Walking with Jesus:A unique mix of facts, fun and the Christian faith to entertain, inform and challenge you.
A MIX OF BOTH TRIVIAL AND VITAL FACTS ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN WORLD
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WORLD EVANGELISM
   
1.    GOD’S PROMISE
2. STATUS OF GLOBAL MISSION 2002, IN CONTEXT OF 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES
3. EMPIRICAL FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY
4. THE AMAZING PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL
5. TRAGIC REALITY: TWO BILLION STILL CUT OFF
6. “A WITNESS TO ALL THE NATIONS”
7.    QUICK FACT
8. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY...
9. AN EVEN SPLIT
10. AMAZING PROGRESS
11. AMAZING GROWTH
12. MILESTONE DATES IN THE GROWTH OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY
13.

THE LATEST PICTURE

14.    ADHERENTS OF MAJOR RELIGIONS
15. MISSIONARIES
16. DISTRIBUTION OF PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES AMONG CULTURAL BLOCKS
17. GLOBAL CHURCH MEMBER FINANCE IN US DOLLARS...
18. OF FOREIGN MISSIONARY GIVING...
19. OTHER MEASURES OF PROGRESS
20.

A FINAL WORD FROM THE WORD

21.

SENEGAL - Sereer-Safen People Responding to Bible Storying

22.

AFRICA: SUDAN - Good News of the Harvest

23.

CHINA REACHES AN OFFICIAL FIGURE OF 130 MILLION CHRISTIANS

24.

CHINA REACHES AN OFFICIAL FIGURE OF 130 MILLION CHRISTIANS

25.

FORMER MUSLIM SHARING CHRIST

26.

WOLFGANG SIMSON FORECASTS INDIA WILL SOON HAVE CHRISTIAN MAJORITY

27.

CHRISTIAN AM STATION IN BRAZIL PLANTS 5 CHURCHES IN 4 YEARS

28.

OVER 1000 SUDANESE SOLDIERS HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES TO CHRIST

29.

TENS OF THOUSANDS CONVERT TO CHRIST IN ALGERIA

30.

VIETNAM GIVES UNPRECEDENTED PERMISSION TO PRINT 100,000 BIBLES

31.

MOTIVATION FOR AFRICA

32.

THE JESUS FILM HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO ITS 1000TH LANGUAGE

33.

THEOLOGIAN WITNESSES EXPLOSIAN OF CHRISTIANITY IN NEPAL

34.

CHURCH IN THE PARKS FOR THE HOMELESS

35.

HOLY SPIRIT STIRS A HUNGER-FOR-GOD IN RUSSIAS YOUTH

36.

LAST SUNDAY!

37.

MISSIONS LEADER BELIEVES UNREACHED COULD BE REACHED IN 20 YEARS

38.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIAN GROWTH

39.

EXPLOSION OF CHRISTIANITY IN NEPAL

40.

BOOM TIMES FOR MISSION SOCIETIES

41.

GOD'S KINGDOM

42.

ORDINARY MISSIONARY SEES HUNDREDS HEALED IN COLUMBIA

43.

CAMEROON BUS BIBLE MINISTRY

44.

STAGGERING NUMBERS OF MUSLIMS COMING TO CHRIST

45.

TAIWAN: WORKING CLASS PRACTICALLY UNREACHED

46.

ASIA: CHINA: NEARLY 2,000 PERSECUTION EVENTS LAST YEAR

47.

TOP RELIGIOUS PERSECUTORS

48.

INTERNET TV OFFERS GLOBAL AUDIENCE

49.

THE ARAB WORLD: TV MINISTRY IS BROADCASTED

50.

The Simple GOSPEL FACTS !

51.

AFRICA: SUDAN AND ETHIOPIA: CHURCH GROWTH

52.

THE MIDDLE EAST: ISRAEL: CHRISTIAN TV STATION

53.

CENTRAL AMERICA: MEXICO: GROWING PROTESTANT CHURCH

54.

INDIA: MARKET PLACE MISSIONS

55.

ATTENDANCE AT CHURCH IN BAGHDAD REACHES 900

56.

ASIA: IRAQ: REPORT OF VIBRANT CHRISTIAN GROWTH

57.

COMPARING AMERICAN AND AUSTRALIAN TEENAGERS BELIEF IN GOD

58.

EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN BRAZIL WILL MAKE 250,000 CHURCHES A REALITY

59.

CHRISTIAN VALUES REACH BEYOND THE FAITHFUL (ENGLAND AND WALES)

60.

CHRISTIANITY IN CHINA

61.

MOST AMERICANS STILL CHRISTIAN, BUT OTHER FAITHS RISE

62.

TOP 10 COUNTRIES PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS

63.

HISTORY OF MISSION METHODS: A BRIEF SURVEY

64.

SHIFT OF CHRISTIANITY FROM WEST

65.

MORE GLOBAL GOOD NEWS

66.

COMMITMENT TO GOD IN THE USA - A BARNA SURVEY

67.

THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

68.

WHERE ARE THE MEN?

69.

MEGASHIFT

70.

"REVOLUTION" - An Extract.

71.

20,000 'NEO-APOSTOLICS'

72.

NEW PAGE HELPS CHURCH WEBSITES REACH OUT EFFECTIVELY

73.

USA (AND THE WORLD?) THE YOUNGER THE CHURCH THE MORE EVANGELISTIC

74.

STATISTICS OF MARTYRDOM

75.

THE TWO MOST RADICAL CHANGES IN THE CHURCH TODAY

76.

EMPIRICAL FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY

77.

LAUSANNE FOCUS ON EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

78.

THE WORLD’S LARGEST CHURCHES

79.

IRAQ IN THE BIBLE

80.

NIGERIA LEADS IN RELIGIOUS BELIEF

81.

DID YOU KNOW?

82.

HOW PEOPLE IN ORAL CULTURES RETAIN INFORMATION

WORLD EVANGELISM

GOD'S PROMISE
God's promise to bless all the "families of the earth," (Gen. 12:3) first given to Abraham 4,000 years ago, is becoming a reality at a pace "you would not believe." Although some may dispute some of the details, the overall trend is indisputable. Biblical faith is growing and spreading to the ends of the earth as never before in history.

--From Finishing the Task by Ralph Winter and Bruce Koch

STATUS OF GLOBAL MISSION 2002, IN CONTEXT OF 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES

