WHAT DOES ETHNE MEAN?
Ethne is the Greek word meaning ethnic people groups (from which we get our English word "ethnic"). While it is translated throughout the New Testament as nations, gentiles, or peoples, it is literally a reference to people groups, or in other words, groups of people with a unifying ethnic identity.
A people group, for evangelistic purposes, can be defined as the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.
The name Every Ethne comes from Jesus' last words to us, recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV):
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
We are to make disciples "of all nations," or of every ethne, hence our name.
To read more about people groups and to learn more about the unreached, visit the Joshua Project.