New Decade: Time To Look Back – and Forward

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?

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