brooklyn started prospering economically, the wealthy built summer homes in Bradley Beach, NJ, and later in nearby Deal. The Syrian Jewish population in Deal swells exponentially each summer with seasonal residents from Brooklyn, and several thousand Syrian Jews live in the Deal area year-round.
  • Lubavitch Jews, Pop: 30,000, Crown Heights (Brooklyn), no church, little engagement.  There are around 30,000 Lubavitch Jews in Metro NY (community estimate), and the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Empire is on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. The Chabad-Lubavitch are missionary Jews spreading Orthodox Judaism worldwide with a budget of over $800 million a year. Their headquarters in Brooklyn, lack of Christian presence, and network throughout the world make them a top priority for focused church planting.
  • Skver Jews, Pop: 15,000, New Square (Ramapo, Rockland County, NY), no church, little engagement.  There are around 20,000 adherents worldwide in the Skver Hasidic dynasty whose headquarters are in New Square. Around 5,500 Jews (Jewish Population in the US Study, 2011), mainly Skver, live in New Square.
  • Vizhnitz Jews, Pop: 15,000, Kaser (Ramapo, Rockland County, NY), no church, little engagement. Around 6,100 Jews (Jewish Population in the US Study, 2011) live in the village of Kaser, with almost all of them being of the Vizhnitz Hasidic Dynasty. Vizhnitz is the 2nd largest Hasidic dynasty in Israel where its headquarters are located. There are at least three villages/towns in Metro New York that are almost 100% Jewish. Kaser is one of them, alongside Kyrias Joel and New Square. Others are being developed.
  • Mashadi Persian Jews, Pop: 5,000, Great Neck (Long Island, NY), no church, little engagement. Around 4,000 Mashadi Jews live in Great Neck alone (community estimate). They are very insular and have little interaction with other Jews, much less non-Jews. The Metro New York Mashadi community makes up around 25% of the Mashadi Jews in the world. Around 10,000 Mashadi Jews live in Israel, but the Great Neck community is more connected with one another and intent on preserving Mashadi Jewish heritage and culture.
  • Breslov Jews, Pop: 5,000, Borough Park and Williamsburg (Brooklyn), Lakewood Township (NJ), no church, little engagement. Although Breslov are considered Hasidic Jews, they are often looked down upon by other Hasidim due to their permissive nature. Although they only number around 5,000 in Metro New York, they produce material that is distributed regularly throughout the Hasidic communities from their publishing center in Williamsburg.
  • Soninke/Serecole, Pop: 15,000, Highbridge (Bronx), Harlem (Manhattan), no church, some engagement. Although one effort has begun recently in Mali, there is no solid Soninke church anywhere in the world. Around 15,000 Soninke from Mali, the Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and France live in New York City (community estimate). There are around 3 million Soninke in the world and an estimated 100 scattered Christians.
  • Gerer Jews, Pop: 5,000, Borough Park (Brooklyn), Monsey (Rockland, NY), no church, little engagement. The Ger are the largest Hasidic Jewish community in Israel, but they also have communities in Borough Park and Monsey.
  • Mandinka, Pop: 5,000, Highbridge (Bronx), no church, little engagement. This is the largest community of Mandinka in North America. Most Mandinka have never heard of a Mandinka Christian, and there are no Mandinka churches in North America. Many Mandinka already speak English which makes them the most accessible West African Muslim immigrant group to North American Christians.
  • Wolof, Pop: 20,000, Harlem (Manhattan), no church, some engagement. There are around 20,000 Wolof from Senegal and the Gambia in Metro New York (community estimate), a majority of whom adhere to the Mouride Sufi Islamic sect. The Mouride parade in NYC attracts more people than any other African parade in the city. 116th Street in Harlem is often dubbed “Little Senegal.” Out of the 4.5 million Wolof in the world, there are less than 300 Christians.
  • Fouta Tooro, Pop: 8,000, Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn), no church, some engagement. The Fouta Tooro come from Senegal and Mauritania and have around 8,000 representatives in Metro New York. The area around Fulton and Franklin in Bedford-Stuyvesant has one of the two largest concentrations of African Muslims in the city. Out of the nearly 3 million Fouta Tooro in the world, there are less than 100 Christians.
  • Tibetan, Pop: 10,000, Jackson Heights (Queens), no church, little engagement. Over 10,000 Tibetans live in Metro New York (community estimate), with the largest concentration in Jackson Heights. New York is host to the largest population of Tibetans outside China, India, and Nepal, and one-third of Tibetans in the US live in Metro New York. The activism on behalf of Tibet and influence of Tibetans based out of NYC also makes engagement with Tibetans in NYC increasingly significant.
  • Fulbe Futa, Pop: 5,000, Morrisania (Bronx), no church, some engagement. There are an estimated 5,000 Fulbe Futa Muslims in Metro New York (community estimate) with this area of the Bronx hosting their community association and largest mosque in the city. The Fulbe Futa are from Guinea and are part of the ethnic group that helped spread Islam to other parts of West Africa. Staunchly Muslim, there are over 3 million Fulbe Futa in the world with several hundred known Christians.
