Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Global Church

The third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization will occur in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 2010. There will be over 4,000 leaders from more than 200 countries—the largest, most diverse gathering of Christian leaders in history. And for the first time more than half of the delegates will be from the Majority World.

Here (courtesy of the Skye Jethani) are some interesting stats relating to the way Christianity has changed colour in the last hundred or so years.

• Today there are more missionaries from Brazil engaged in cross-cultural ministry than from Britain or Canada.
• There are over 10,000 foreign Christian workers serving in Britain, France, Germany, and Italy—and more than 35,000 in the U.S. Most of the missionaries in Britain are from Africa and Asia.
• "This past Sunday it is possible that more Christian believers attended church in China than in all of so-called 'Christian Europe.'"
• "This past Sunday more Presbyterians were in church in Ghana than in Scotland."
• "Today, the largest Christian congregation in Europe is in Kiev, and it is pastored by a Nigerian of Pentecostal background."
• "More than half of all Christian adherents in the whole history of the church have been alive in the last one hundred years. Close to half of Christian believers who have ever lived are alive right now."
• In 1900, over 80 percent of the Christian population was Caucasian and over 70 percent lived in Europe. Now, according to historian Dana Robert, "The typical late twentieth-century Christian was no longer a European man but a Latin American or African Woman."

Despite having more resources and education than any other Christians in history, the Western church has been overseeing a significant contraction while Africans, South Asians, and Latin Americans - often under resourced - are watching the church expand beyond belief.
Maybe we don't have church/mission figured out.

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