Year: 1900 1970 mid-2000 Trend mid-2002 2025
GLOBAL POPULATION       % p.a.    
1. Total population 1,619,626,000 3,696,148,000 6,055,049,000 1.22 6,203,789,000 7,823,703,000
2. Urban dwellers (urbanites) 232,695,000 1,353,370,000 2,881,079,000 1.90 2,991,572,000 4,611,677,000
3. Rural dwellers 1,386,931,000 2,342,778,000 3,173,970,000 0.60 3,212,217,000 3,212,026,000
4. Adult population (over 15s) 1,074,058,000 2,310,543,000 4,254,647,000 1.76 4,405,603,000 5,987,079,000
5. Literates 296,258,000 1,475,194,000 3,261,345,000 1.76 3,377,265,000 5,046,637,000
6. Nonliterates 777,800,000 835,349,000 993,302,000 1.75 1,028,338,000 940,442,000
WORLDWIDE EXPANSION OF CITIES      
7. Metropolises (over 100,000 population) 300 2,400 4,050 1.84 4,200 6,500
8. Megacities (over 1 million population) 20 161 402 2.21 420 650
9. Urban poor 100 million 650 million 1,400 million 3.16 1,490 million 3,000 million
10. Urban slumdwellers 20 million 260 million 700 million 2.82 740 million 1,500 million
GLOBAL POPULATION BY RELIGION      
11. Total all distinct religions 1,000 6,000 9,900 1.70 10,200 15,000
12. Christians (total all kinds) (=World C) 558,132,000 1,236,374,000 1,999,564,000 1.27 2,050,616,000 2,616,670,000
13. Muslims 199,941,000 553,528,000 1,188,243,000 2.11 1,239,029,000 1,784,876,000
14. Nonreligious 3,024,000 532,096,000 768,159,000 0.80 780,557,000 875,121,000
15. Hindus 203,003,000 462,598,000 811,336,000 1.54 836,543,000 1,049,231,000
16. Buddhists 127,077,000 233,424,000 359,982,000 1.04 367,538,000 418,345,000
17. Atheists 226,000 165,400,000 150,090,000 0.24 150,804,000 159,544,000
18. New-Religionists 5,910,000 77,762,000 102,356,000 0.94 104,280,000 114,720,000
19. Ethnoreligionists 117,558,000 160,278,000 228,367,000 1.30 234,341,000 277,247,000
20. Sikhs 2,962,000 10,618,000 23,258,000 1.84 24,124,000 31,378,000
21. Jews 12,292,000 14,763,000 14,434,000 0.81 14,670,000 16,053,000
22. Non-Christians (=Worlds A and B) 1,061,494,000 2,459,774,000 4,055,485,000 1.20 4,153,173,000 5,207,033,000
GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY      
23. Total Christians as % of world (=World C) 34.5 33.5 33.0 0.05 33.1 33.4
24. Unaffiliated Christians 36,489,000 106,268,000 111,125,000 0.65 112,575,000 125,712,000
25. Affiliated Christians (church members) 521,643,000 1,130,106,000 1,888,439,000 1.30 1,938,041,000 2,490,958,000
26. Crypto-Christians 3,571,000 59,195,000 123,727,000 2.18 129,173,000 190,490,000
27. Church attenders 469,303,000 885,777,000 1,359,420,000 1.04 1,387,834,000 1,760,568,000
28. Evangelicals 71,726,000 93,449,000 210,603,000 1.72 217,896,000 327,835,000
29. Great Commission Christians (evangelicals) 77,931,000 277,152,000 647,821,000 1.44 666,640,000 887,579,000
30. Pentecostals/Charismatics/Neocharismatics 981,000 72,223,000 523,767,000 1.87 543,578,000 811,552,000
31. Average Christian martyrs per year 34,400 377,000 160,000 1.24 164,000 210,000
MEMBERSHIP BY 6 ECCLESIASTICAL MEGABLOCS      
32. Anglicans 30,571,000 47,501,000 79,650,000 1.34 81,799,000 113,746,000
33. Independents 7,931,000 95,605,000 385,745,000 2.17 402,641,000 581,642,000
34. Marginal Christians 928,000 11,100,000 26,060,000 1.79 27,000,000 45,555,000
35. Orthodox 115,844,000 139,662,000 215,129,000 0.52 217,371,000 252,716,000
36. Protestants 103,024,000 210,759,000 342,002,000 1.36 351,362,000 468,633,000
37. Roman Catholics 266,548,000 665,954,000 1,057,328,000 1.24 1,083,708,000 1,361,965,000
MEMBERSHIP BY 6 CONTINENTS, 21 UN REGIONS      
38. Africa (5 regions) 8,756,000 117,069,000 335,116,000 2.62 352,886,000 600,526,000
39. Asia (4 regions) 20,759,000 97,329,000 307,288,000 2.12 320,439,000 459,029,000
40. Europe (including Russia; 4 regions) 368,210,000 468,480,000 536,832,000 0.08 537,656,000 532,861,000
41. Latin America (3 regions) 60,027,000 263,597,000 475,659,000 1.57 490,701,000 635,271,000
42. Northern America (1 region) 59,570,000 168,932,000 212,167,000 0.81 215,633,000 235,112,000
43. Oceania (4 regions) 4,322,000 14,699,000 21,375,000 1.22 21,898,000 28,152,000
CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS      
44. Denominations 1,900 18,600 33,800 2.48 35,500 63,000
45. Congregations (worship centers) 400,000 1,450,000 3,448,000 1.53 3,554,000 5,035,000
46. Service agencies 1,500 14,100 23,000 2.15 24,000 40,000
47. Foreign-mission sending agencies 600 2,200 4,000 1.24 4,100 6,000
CHRISTIAN WORKERS (clergy, laypersons)      
48. Nationals (citizens; all denominations) 1,050,000 2,350,000 5,104,000 0.97 5,204,000 6,500,000
49. Aliens (foreign missionaries) 62,000 240,000 420,000 1.07 429,000 550,000
CHRISTIAN FINANCE (in US$, per year)      
50. Personal income of church members, $ 270 billion 4,100 billion 15,198 billion 2.28 15,900 billion 26,000 billion
51. Personal income of Renewalists, $ 250,000,000 157 billion 3,508 billion 4.08 3,800 billion 9,500 billion
52. Giving to Christian causes, $ 8 billion 70 billion 270 billion 5.41 300 billion 870 billion
53. Churches' income, $ 7 billion 50 billion 108 billion 4.53 118 billion 300 billion
54. Parachurch and institutional income, $ 1 billion 20 billion 162 billion 5.99 182 billion 570 billion
55. Cost-effectiveness (cost per baptism, $) 17,500 128,000 330,000 2.80 349,000 650,000
56. Ecclesiastical crime, $ 300,000 5,000,000 16 billion 6.07 18 billion 65 billion
57. Income of global foreign missions, $ 200,000,000 3.0 billion 15 billion 6.46 17 billion 60 billion
58. Computers in Christian use (numbers) 0 1,000 332 million 6.40 370 million 1.5 billion
CHRISTIAN LITERATURE (titles)      
59. Books about Christianity 300,000 1.8 million 4.8 million 3.08 5.1 million 11.8 million
60. Books on Christian mission 15,000 65,000 111,000 4.00 120,000 195,000
61. Christian periodicals 3,500 23,000 35,000 4.20 38,000 100,000
62. New books/articles on evangelization p.a. 500 3,100 16,000 6.07 18,000 80,000
SCRIPTURE DISTRIBUTION (all sources, per year/p.a.)     
63. Bibles, p.a. 5,452,600 25,000,000 53,700,000 4.96 59,156,000 180,000,000
64. New Testaments, p.a. 7,300,000 45,000,000 120,700,000 2.96 127,940,000 250,000,000
65. Scriptures including gospels, selections, p.a. 20 million 281 million 4,600 million 1.08 4,700 million 8,000 million
66. Bible density (copies in place) 108 million 443 million 1,400 million 2.12 1,460 million 2,280 million
CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING      
67. Christian radio/TV stations 0 1,230 4,000 0.62 4,050 5,400
68. Total monthly listeners/viewers 0 750,000,000 2,150,000,000 2.30 2,250,226,000 3,800,000,000
69. over Christian stations 0 150,000,000 600,000,000 3.14 638,285,000 1,300,000,000
70. over secular stations 0 650,000,000 1,810,000,000 1.76 1,874,291,000 2,800,000,000
CHRISTIAN URBAN MISSION      
71. Non-Christian megacities 5 65 226 1.10 231 300
72. New non-Christian urban dwellers per day 5,200 51,100 129,000 1.77 133,600 200,000
73. Urban Christians 159,600,000 660,800,000 1,160,000,000 1.58 1,197,000,000 1,720,000,000
CHRISTIAN EVANGELISM      
74. Evangelism-hours per year 5 billion 25 billion 165 billion 4.45 180 billion 425 billion
75. Hearer-hours (offers) per year 10 billion 99 billion 938 billion 6.30 1,060 billion 4,250 billion
76. Disciple-opportunities (offers) per capita per year 6 27 155 5.03 171 529
WORLD EVANGELIZATION      
77. Unevangelized population (=World A) 879,672,000 1,641,245,000 1,629,375,000 0.50 1,645,685,000 1,845,406,000
78. Unevangelized as % of world 54.3 44.4 26.9 -0.71 26.5 23.6
79. World evangelization plans since AD 30 250 510 1,500 2.96 1,590 3,000

 

COMPILED BY: David B. Barrett, a contributing editor, is Hon. Research Advisor, United Bible Societies, and Research Professor of Missiometrics at Regent University, Virginia Beach. Todd M. Johnson, a YWAM missionary, is director of the World Evangelization Research Center in Richmond, Virginia, and an adjunct professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course.
Source: International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 2002. David B. Barrett & Todd M. Johnson.

Methodological notes on Annual Statistical Table on Global Mission: 2002 (referring to numbered lines). Indented categories form part of, and are included in, unindented categories above them. Definitions of categories are as given and explained in World Christian Encyclopedia (1st ed., 1982; 2d ed., 2001) and World Christian Trends (2001), with additional data and explanations as below. The global diagram series and the analytical trichotomy of Worlds A, B, C are explained in WCT.
Lines 1-4. Demographic totals are as shown in World Population Prospects, 1998 (New York: United Nations, 1999).
12. Widest definition: professing Christians plus crypto-Christians (secret believers), which equals affiliated (church members) plus unaffiliated Christians. World C is the world of all who individually are Christians.
22. Total of all non-Christians (sum of rows 13-21 above, plus adherents of other minor religions). This is also the same as World A (the unevangelized) plus World B (evangelized non-Christians).
24. Persons professing publicly to be Christians but who are not affiliated with a church.
26-30. These categories overlap in varying degrees.
26. Secret believers in Christ not professing publicly but who are known to the churches.
28. Churches, denominations, and individuals who identify themselves as evangelicals by membership in denominations linked to evangelical alliances (e.g. World Evangelical Alliance, until 2002 named Fellowship), or by self-identification in polls.
29. Great Commission Christians are defined as active church members of all traditions who take seriously Christ's Great Commission and his call to mission.
30. Church members involved in the Pentecostal / charismatic / neocharismatic renewal in the Holy Spirit, known collectively as Renewalists. Totals on lines 26-30 overlap with those on lines 32-37.
31. World totals of current long-term trend for all confessions. (See WCT, part 4, "Martyrology.") The 2002 figure reflects the collapse of Communism but also the expansion of terrorism.
50-57. Defined in WCT, part 20, "Finance."
56. Amounts embezzled by top custodians of Christian monies (U.S. dollar equivalents, per year).
58. Total general-purpose computers and word processors owned by churches, agencies, groups, and individual Christians.
74-76. These measures are defined, derived, and analyzed in WCT, part 23, "Evangelization."
77-78. Defined as in WCT, part 25, "Macroevangelistics."
79. Grand total of all distinct plans and proposals for accomplishing world evangelization made by Christians since A.D. 30. See WCT, part 27, "GeoStrategies."

