For many decades Christian missionaries have faced the charge that Christianity is only a white American’s religion. But all the demographics have changed that idea for good. It was Americans who helped plant the gospel in Africa and build many churches there. Those churches have grown phenomenally. The Anglican church alone has produced over 5 million Anglicans in 21,000 churches—just in Uganda—while in America their counterpart (Episcopal churches) have dwindled to about 2 million members in 7,000 churches.
This story is an illustration of some dramatic changes in Christianity. As recently as 1960 most Christians lived in Western Europe and North America. By the year 2000, 70% of all Christians were living in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Island nations. It is not that Christianity is dying in the Western world. It isn’t. But there has been a virtual explosion of Evangelical Christian growth in third world countries (South Korea, for instance, which is home to 10 of the 20 largest congregations in the world, including the single largest congregation, Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul—somewhere around one
The American Church seems oblivious to this. When I once said that two thirds of all Christians have to live with serious persecution as a daily companion, most of our people looked at one another in disbelief. That is because we do not yet have a global concept of the Church. Our Christian family is very large and very diverse and American Christians are only a small part of that mix. That is why it is time to become more global in our thinking. At this very moment somewhere in China, or Pakistan, or Indonesia brothers and sisters are in jail for no other reason than their faith in Jesus Christ. Others are having their homes destroyed or their possessions stolen. Still others are being sold into slavery and some are being beaten or murdered through mob violence. So whenever it is that you pour out your heart to God in prayer, please remember those you will never meet in this life. They are part of your family too. Say a prayer for them.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship