The Center for the Study of Global Christianity has just released their annual “Status of Global Christianity” table:
It is their 38th year compiling and offering what amounts to a unique opportunity to see the big picture. We can be very grateful for the work and generosity of the Center.
Let me encourage you to download the table here and have a look for yourself.
Now, I recognize that it is a lot of numbers and doesn’t necessarily ‘say’ much when you first look at it, especially if you are not in the habit of reading tables like this. But we do have some help. Although the table itself is circulated freely, it is also embedded in an article in the International Bulletin of Mission Research. You have to pay for the journal to read the article but the key insights from the writers are:
- The world is becoming more religious.
- The world has become more religiously diverse.
- Christians have inadequate personal contact with people in other religions.
There is plenty to think about in all this and the whole (short) article is worth a look if you can get access to it.
As I read, I got thinking about the relationship between China and Africa. Asia is the continent with the lowest percentage of non-Christians who know a Christian (just 12%) and Africa has experienced remarkable church growth (from 9% of the Sub-Saharan population in 1900 to 59% in 2022!). What is more, China and Africa have become more and more intwined, so much so that the BBC has an entire news category dedicated to this complicated relationship! What if the vitality of the African churches was focused in on the Chinese who are more and more present around them? China has experienced its own church growth, what would it look like for Asian and African churches to build relationships and help one another?
Have a look at the table for yourself and see what comes to mind for you and your church. And remember that it is too small a thing for God to work in only one corner of his earth.
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