EMPIRICAL FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY
Drawn from "World Christian Trends", a collection of trends and observations of global Christianity published by American missions statistician Prof. David Barrett and Todd Johnson. Here are some excerpts:

A NEW MILLENNIUM REALITY CHECK: 50 new facts and figures about trends and issues concerning empirical global Christianity today. (from Table 1-1 in World Christian Trends, William Carey Library, David Barrett & Todd Johnson.)

Every year the churches hold a megacensus costing $1.1 billion, sending out 10 million questionnaires in 3,000 languages, which covers 180 major religious subjects.

At a steady rate over the last 20 centuries, and in all 238 countries, 70 million Christians have been martyred -killed, executed, murdered -for Christ.

The 5 most dangerous of all Christian vocations (over 3% murder rates) are: bishops, evangelists, catechists, colporteurs, foreign missionaries.

Books primarily about Jesus in today’s libraries number 175,000 different titles in 500 languages, increasing by 4 newly published every day.

Emboldened by lax procedures, trusted church treasurers are embezzling each year $16 billion out of church funds but only 5% ever get found out.

Christians spend more on the annual audits of their churches and agencies ($810 million) than on all their workers in the non-Christian world.

The total cost of Christian outreach averages $330,000 for each and every newly baptised person.

Despite Christ’s command to evangelize,67% of all humans from AD 30 to the present day have never even heard of his name.

648 million Christians today (called Great Commission Christians)are active in Christ’s world mission; 1,352 million Christians ignore this mission.

Every person in the world belongs to, on average, 10 distinct and separate (and often conflicting) religions.

Organised Christianity has total contact with 3,590 religions but no contact at all with 353 other religions and their over 500 million adherents.

14 million converted Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims have opted to remain within those religions in order to witness for Christ as active believers in Jesus as Lord.

Heads of the 50 major Christian World Communions, with 1.5 billion members, have since 1957 met annually for serious 3-day dialogue.

A huge new Christian non-confessional megabloc, the Independents/Post-denominationalists, is growing rapidly and numbers 19% of all Christians.

These 386 million Independents in 220 countries have no interest in and no use for historic denominationalist Christianity.

From only 3 million in AD 1500,evangelicals have grown to 648 million worldwide,54% being Non-Whites.

The country with the fastest Christian expansion ever is China, now at 10,000 new converts every day.

Non-Christian countries have been found to have 227 million Bibles in place in their midst, more than needed to serve all Christians but poorly distributed.

Everywhere on Earth can now easily be targeted with at least 3 of the 45 varieties of effective evangelism.

Christian triumphalism -not as pride in huge numbers, but as publicised self-congratulation -is rampant in most churches, agencies, and ministries.

124 million new souls begin life on Earth each year, but Christianity’s 4,000 foreign mission agencies baptise only 4 million new persons a year.

91% of all Christian outreach/evangelism does not target non-Christians but targets other Christians in World C countries, cities, peoples, populations, or situations.

818 unevangelised, ethnolinguistic peoples have never been targeted by any Christian agencies ever.

40% of the church’s entire global foreign mission resources are being deployed to just 10 over saturated countries already possessing strong citizen-run home ministries.

Over 20 centuries Christians have announced 1,500 global plans to evangelise the world; most failed; 250 plans focused on AD 2000 fell massively short of stated goals.

The 3 least cost-effective countries over 1 million in population for Christian outreach are: Japan, Switzerland and Denmark.

The 3 most cost-effective countries over 1 million in population for Christian outreach are: Mozambique, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Per hour of ministry, the 5 megapeoples most responsive to Christianity, Christ, and the gospel are: Khandeshi, Awadhi, Magadhi, Bai, Berar Marathi .

Per hour of ministry, the 5 megapeoples least responsive to Christianity, Christ, and the gospel are: Swedish, Russian, Lithuanian, Polish and Georgian .

Mainland China’s Christians have thousands of trained workers poised to begin evangelising the world soon after AD 2000.

Most Christian bodies insist on full accountability to the last cent in finance, but ignore or even decry statistics about Christian workers and ministries.

It costs Christians 700 times more money to baptise converts in rich World C countries (Switzerland)than in poor World A countries (Nepal).

Regular listeners to Christian programs over secular or religious radio/TV stations rose from 22% of the world in 1980 to 30% in 2000.

Christian communicators ignore the huge potential of the globe’s 983 lingua francas each with over 100,000 non-native speakers, or the 2,179 each over 100,000 total speakers.

Ethnoreligionists (animists, polytheists, shamanists) number 228 million in 6,000 tribes or peoples, mushrooming rapidly by 2.8 million a year.

Criminal penalties against clergy in sexual abuse cases now exceed $1 billion, causing a number of churches, dioceses, and denominations to be forced into bankruptcy.

Annual church embezzlements by top custodians exceed the entire cost of all foreign missions worldwide.

150 major ethnolinguistic peoples each have over 100,000 unevangelised ethnoreligionists.

Since AD 1900,Christian urbanites have exploded from 100 million in 500 cities to 1,160 million in 5,000 cities.

From only one million in AD 1900, Pentecostals/Charismatics/Neocharismatics have mushroomed to 524 million affiliated (with unaffiliated believers, 602 million).

UBS global goals for Bibles distributed p.a. are over 200% achieved in 92 countries, over 100% in 92 other countries, but under 100% in 54 countries.

98.7% of people have access to scripture in 6,700 languages leaving 78 million in 6,800 languages with no access at all.

Each year, 180 million Bibles and New Testaments are wasted -lost, destroyed, or disintegrated -due to incompetence, hostility, bad planning or inadequate manufacture.

Each year 600,000 full-time ordained workers (clergy, ministers, missionaries) reach retiring age; 150,000 then discover that their employers provide no old-age pensions.

Some 250 of the 300 largest international Christian organisations regularly mislead the Christian public by publishing demonstrably incorrect or falsified progress statistics.

As in all scientific research,70% of all new Christian books and published articles will never be quoted in print by their peers, ever.

78 countries each have Great Commission Christians whose personal incomes exceed US$1 billion a year.

Out of 648 million Great Commission Christians, 70% have never been told about World A’s 1.6 billion unevangelised individuals.

Depicted on semilogarithmic graphs, 16,016 Christian trends across 22 centuries (AD 30-AD 2200) reveal dominant roles of evangelisation, martyrdom and renewal.

Despite predictions of collapse of religion, long-term trends indicate that Christians and other religionists in AD 2200 are likely to number over 87% of the world ’s population.

 

THE AMAZING PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL
One of every ten people on the planet is of the Bible-reading, Bible-believing stream of Christianity. The number of believers in what used to be "mission fields" now surpasses the number of believers in the countries from which missionaries were originally sent. In fact, more missionaries are now sent from non-Western churches than from the traditional mission-sending bases in the West. The Protestant growth rate in Latin America is well over three times the biological growth rate. Protestants in China grew from about one million to over 80 million believers in less than 50 years, with most of that growth occurring in just the last few decades. In the 1980s, Nepal was still a staunch Hindu kingdom with only a small persecuted church. Today there are hundreds of thousands of believers and churches have been started within each of the more than 100 distinct people groups.

TRAGIC REALITY: TWO BILLION STILL CUT OFF
While this amazing progress of the gospel gives much cause for rejoicing, it obscures a tragic reality. How could that be? The fact is that the gospel often expands within a community but does not normally "jump" across boundaries between peoples, especially boundaries that are created by hate or prejudice. People can influence their "near neighbours" whose language and culture they understand. But where there is a prejudice boundary, religious faith, which is almost always bound up with many cultural features of the first group, simply does not easily "jump" to the next group, unless that group desires to adopt the other's culture in preference to its own.

“A WITNESS TO ALL THE NATIONS”
We shouldn't really be surprised to see the thrilling advances of the gospel all over the world. That is exactly what Jesus said would take place, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come" (Matthew 24:14). A close look at the end of this verse says a lot about what we should watch and work for at the end of the age. Jesus says that as the missionary task is completed, there will be "a witness to all the nations."

QUICK FACT
Only one out of every four missionaries is working in a pioneer ministry among non-Christian peoples of the major religious blocs.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY...
there are fewer non-Christians within the unreached peoples than there are within the reached groups. As missionaries succeed in establishing church movements in more unreached peoples, that is exactly what you would expect to happen.
As the figures below demonstrate, we are in the final era of missions. For the first time in history we can anticipate the completions of the missionary task, which is to establish an indigenous church planting movement within the language and social structure of every people on earth.

AN EVEN SPLIT
One third of earth’s people call themselves Christians.

One third are non-Christians living in already reached people groups.

One third are non-Christians living in unreached people groups.

AMAZING PROGRESS
In 1974 approximately one half of the world's population was beyond the reach of the Church, living in unreached peoples. Today, just one third of the world's population live in unreached peoples beyond the reach of the Church.