  • Maninka, Pop: 5,000, Concourse (Bronx), no church, little engagement. There are over 3 million Maninka in the world, who mainly come from Guinea but also Mali and Sierra Leone. There is little focused work on Maninka in New York City, and the Maninka are proud of their Islamic heritage.
  • Bukharan Jews, Pop: 60,000, Rego Park (Queens), one church, some engagement. The largest concentration of Bukharan Jews in the world is in the Forest Hills and Rego Park neighborhoods of Queens and no church has been started among them. There are workers among them and some Christians. Around 60,000 Bukharans live in Metro New York (community estimate) with a majority living in this area of Queens. 
  • Yemeni Arabs, Pop: 20,000, Bay Ridge (Brooklyn), no church, some engagement. The percentage of Muslims (99%) that make up the population of Yemen is one of the highest in the world, and the country of Yemen has been particularly resistant to Christian missionaries. Around 20,000 Yemenis live in Metro New York (community estimate), with the Bay Ridge area hosting approximately 4,000 of those. Yemenis own a lot of delis and businesses where it is easy for outsiders to engage with them.
  • Gujarati, Pop: 150,000, Edison (New Jersey), some churches, some engagement. The Iselin/Metuchen/Edison area is home to one of the largest Indian concentrations in Metro New York. A great majority of these in Iselin are Gujarati Hindus. Around 150,000 Gujaratis live in Metro NY (community estimate), based off of ACS 2010 info on Indians. The largest concentration of Gujaratis in North America is in the Edison/Iselin/Metuchen area.
  • Jula, Pop: 5,000, Harlem (Manhattan), no churches, some engagement. The Jula are proud Muslims who mainly come from Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. There are only a few known believers among this people group in the city.
  • Bambara, Pop: 5,000, Harlem (Manhattan), no churches, some engagement. The Bambara come from Mali, West Africa. Although they were only 1% Muslim at the start of the 20th century, they are over 90% Muslim today. Most of the non-Muslim Bambara are animists.
  • Kosovar Albanians, Pop: 40,000, Pelham Parkway (Bronx), no church, little engagement. The largest concentration of Albanians in Metro New York is in this area of the Bronx. A majority of them are Kosovar Muslim Albanians, numbering in the tens of thousands (community estimate). Many of them own or work in Italian restaurants throughout New York City. There are only a few known evangelical Christians among Kosovar population in Metro New York.
  • Moroccan Arab, Pop: 20,000, Astoria (Queens), no church, little engagement. The growth of Moroccans in Metro New York is largely attributed to new immigration restrictions in France. Many speak multiple languages, welcome cross-cultural relationships, and are open to spiritual conversations. There are few Muslim background Moroccan believers in Metro New York and no established churches.
  • Kazakh, Pop: 5,000, Brighton Beach (Brooklyn), no church, little engagement. The Central Asian Muslim population is increasing in Brooklyn. Around 5,000 Kazakhs now live in Metro New York, and there are only a couple of known Christians among them.
  • Indian Hindi, Pop: 260,000, Jersey City (New Jersey), Jackson Heights (Queens), some churches, some engagement. According to Pew Research, around 36% of Indians in the United States are Hindi speakers, which would total approximately 260,000 Indian Hindi in Metro New York. Although their population is large, there is little focused evangelism among Hindi speakers in Metro New York.
  • Bangladeshi, Pop: 150,000, Jamaica (Queens), no church, some engagement. Approximately 150,000 Bangladeshi Muslims live in Metro New York (community estimate) and this area of Jamaica has the 3rd largest Bangladeshi concentration in the city. Although many Muslims have reportedly come to faith in Bangladesh, we have not seen the same fruit in NYC as there is still no Bangladeshi church in the city primarily made up of Muslim-background Christians.
  • Syrian Arab, Pop: 30,000, Bay Ridge (Brooklyn), no church, some engagement. The country of Syria is decimated by civil war. Many Syrian Muslims within Metro New York lost family members and possessions. Syrians across the Middle East have encountered followers of Jesus who have given a helping hand and shared the gospel with them, but few workers are engaging Syrians in Metro New York.
  • Uzbek, Pop: 15,000, Brighton Beach (Brooklyn), no church, little engagement. There has been a recent influx of Central Asian Muslims (mainly from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) into this area of Brooklyn and into the Forest Hills area of Queens. Numbers are unknown, but at least several thousand are believed to be present (community estimate).
  • Lebanese Arab, Pop: 35,000, Bay Ridge (Brooklyn), no church, some engagement. The Lebanese Muslim population in Metro New York has grown as the Christian community assimilates and moves throughout the country. Lebanese take pride in their Mediterranean heritage and are typically willing to engage new friends. There are few believers from a Muslim background and currently no churches among them.
  • Sri Lankan Sinhalese, Pop: 7,500, Tompkinsville (Staten Island), no church, little engagement. Sri Lankans estimate their community numbers around 7,500 people in Staten Island while ACS 2010 counts 999 out of 6,573 Sri Lankans in Metro New York as living in Staten Island. Their presence is very visible in Tompkinsville along Victory Blvd.