This week we turn the calendar to 2010.
Looking back a century, it is important to remember what an important year 1910 was for the Church. That was the year barriers between denominations started to be lowered, and cooperative efforts began for global evangelism across denominational lines.
It was 100 years ago the historic 1910 Edinburgh Conference brought together 1,400 participants from around the world (although only 17 from the global south). This historic meeting was the accelerator for the student missions movement, while also laying the groundwork for the establishment of the World Council of Churches
What has happened in the past century?
Rick Warren helps us look forward at the Church summarizing these shifts of the past century:
In 1900, 71% of all, ‘Christians’ lived in Europe; by ’00 it had declined to just 28% who claimed to be Christian. Far fewer go to church.
Conversely, in 1900, only 10% of all people in Africa (10 million) were Christians vs. over 50% (360 million) today. That is a complete turnaround on a continent that’s never, ever been seen or done in history.
I may surprise some when I say that there are by far more Christians in China than in America.
There are more Presbyterians in Ghana than in Scotland, where they were founded by John Knox.
There are more Baptists in the India state of Nagaland than in the American South.
There are more Anglicans in Kenya or Uganda or Rwanda or Nigeria than in England. There are 2 million Anglicans in England compared to 17 million in Nigeria.
Last Sunday, more Christians went to church in China than all of Europe combined. That is a fundamental shift.
As you turn the calendar to 2010, stop to celebrate God’s working in so many parts our world that seemed unreachable 100 years ago. And pray the Lord will bring a reevangelization to those countries who once were the pace setters for Christians.
What will the Church look like 100 years from now?
At noon yesterday we launched the name change process. In total, it will take months to shift from “college” to “university,” but the report from the first day is moving us along much faster than I expected.
THE WEB Our Director of Web Services, Doreen Fagerheim, has manually changed over 10,000 references to Belhaven College in our web pages. Because our searches for Google are driven by the “equity” we have in “Belhaven College” you will see in many place we say, “Belhaven University – formerly Belhaven College” in order to not lose our rankings in these search engines. This description of Belhaven will stay in place for an extended time because search engine success is critical for our recruiting of new students.
ATHLETICS Last night the evening television news listed our basketball score as “Belhaven U” And I received this report about last night’s basketball games from our #1 fans, Lori and Steve Farmer:
Our new name seems to have caught on quickly and is being endorsed by our students. During a “time out” the left side would chant out “B” and then the right side would yell out “U”. They even used the cheerleaders large printed B and U signs. After several rounds, most everyone was joining in. It was a packed house, standing room only, which made for some great noise. It was quite a moment…our new name has been embraced!
BOOKSTORE MERCHANDISE – Yesterday we launched a sale on all “College” merchandise. I heard that at one point the check out line was backed up out the door. We sold over 600 items in the first afternoon. University apparel has been ordered and will be available at the start of the second semester.
GIFTS TO THE UNIVERSITY – Today I received the first gift to the University. It was fun to see Belhaven University on a large check. Needless to say, we’ll accept gifts made out to college or university…..or Belhaven, or most any other way. This is the time of year when many of our friends help us with scholarship gifts.
WORDMARK – We will be creating a new “BU” logo for use in our printing, apparel, and signs. Our Director of Communications, Bryant Butler, has developed the new wordmark that you’ll begin to see in several forms in our materials and web page.
At noon today we began the change of our name to Belhaven University.
Details of the announcement are on our web site HERE and formal announcements will be mailed tomorrow to all alumni and friends.
We launched green and gold Belhaven University balloons following of our annual Christmas chapel, and gave to all students, faculty, and staff a Belhaven University tee shirt.
Below are several pictures of the day you’ll enjoy, starting with the change on our home page www.Belhaven.edu