AMAZING GROWTH
Annual Growth Rates:
Overall World Population is growing by 1.6% each year
Pentecostals and Charismatics 7.3%
Evangelicals 5.7%,
Protestants 2.9%,
Roman Catholics ~1.2%,
All Christians 2.6%
Muslims 2.7%
Evangelical believers are growing at a rate of three and one half times that of world population.

MILESTONE DATES IN THE GROWTH OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY
At the dates indicated, a comparison of
1) the number of Bible–believing Christians and
2) the total number of people in the world:
It took 1430 years for Bible-believing Christians to become just one percent of world population
By AD 1430, (1%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 99 after 1430 years)
By AD 1790, (2%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 49 after 360 years)
By AD 1940, (3%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 32 after 150 years)
By AD 1960, (4%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 24 after 20 years)
By AD 1970, (5%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 19 after 10 years)
By AD 1980, (6%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 16 after 10 years)
By AD 1983, (7%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 13 after 3 years)
By AD 1986, (8%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 11 after 3 years)
By AD 1989, (9%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 10 after 3 years)
By AD 1993, (10%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 9 after 4 years)
By AD 1997, (11%) were Bible believing Christians. (One to 8 after 4 years)

THE LATEST PICTURE
Today, 645 million or (11%) of the world population are Evangelicals or Bible believing Christians.
Of the world’s 24,000 “Unimax” People Groups, 10,000 (having 2.1 billion persons) are still considered Unreached---though Christian work is being done among most. A unimax people is the maximum sized group sufficiently unified to be reached by a single, indigenous church planting movement.

ADHERENTS OF MAJOR RELIGIONS
2 billion – Christians
1.1 billion – Muslims
1.0 billion - Roman Catholics
890 million – Hindus
875 million - Non-Religious/Atheists
680 million – Evangelicals
340 million – Buddhists
340 million - Chinese Folk Religions
220 million - Tribal Religions
17 million - Judaism

MISSIONARIES
410,000 Missionaries from all branches of Christendom
(Only between 2 and 3% of those missionaries work among unreached peoples.)
140,000 Protestant Missionaries
64,000 Protestant Missionaries come from the USA

DISTRIBUTION OF PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES AMONG CULTURAL BLOCKS
74% Among Nominal Christians
8% Among Tribal Peoples
6% Among Muslims
4% Among Non-Religious/Atheists
3% Among Buddhists
2% Among Hindus
2% Among Chinese Folk Religions
1% Among Jewish Peoples

GLOBAL CHURCH MEMBER FINANCE IN US DOLLARS...
12,300 Billion (12.3 Trillion) - Total Annual Income
213 Billion - Given to Christian Causes (1.73% of total income)
11.4 Billion - Given to Foreign Missions (5.4% of Giving to Christian causes)

OF FOREIGN MISSIONARY GIVING...
87% goes for work among those already Christian,
12% goes for work among already evangelised non-Christians, and
1% or $114 million goes for work among people groups in the Unevangelised or Unreached category.
Most above stats are adapted from data by David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson of Global Evangelization Movement web site: <http://www.gem-werc.org/index.htm>, other portions from Patrick Johnstone’s The Church is Bigger Than you Think, etc. Mobilization Division, U.S. Center for World Mission

OTHER MEASURES OF PROGRESS

The Good News in Their Language
Ministry Description In 1994 In 2000 Still Needed
Bible Translations (Total of all portions below) ? 2212 > 2000
--Adequate Bibles ? 366 > 2500
--Adequate New Testaments ? 928 > 2000
--Scripture Portions (not complete NTs) ? 918

> 2000

Gospel Recordings (Messages on Tape) 4449 5049 2,900
Radio Broadcasts (>1 Million Speakers) 170 277 95
       
The Jesus Film Project
Growth Indicator: In 1989 In 1999 Still Needed
Translations 143 547 605
Agency Partnerships 205 831 •••••••••
Viewers 330 Million 2.9 Billion 3.1 Billion
Decisions for Christ 30 Million 106.5 Million •••••••••
Film Teams Operating 136 2549 •••••••••
       

 

A FINAL WORD FROM THE WORD
And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (Revelation 5:9)

SENEGAL - Sereer-Safen People Responding to Bible Storying
Two women were the first known believers to be baptized among a West African people group of approximately 117,000. Since then, eight more people have been baptized.
Most of the Sereer believe in a mix of Catholicism, Islam, and spirit worship. The Sereer-Safen is one of six subgroups among the Sereer, who have a population of 1.4 million.

It took the IMB missionaries Jerry and Monica Grift years of "Bible storying" before any Sereer-Safen made a decision for Christ. This popular Scripture-teaching method involves sharing Bible stories conversationally in cultures where people are less likely to communicate through the written word.

One of the first believers among the Sereer-Safen to be baptized has taken on a leadership role among his people. Jerry Grift continues to train and teach him how to share his faith throughout the area.
Grift also has found success in sharing the gospel among Muslims, which he acknowledges is the biggest challenge among the Sereer-Safen.
"This, along with their traditional religions of old, holds them in Satan's misleading grip," he said. "Many also would never dishonor their parents in changing their beliefs as they live within an 'honor and shame' type culture."

Source: International Mission Board, via GO GLOBAL MISSIONS REPORT


AFRICA: SUDAN - Good News of the Harvest
Estimates of Sudanese Muslims who have become Christians range from 200 to 2000. With decades of prayer and nearly fruitless ministry behind, a harvest among Northern Sudanese Muslims seems to be beginning. Many people believe that now is God's time for Sudan.
Workers in Sudan are rejoicing in the openness of Sudanese Muslims to talking about the Gospel. A peace accord is currently holding in anticipation of a referendum in 2011. During this time of what seems to be temporary peace, the North is more open to tentmakers and humanitarian groups. Even in Darfur, where an estimated 5 million people have almost no Christian witness, reports of open doors are streaming in. Christian fruit in Darfur seems to be increasing with each passing year.

Right now in the North, including in Darfur, Southern Christians, foreign missionaries, and a small number of Muslim-background believers are working with fervor to build relationships, plant seeds, and see a harvest before the uncertainty of 2011. The question still waits to be answered: Will the North unite, divide, or plunge the country of Sudan further into the depths of war?

Source: Arab World Ministries Update via GO GLOBAL MISSIONS REPORT


CHINA REACHES AN OFFICIAL FIGURE OF 130 MILLION CHRISTIANS
China's top religious official Yie Xiaowen has rejected decades of ambivalence toward religion by declaring that "religion is one of the important social forces from which China draws strength." He also admitted that the number of Christians in China has reached 130 million, including some 20 million Catholics!

The Chinese government has intentionally understated the number of Christians for decades in a futile effort to downplay the continued miraculous growth and impact of the church. House church believers have never been recognized or counted. This announcement through the official Chinese news agency is significant. Dr. Bob Fu, President of China Aid Association, writing about this latest official revelation said, "The unprecedented growth has happened under ceaseless persecution. We pray that China will realize true religious freedom soon."

All across China evangelistic outreaches are touching the lives of thousands of people. New converts have an ever-growing need for Bibles to strengthen and guide them. Amity Press has printed 40 million Bibles since its inception. Many other agencies are printing Bibles for China and circulating them through the house churches where the need is so urgent. A Chinese Christian said that reading the Bible is like eating rice. You have to do it every day!"

There are some urgent challenges confronting the Church in China today: With the lessening of persecution in many places, and the rising income and prosperity of the nation, many Chinese leaders are calling for renewed vigilance against the inroads of materialism and the fatal spiritual devastation that results from comfort and ease. Another urgent need is for trained workers to disciple the estimated 7-10,000 new converts a day! Without disciplining, these new converts are subject to deception by the ever-present cults, both home-grown and foreign.

The third request is for more Bibles. Although Bibles are permitted to be printed in China by Amity Press, the 2 million they are able to print each year does not begin to meet the urgent demand. At present the government does not look with favour on Bibles being imported or even printed within the country except by this one approved outlet at Amity Press. There are many pastors and leaders in prison because they were involved in printing and distributing Bibles that were printed in Hong Kong or other unapproved locations.

A new phenomenon is quietly developing on the university campuses across the nation. The astounding growth of Christianity has begun to penetrate many of the largest and most prestigious campuses of the nation. There are now more than 30 vibrant Christian fellowships meeting openly on campuses and being led by professors and student leaders. These are the new "house churches" of China that are sprouting up all over the country. This has great promise for the future of the nation as more and more future leaders pledge their allegiance to Jesus Christ.

One of the most impressive ministries going on in China today is the training of a host of cross-cultural workers to carry the gospel from China through the Muslim countries of the 10/40 Window back to Jerusalem. It has been frequently reported that the Chinese Church desires to raise up 100,000 such workers. It is actually happening quietly and without fanfare in many training centres both inside and outside China. If you are called to pray for China visit http://www.churchinchina.com/ This website is a great source of information. There are twelve sections with pertinent and challenging information, making it one of the most comprehensive web sites for China news and information.

Source: Evangelism Explosion International


CHINA REACHES AN OFFICIAL FIGURE OF 130 MILLION CHRISTIANS
China's top religious official Yie Xiaowen has rejected decades of ambivalence toward religion by declaring that "religion is one of the important social forces from which China draws strength." He also admitted that the number of Christians in China has reached 130 million, including some 20 million Catholics!

The Chinese government has intentionally understated the number of Christians for decades in a futile effort to downplay the continued miraculous growth and impact of the church. House church believers have never been recognized or counted. This announcement through the official Chinese news agency is significant. Dr. Bob Fu, President of China Aid Association, writing about this latest official revelation said, "The unprecedented growth has happened under ceaseless persecution. We pray that China will realize true religious freedom soon."

All across China evangelistic outreaches are touching the lives of thousands of people. New converts have an ever-growing need for Bibles to strengthen and guide them. Amity Press has printed 40 million Bibles since its inception. Many other agencies are printing Bibles for China and circulating them through the house churches where the need is so urgent. A Chinese Christian said that reading the Bible is like eating rice. You have to do it every day!"

There are some urgent challenges confronting the Church in China today: With the lessening of persecution in many places, and the rising income and prosperity of the nation, many Chinese leaders are calling for renewed vigilance against the inroads of materialism and the fatal spiritual devastation that results from comfort and ease. Another urgent need is for trained workers to disciple the estimated 7-10,000 new converts a day! Without disciplining, these new converts are subject to deception by the ever-present cults, both home-grown and foreign.

The third request is for more Bibles. Although Bibles are permitted to be printed in China by Amity Press, the 2 million they are able to print each year does not begin to meet the urgent demand. At present the government does not look with favour on Bibles being imported or even printed within the country except by this one approved outlet at Amity Press. There are many pastors and leaders in prison because they were involved in printing and distributing Bibles that were printed in Hong Kong or other unapproved locations.

A new phenomenon is quietly developing on the university campuses across the nation. The astounding growth of Christianity has begun to penetrate many of the largest and most prestigious campuses of the nation. There are now more than 30 vibrant Christian fellowships meeting openly on campuses and being led by professors and student leaders. These are the new "house churches" of China that are sprouting up all over the country. This has great promise for the future of the nation as more and more future leaders pledge their allegiance to Jesus Christ.

One of the most impressive ministries going on in China today is the training of a host of cross-cultural workers to carry the gospel from China through the Muslim countries of the 10/40 Window back to Jerusalem. It has been frequently reported that the Chinese Church desires to raise up 100,000 such workers. It is actually happening quietly and without fanfare in many training centres both inside and outside China. If you are called to pray for China visit http://www.churchinchina.com/ This website is a great source of information. There are twelve sections with pertinent and challenging information, making it one of the most comprehensive web sites for China news and information.

Source: Evangelism Explosion International


FORMER MUSLIM SHARING CHRIST
By Paul Strand, CBN News

SEATTLE, WA- Many former Muslims are now involved in efforts to convert believers in Islam to Christianity.

CBN News met with some of them as they linked up with other Christians at the Seattle Revival Center. They trained in how best to reach Muslims and then went out to do just that at the city's annual Arab Festival.

For some reason, Christians think Muslims are particularly hard to witness to. But these Muslims-turned-Christians pointed out they have the exact same spiritual needs as everybody else.

George Saieg, leader of Arabic Christian Perspective, advises Christians to dig into their own past and fears, remembering "how we used to be not assured of our salvation -- we used to be afraid of dying."

"And this is the same common ground that the Muslims have today -- that they're not assured of their salvation, that they're afraid of dying," he said. "But Jesus came to our life and changed our life. This is the story we need to tell them, how Jesus changed my life and He's able to change theirs, too."

Kamal Saleem came to America to recruit terrorists, but instead became a convert to Christ.

"Three Christian men reached out to me and loved me unconditionally," he said.

But many years before that, he was a terrorist - even as a child.

"I joined the PLO when I was seven years old. Before that, I was with a group called the Muslim Brotherhood when I was six years old. I went to assault camp when I was seven years old. I went on my first mission when I was seven years old. I became a recruiter when I was seven years old."

He fought in many battles and wars -- against Christians in Lebanon, Russians in Afghanistan, Jews in Israel.

But he ended up in America, recruiting new terrorists here.

"First you teach them Islamic teaching, and once it's embedded in their system, then you teach them how to use a gun," Saleem said.

Saieg agrees with Saleem, that Islam preaches violence.

"When I see Sura 9:5, it talks about ''kill the Christians and Jews -- the People of the Book -- wherever you find them.' There are over 140 verses in the Koran that talk about killing," Saieg says.

Saleem says don't buy everything you hear about Islam these days.

"Muslims will say 'We're a people of peace -- we worship the same God,'" He said.

But what they're really taught is "that Jews are pigs and monkeys. Jews they must be killed. 'The rock will cry out "there's a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him,"' Saleem said.

They say Muslims believe Christ was a mere man.

"He didn't even die on the cross. He was lifted up and He's coming back and He will be a Muslim," Saleem said.

Arabic Christian Perspective hopes to open up a lot of Islamic eyes when it holds a debate with Muslim apologist Nadir Ahmed in Anaheim, Calif., October 20.

Nadir Ahmed is raring to debate the key question: whether Islam is a religion of peace or terrorism.

"There's a lot of anti-Islamic propaganda, especially by Pat Robertson and CBN and places like that," Ahmed said. "And I'm really shocked to see how evangelicals love to promote this idea -- that it's not a religion of peace."

Ahmed seems a natural for this debate. He runs his own Web site defending Islam, Examine the Truth.com

"There's clear teaching to promote peace with non-Muslims. And those verses are not mentioned by these propagandists. And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to mention those verses," he said.

But it didn't seem very peaceful when Muslims eavesdropped on CBN News' interview with Saieg then ripped into him for saying Islam was not a religion of peace.

They yelled and screamed he wasn't telling the truth, shouting down the former terrorist Saleem as he tried to defend Saieg.

Meanwhile, Ahmed insists Americans misunderstand Muslims and key Islamic words like "jihad," which means "struggle."

"Someone's struggling with alcoholism and he's trying to stay away from that. That's a jihad against alcohol," he said.

But Saieg says jihad almost always means bloody struggle. And Saleem warns that right here in America there are 45 Islamic assault camps where would-be terrorists train.

"These are embedded in different states," Saleem said. "Today the recruiting ground is in the prison system, high schools, universities, neighborhoods."

It's to counter such efforts that Saieg and his people are reaching out as quickly as they can to Muslims at Arab Festivals, like one that took place in Seattle, and a recent one in Dearborn, Mich., where dozens converted.

"And, praise the Lord, we had 42 Muslims come to the Lord." Saieg said.

These former Muslims insist Islamic people are not by nature violent.They totally blame the mayhem and terror pouring out of Islamic lands on the religion itself.

"I really look at Osama bin Laden himself as a victim of Islam. My problem is not with Osama bin Laden. My problem is not with the Muslim people," Saieg said. "My problem is with the teaching of Islam, the teaching of Koran because this is what is pushing Muslims to do what they're doing."

"So while these Christians say that Islam itself may be a danger, they believe the Islamic people are as deserving of love as anyone else and can be just as open to Jesus.

Link

Source: CWNnews.com

© 2007 The Christian Broadcasting Network


WOLFGANG SIMSON FORECASTS INDIA WILL SOON HAVE CHRISTIAN MAJORITY
09/10/2007

Joel News Service

Every year Professor David Barrett, editor of the World Christian Encyclopaedia, and Todd Johnson of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, publish their Status of Global Mission. Through incorporating secular as well as church-based sources this is probably one of the most comprehensive databases in the world. The Status of Global Mission shows changes in the global population and the 'market share' of the world's leading religions.

German missions strategist Wolfgang Simson compared the status reports of consecutive years, and observes some major shifts in the making, that don't yet show up in the global statistics. "The growth of both Islam and Hinduism is slowing down," he says.

"Officially, in the current number of Hindus many are counted in who would not consider themselves Hindus any more. Amongst them are many millions of Dalits (Low Cast or Outcast people groups) in India that are getting ready to leave organized Hinduism forever. Some of their own political leaders are rallying a massive religious change, which will lead to a seismic landslide in the set-up of India. In this case, India will cease to be a majority-Hindu nation, and in all probability become a majority-Christian nation, the largest Christian democracy in the world."

"During the last few years, the greatest number of converts from Islam to Christianity has been reported since history. This steady and even growing stream of Christians seems to spread across most Muslim nations in the world today, starting amongst those that are considered Soft-Islam (where the Islamic Sharia law is not implemented) to those that are considered Hard-Islam. Underground/Housechurch-based Christianity is the main ecclesiastical vessel that carries this development."

Barrett and Johnson's Status of Global Mission shows that the number of 'Great Commission Christians' is growing, as well as the giving to Christian causes. On the downside however, in terms of volume, ecclesiastical crime is still ahead of global missions. Currently, 24 billion US dollar is embezzled every year and stolen out of the pocket of the church by its own staff. This is two billion more than the entire world's giving for global mission. If this process goes ahead unchecked, theft within the church by the church, will reach 65 billion by AD 2025.

Also, looking at the costs per baptism (currently 349,000 US dollars), the church isn't handling her resources in the most cost-effective way. Denominationalism is also on the rise: in the year 1900, only 1,900 denominations were counted worldwide. Currently their number has risen to 39,000, and is expected to rise even more to 55,000 denominations by AD 2025.

More facts on evangelism are found at...


CHRISTIAN AM STATION IN BRAZIL PLANTS 5 CHURCHES IN 4 YEARS

"Response has been tremendous with five new churches already formed as a result of the Christian programming."
Dan Wooding July 15, 2007

(Nova Russas, Brazil)—Five churches have been planted in northeastern Brazil as a result of Avant Ministry's broadcasts on AM-780, a 10,000 watt station in the city of Nova Russas. In 2003, Avant Ministries, a missionary sending agency headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, that recruit s, equips, sends, supports and serves missionaries to more than twenty countries, facilitated the purchase of the 10,000-watt station, the first Christian station in the region.

Its signal is within hearing range of 1.2 million people living in small towns and isolated villages within a 150-mile radius.

Source: ASSIST News Service via The Outreach Files


OVER 1000 SUDANESE SOLDIERS HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES TO CHRIST
July 18, 2007

(Sudan)—War-ravaged Sudan has seen more than 200,000 people die in the wake of the conflict in the Darfur region, notes a report in Mission Network News, but the Bible League has great hope for the area.

"Even in the midst of opposition, we continue to witness lives being transformed and salvaged from spiritual darkness," said Dr. Mwaya Wa Kitavi, Bible League's associate director of Africa ministries.

According to the report, the group gained access to six army barracks in Southern Sudan, even though the commander was not a Christian. "But God—who is no respecter of any man—gave us favor," said Kitavi. "As a result, more than one thousand soldiers have committed their lives to Christ, and all have been baptized. Praise be to God!"

Source: Mission Network News via The Outreach Files


TENS OF THOUSANDS CONVERT TO CHRIST IN ALGERIA
July 16, 2007

(Algeria)—Inspire Magazine reports that for the last 10 years Christian broadcaster Arab Vision has seen many viewers respond to their television programs, but none more so than the Kabyle Berbers in the North-Eastern coastal region of Algeria.

A Kabyle policeman came to Christ through the programs, now his father, his wife and his two sisters are sharing the same faith after he witnessed to them.

Says a Kabyle policeman who accepted Jesus through the program: "In the beginning, I was anxious and fearful that this faith may cause me more harm than good, especially in relation to my work. However, the Lord Jesus not only comforted me in my faith, but led me in an unusual way to meet other colleagues in the police corps who are also Christians. We now even pray together."

The number of Christians among the Kabyle is reportedly growing, with a minimum estimate of 10,000 converts representing both large mainstream and secret 'house group' churches.
"The figure could well be four times that. We are not sure," says Arab Vision's North Africa Director. "But what we are sure about is that the response among the Kabyle to the Gospel is uniquely encouraging for this region. Many tell us about dreams and visions they've had, confirming the truth about Jesus. The Kabyle believers are also actively involved in evangelism."

Source: Inspire Magazine via The Outreach Files


VIETNAM GIVES UNPRECEDENTED PERMISSION TO PRINT 100,000 BIBLES
MNN Staff/TN (June 9th, 2007)
(Vietnam)—President of WorldServe Ministries Dr. David Hunt says the country of Vietnam might be allowing more religious freedom. "In spite of the difficulties over the years and the challenges in Vietnam still today, to some extent, we are seeing some of the greatest opportunities and openings in the history of the nation," he said. According to a report in Mission Network News (MNN), the reason for this is that the government has given approval to do something unprecedented. "Our friends in Vietnam have written permission from religious affairs to print 100,000 Bibles that will be released to the unregistered church in Vietnam. That is stunning," said Hunt.

The Bibles are needed because of incredible growth, adds Hunt. "The Church has grown so explosively since 1975; from about 55,000 baptized Believers to well over [nobody knows for sure] 1 million believers today, and maybe as close to 1.5 million Believers. And the Church is growing by leaps and bounds."

The report also noted the need for finances to help in the printing of the Bibles.

Source: Mission Network News via The Outreach Files.


MOTIVATION FOR AFRICA
By Rolland and Heidi Baker
Iris Ministries, Inc.
Pemba, Mozambique
6 July 2007

A little over four years ago Heidi and I, along with Surpresa Sithole, our Mozambican international director, flew to Nairobi in our little Cessna for a leadership conference. On the way back we stopped in Pemba in Mozambique's far northern province of Cabo Delgado, and for the first time attempted ministry among a people considered unreached and unreachable by missiologists.

We took a short bus ride into town near the airport, stepped off, and found a group of fourteen or so young men standing nearby. Heidi immediately used her Portuguese to witness to them right there where they stood, and in a few minutes all fourteen were saved and wanted a pastor. On our next trip we got a small plot of land on a hill among a sea of huts, and built a Pemba-style church building out of reeds and stones. It was filled mostly by children, but pastored by our extremely fervent, Spirit-filled Pastor Jos�, still one of our key leaders in Pemba. This last week Pastor Jos� testified at our annual staff retreat that now we have over seven hundred Iris churches in Cabo Delgado Province, a figure we could not have imagined on that first trip.

Our four years in Pemba have been tumultuous, intense, filled with demonic attacks, violence, threats, opposition from the government, discouragement, theft, loss, disappointments, failures, staff turnover, and the constant, unrelenting demands of extreme poverty and disease all around us. It almost always seemed that our capabilities and resources were no match for the challenges we faced every day, resulting in a level of chaos and stress that literally threatened our health and lives. Intense witchcraft and a lack of exposure to familiar standards of right and wrong made our work in this very remote part of the world seem all the more impossible. Heidi and I remember many times when we did not know how we could continue, often wondering if we really had good, lasting fruit that was worth the sacrifice.

We are often asked what the overcoming key to our ministry and growth is. We don't think in terms of keys or secrets, but in the simplest truths of the Gospel. We have learned by experience that there is no way forward when pressed to our extremities but to sacrifice ourselves at every turn for His sake, knowing nothing but Jesus and Him crucified. We must die to live. It is better to give than to receive, and better to love than to be loved. We cannot lose, because we have a perfect Savior who is able to finish what He began in us, if we do not give up and throw away our faith.

Read on at...

http://www.openheaven.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=16993&PN=1


THE JESUS FILM HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO ITS 1000TH LANGUAGE
The most translated and widely distributed film in history is not a Hollywood blockbuster. It’s a two-hour docudrama called Jesus. The film, which chronicles Christ’s life based on the Gospel of Luke, recently announced the completion of its 1,000th language translation. This milestone enables the film to reach more than 1 million Indian people, whose “heart language” is Ho. “Our goal is to reach every nation, tribe, people and tongue, helping them see and hear the story of Jesus in a language they can understand,” the film’s Web site stated. “So whether a person speaks Swahili, French or a language whose name is extremely difficult for most to pronounce, he or she will encounter the life and message of Jesus in a language ‘of the heart.’” First produced by Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) in 1979, the film has since spread through out the world and touched the lives of an estimated 6 billion people. In the small country of Papua New Guinea, an estimated 165,000 people have prayed the prayer of salvation as a result of watching the docudrama. CCC plans to continue to translate the film in to other languages focusing their efforts on languages spoken by more than 100,000 people. "It's a testimony of God's faithfulness," says John Meyer, one of the films translators. "Those 1,000 languages mean that over 90 percent of the people in the world can hear, in their own language, the greatest story ever told."

Source: Streams of Revival
Charisma Online


THEOLOGIAN WITNESSES EXPLOSIAN OF CHRISTIANITY IN NEPAL
"...when they hear that Jesus forgives all sin in one stroke, that something called karma has no power over them, that they can have a relationship with Christ and with an all-loving Father, that they and this relationship will last forever, they are thunderstruck. They want God, a loving, eternal, gracious, God. For these reasons, and for many more, there is an explosion of the Gospel in Nepal."
Robert Sanders Ph.D./TN (Mar 11th, 2007)

In a Virtue Online report, Dr. Robert Sanders writes that in February of 2007 he, among a team of four, went to Nepal under the leadership of the Rev. Norman Beale.
Says Sanders: "In the 1950s there were no Christians in Nepal. By the 1960s there were a handful of Christians, but in the 70s and 80s, there was explosive growth. At the present moment, the number of Christians in Nepal is unknown, but is probably somewhere around 800,000. How did this explosive growth occur? Norman had told me that this growth occurred exactly the way it did as narrated in the book of Acts or in the Gospels. As the New Testament makes clear in repeated statements, He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and further, His aching love was clearly revealed on the cross. None of the gods, goddess es, spirits, or powers known, avoided, feared, or worshipped by the Hindus or Buddhists can withstand or compare to the mighty Name of Jesus."

"Furthermore," notes Sanders, "for many, when they see others suffering, such as orphans, the crippled, or the discarded, they feel it is their duty to leave them in their suffering. To interfere would rob them of their opportunity to atone for karma. Regardless of what is taught in the West about these religions, this is how it works out in practice on the ground. For these reasons, when they hear that Jesus forgives all sin in one stroke, that something called karma has no power over them, that they can have a relationship with Christ and with an all-loving Father, that they and this relationship will last forever, they are thunderstruck. They want God, a loving, eternal, gracious, God. For these reasons, and for many more, there is an explosion of the gospel in Nepal."
"The Gospel did not primarily come to Nepal carried by missionaries and accepted as part of a "superior" external culture. The Gospel came," he concludes, "as in the beginning, by the risen Jesus doing what He always does, healing the sick, casting out demons, forgiving sinners, reconciling families, and giving the hope of eternal life. These are all His works as Savior. It must be said, however, that the deepest joys are given to those who, over a lifetime, follow Him as Lord. They know the meaning of the words from John's Gospel, "Having loved His own He loved them to the end."

To read the inspiring testimonies of Nepalese converted to Christ, click on the following link.

Source: Virtue Online via The Outreach Files June 07


CHURCH IN THE PARKS FOR THE HOMELESS
"It's the kind of ministry that Jesus did."
Staff Reports/AH (Mar 10th, 2007)

More and more ministries these days seem to be "taking it to the streets," in effect, bringing the Gospel outside the walls of the church, and making it more accessible to the homeless.

According to an article on the Citizen Link website, one group; Ecclesia Ministries in Boston, has helped to begin around 30 outdoor churches throughout the U.S.
"It's the kind of ministry that Jesus did," said Ecclesia's minister of church relations, Kathy McAdams. "He spent a lot of His time with people who were outcast and people who were downtrodden and people who needed healing. So that's what we feel called to do."

Source: Citizen Link via The Outreach Files June 07


HOLY SPIRIT STIRS A HUNGER-FOR-GOD IN RUSSIAS YOUTH
"Every door which we knocked [on], every person we talked to wanted to talk about Jesus Christ." MNN Staff/AH (Mar 13th, 2007)

According to an article in Mission Network News, children and young people in Russia are craving truth, and "youth ministry is seeing new and unbelievable growth in a generation that is more open to the Gospel than previous generations."
Eugene Bakahmutsky, who heads up all youth ministry in Russia, with the Baptist Union and the support of the Slavic Gospel Association, explains, "The new generation is really empty, their souls and hearts. So they really hunger for truth."

This openness is at least partially due to the fact that Russians are reportedly searching for their identity in a society which is becoming increasingly "more materialistic and less spiritual."

In spite of the rising secularism, Bakahmutsky sees a move of God amongst the young people that he says is a blessing and an opportunity to share the Gospel.
"Youth were involved in local church life before, but it was not a real youth ministry- it was kind of being in church. But now, youth ministry looks like a strong movement, a real mechanism, a real approach to this new youth culture," Bakahmutsky says, "So, it's just brand new, really."

He added that a group he had joined had recently gone to visit young people in college dorms. "Every door which we knocked [on], every person we talked to wanted to talk about Jesus Christ. And, just because they lost hope in drugs, and they lost hope in entertainment stuff, they just wanted something serious, something real," explains Bakahmutsky.

Source: Mission Network News via The Outreach Files June 07


LAST SUNDAY!
Recently Mark Noll, of Wheaton College, USA, was surveying what had happened to world Christianity during the 20th century. He began by noting that the famous missionary conference held in Edinburgh in 1910 had fourteen hundred delegates but only eighteen were from outside Europe or North America. The conference was planning the evangelization of the world. The slogan from the end of the 19th century was: "The Evangelization of the World in this Generation". And people were assuming there would be a simple extension of Western Christianity. "What actually happened," said Noll, "was dramatically different. The surprises as well as the magnitude of developments in the twentieth-century history of Christianity can be illustrated by considering a series of comparisons for present realities of this past week:

• Last Sunday it is probable that more believers attended church in China than in all of so-called Christian Europe.
• Last Sunday more Anglicans attended church in each of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda than did Anglicans in Britain and Episcopalians in the United States combined - and the number of Anglicans at church in Nigeria was several times the number in these other African countries.
• Last Sunday more Presbyterians were at church in Ghana than in Scotland, and more were at church in the United Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa than in the United States.
• Last Sunday more members of the Assemblies of God in Brazil were in church than the combined total of the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ in the United States.
• Last Sunday more people attended the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul (Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho) than attended all of the churches of significant American denominations like the Christian Reformed Church, the Evangelical Free Church, or the Presbyterian Church in America.
• Last Sunday Roman Catholics in the United States probably worshipped in more languages than at any previous time in American history.
• Last Sunday the churches with the largest attendance in England and France had mostly black congregations."


MISSIONS LEADER BELIEVES UNREACHED COULD BE REACHED IN 20 YEARS
by John McNeil of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand
Special to ASSIST News Service

CHRISTCHURCH, NZ - Christianity is exploding around the world outside Western countries, and there is a real possibility that every unreached people group will have the Gospel within 20 to 30 years.

The international director of World Outreach, John Elliott, is excited at the possibilities.John Elliot

Mr Elliott is a Kiwi who heads an organisation founded in 1932 by an adopted New Zealander, Welshman Len Jones, who pastored for a time in this country.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, World Outreach grew out of visits by Mr Jones during the Great Depression to Eastern Europe, where there were thousands of displaced people.

At the end of World War II, American General Douglas MacArthur issued a call to the Western church to help to rebuild Asia and Dr Jones also responded to that.

World Outreach now works on five continents, with many New Zealanders among its missionaries. All directors bar one since Len Jones have been Kiwis, with Mr Elliott taking over in 1995, based in Singapore.

Mr Elliott says World Outreach has a long history as a pioneering mission. “People have gone out and started stuff from scratch, then handed the ministries over to local people.” Its other strengths have been leadership training, and providing resources to local people.

But he says the organisation is on a journey of almost reinventing itself.

“Our primary focus is to reach the least-reached people groups. We are involved in a number of countries where Christianity is established but still has a long way to go to get the percentage ratio up to something approaching respectable numbers. But we also want to keep pioneering into areas where the Gospel still needs to go.”

In the early 1990s, missiologists estimated there were 14,000 language groups without access to a viable church. Mr Elliott says that since then, there has been much better co-ordination between different mission organisations to avoid duplication of effort.

“Just this year we have heard that the number of least-reached people groups is down to 6100, so great inroads have been made in the past 12 years. There are some great signs all round the world that in the next 10 to 20 years we are going to see the Gospel established among all people groups. Right now, it’s picking up.”

Because much of the growth is in sensitive areas, missions are careful about what information they give out so as not to jeopardise either their workers or the fledgling churches. But he says that in the Muslim world, and to a certain extent the Hindu world, converts are coming to Christ in the tens of thousands.

“In one place over five years 300,000 of one particular people group has come to Christ. I got an email this morning from our guy in north-east India, where we’ve adopted a church planting model developed by the Southern Baptists. He says just this month they have been able to plant 45 new churches among what would be designated an unreached people group in that region.”

New strategies are being developed to reach these groups: “We know the white-skinned guy is not going to be the one to do it in most cases.”

An increasingly used means is to use a “near neighbour” from an adjoining region, or people who look similar to the target group. It might be a Filipino going into West Africa, or an Indian going to Russia.

Developing income-generating projects in economically depressed areas is another strategy – “something simple, like building a fish farm or offering free computer tutoring to young people. It may be a one or two-year project before you get the liberty to start sharing the gospel.”

Mr Elliott says having people who were formerly recipients of mission activity going themselves as missionaries is a recent development

Not all these people are going to developing countries. World Outreach is now being approached by Third World peoples who want to do mission work in countries such as England or Australia, usually among the immigrant populations there.

While a lot of Western people see immigrants as a negative thing, their arrival opens up exciting possibilities. “Many have found Christ and had their lives radically changed. Some who have come illegally have been deported in the course of coming to Christ.

“They have gone back to their country as Christians, with a vision to plant the Gospel in other areas of the world. Others have been legally adopted by the countries, but now they, too, feel they can use that country as a springboard to share the Gospel, to reach the families back in their countries.”

Mr Elliott says New Zealand has huge potential to participate. “We are seeing the nations starting to come to us. These people are candidates God has sent to us with the possibility they will help facilitate the gospel to the regions they have come from.

“New Zealand churches need to make room for a means to reach out to these people.

“If we miss it, we are going to miss something fantastic. I believe God has some unusual ways in which we are going to finish this race he’s put us to. We have to be open to new ideas and new strategies. We have start saying, ‘God’s sending these people in, what’s our role? How do we participate in what he’s doing here?’”

(ANS) www.assistnews.net


ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIAN GROWTH

STRATEGY, TRENDS AND STATISTICS - April 2007
A monthly report from the Lausanne Researchers' Network and Strategy Working Group

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIAN GROWTH
By Bradley Coon

The twentieth century saw a radical shift in the Christian world, with a majority of believers now being found in the global South (Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania) rather than the global North (North America and Europe). This has not been the case since AD 923 (see graph 1 below). The shift has been well documented and presented by scholars over the past decade, most notably Philip Jenkins in his work The Next Christendom.1 However, it often seems that there is a noticeable gap between the scholar and the layperson on this point, with few people being able to picture just how dramatic this decentralization of the Church has been.

As an assistant who attended the 2006 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Malaysia, I had an opportunity to see a presentation prepared by Jason Mandryk and Justin Long (available online at www.momentum-mag.org/200611/200611-article1.pdf). Mandryk and Long visually presented the shift of Christianity and highlighted the overwhelming missionary force that is now coming from non-western countries. We are living in an increasingly post-literate society—a society which is much more responsive to oral and visual stimuli than to the written word. There is a certain importance and urgency in helping the whole Church to understand the multi-faceted ways that God’s kingdom is moving, especially as we remember Christ’s words that “the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Several facets of this shift can be seen through the visualization of the average annual growth rates of Christians and megablocs2 around the world.

Perhaps the first thing to notice about Christian growth rates is that the percentages in and of themselves are of limited usefulness without the numerical data used to calculate the growth rates. It is in the comparison of growth rates, however, that fascinating patterns emerge which give us insights into the major shifts that have occurred in Christianity during the last century. You will notice that graphs 2-4 below illustrate a comparison of growth rates. Graphs 2 and 3 compare the average annual Christian growth rate per United Nations region (represented by the bars), with the average annual population growth for the same region (represented by the red lines). Graph 4 compares the growth rate of Christian megablocs within a continent (bars) by the overall growth rate of Christianity within that same continent (thin black line). There are a few major facts I will highlight; the rest of the exploration is up to you.

Contrary to the title of this article, graph 2 shows us that during the last century Christianity as a whole has grown at roughly the same average annual rate as the population (1.32% and 1.37% respectively). This means that in AD 2000 the percentage of Christians in the world was nearly the same as in AD 1900. So what is meant by the phrase “Christian growth”?

Shift is perhaps a better word to use here since there is certainly no equality in the way Christianity has grown regionally or denominationally. From graph 2 we see that all of the places where Christianity has grown at a faster rate than the population occur on non-western continents (the global South). Europe and North America have experienced declining Christian growth rates, yet all of the African and Asian regions have seen phenomenal Christian growth rates (North Africa and Western Asia are the exceptions due to the dominance of Islam in those regions).While none of these facts are particularly shocking (since the Church has been well aware of these shifts for several decades), visualizing just how dramatic they are paints a compelling picture of the increasingly diversified Church both now and into the future.

Graph 3 takes the data shown in graph 2 a bit further by showing the more recent overall growth of Christians from AD 1970 to AD 2000. While Africa and Asia both led the charge in Christian growth over the last century, Africa did so rapidly during the first part of the century and has since slowed down. Asia, especially eastern Asia, has been responsible for a large portion of the Christian growth over the last few decades. All of these figures can be attributed to a variety of factors: social, political and otherwise. Some, like the impressive growth of Christianity in Eastern Europe during the last thirty years, can be attributed to a single event and its consequences—in this case, the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Graph 4 is less detailed than graphs 2 and 3, only providing growth data at the continental level. However, some important trends are observed in the growth rates of megablocs that sociologically consider themselves Christians. Independent and marginal Christians are by far the fastest growing denominations in almost every area of the world. We must remember that growth rates are only part of the story. Almost twenty percent (385 million) of the world’s Christians were categorized as independent Christians in 2000, and only slightly over one percent (twenty-six million) were categorized as marginal. From these figures we can see just how significant the high growth rates of independent Christians has been to the whole landscape of Christianity—a fact which should prompt even lay Christians to think about their understanding of Christian unity through a global lens.

The decline of Christianity in certain areas of the world is certainly discouraging for some, and all would be wise to dismiss statistics like these as definitively indicative of who is and is not a part of the true Kingdom of God. We must remember that even Jesus in just a few verses before the often quoted Matthew 24:14 warned his disciples that “you will be hated by all nations for my sake” as well (Matthew 24:9). It is the calling of the Lord, not the state of the world, that drives us to ministry, missions and evangelism. However, with a better understanding of the state of the world, we can more effectively complete the task given to us to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

View the graphs at: http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/trendsandstatistics?pg=all


EXPLOSION OF CHRISTIANITY IN NEPAL
In a Virtue Online report, Dr. Robert Sanders writes that in February of 2007 he, among a team of four, went to Nepal under the leadership of the Norman Beale. Map of Nepal

Says Sanders: "In the 1950s there were no Christians in Nepal. By the 1960s there were a handful of Christians, but in the 70s and 80s, there was explosive growth. At the present moment, the number of Christians in Nepal is unknown, but is probably somewhere around 800,000. How did this explosive growth occur? Norman had told me that this growth occurred exactly the way it did as narrated in the book of Acts or in the Gospels. As the New Testament makes clear in repeated statements, He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and further, His aching love was clearly revealed on the cross. None of the gods, goddesses, spirits, or powers known, avoided, feared, or worshipped by the Hindus or Buddhists can withstand or compare to the mighty Name of Jesus."

"Furthermore," notes Sanders, "for many, when they see others suffering, such as orphans, the crippled, or the discarded, they feel it is their duty to leave them in their suffering. To interfere would rob them of their opportunity to atone for karma. Regardless of what is taught in the West about these religions, this is how it works out in practice on the ground. For these reasons, when they hear that Jesus forgives all sin in one stroke, that something called karma has no power over them, that they can have a relationship with Christ and with an all-loving Father, that they and this relationship will last forever, they are thunderstruck. They want God, a loving, eternal, gracious, God. For these reasons, and for many more, there is an explosion of the gospel in Nepal."

"The Gospel did not primarily come to Nepal carried by missionaries and accepted as part of a "superior" external culture. The Gospel came," he concludes, "as in the beginning, by the risen Jesus doing what He always does, healing the sick, casting out demons, forgiving sinners, reconciling families, and giving the hope of eternal life. These are all His works as Savior. It must be said, however, that the deepest joys are given to those who, over a lifetime, follow Him as Lord. They know the meaning of the words from John's Gospel, "Having loved His own He loved them to the end."

Read the full article at

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5632

Source: BreakingChristianNews.com


BOOM TIMES FOR MISSION SOCIETIES
By Lynley Smith of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand
Special to ASSIST News Service

AUCKLAND, NZ -- The fields are, as always, ripe for the harvest and New Zealanders and New Zealand-trained missionaries are hearing the call.

Several mission agencies report a boom year last year and again this year in the number of missionaries sent out, with others holding numbers well.

Pioneers New Zealand national director Jamie Wood is excited about the trend after preparing 12 long-term missionaries for the field last year, eight of whom have left for six different countries.

"This is a 55 per cent jump for us," he said. "It's a sign of a momentum upswing."

Pioneers has 1550 workers worldwide.

"In the past it was mostly childless couples sent out from New Zealand," he said. "Now it's anything from young singles to retirees with the majority being young families with a median age of 28. The common factor in them all is a passion to reach the least-accessed people in the world."

Mr Wood expects Pioneers to be training and sending another 10 to 12 missionaries this year.

OMF International national director Warren Payne said the organisation was seeing an increase in firm applications for long-term mission, most of them young families.

"It comes down to concentrated prayer," he said.

Internationally OMF is setting a goal of finding 900 new workers for the mission field - 700 missionaries and 200 support workers - over the next five years. Over the previous five years 600 new workers were sent. Despite this OMF has more than 700 opportunities not yet filled throughout the world.

WEC International is also expecting a boom year with 14 trainees in its first course and another course yet to be held. It hasn't seen numbers like this in the past five years.

Unlike IMF and Pioneers, WEC has become a training and sending base for missionaries from other countries, especially Korea, which now provides the third largest group after Americans and British, going into the mission field.

But the need for New Zealanders isn't diminishing, says Jamie Wood.

"The world needs New Zealanders. I have just come back from visiting Africa and the national workers in Africa and Asia are crying out for New Zealand people to work beside them."

Mr Wood says New Zealanders have a unique perspective on the world, different from missionaries from the United States or Britain.

"The national workers find New Zealanders and Australians easier to work with. They haven't got that 'superpower' thing. It's from underdog to underdog."

Partnership between the national worker and the missionary and between Pioneers and the sending church are the key, he says.

Source : www.assistnews.net


GOD'S KINGDOM
God's kingdom only knows one direction: Forward. Most Christians in the Western world are unaware of how the Kingdom of God is advancing more than ever before. Christianity is growing three times faster than the world's population! Every day, nearly 200,000 people come into the Kingdom of God! Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world, with a 6.9 percent growth rate, compared to 2.7 percent for Muslims, 2.2 percent for Hindus, and 1 .7 percent for Buddhists! More than 40 percent of the progress in world evangelism from the time of Christ until today has occurred in the past three years!

ORDINARY MISSIONARY SEES HUNDREDS HEALED IN COLUMBIA
INSPIRE By Martin Collins

A British itinerant missionary says he witnessed hundreds of healing miracles during his recent ministry trip to the Colombian city of Cali.

Many were healed including Juan and Anna de Dios, who had received back and neck injuries in a car accident. After prayer all injuries were gone and they were dancing. A woman saw this happen and asked Paul to pray for her father who was lying paralysed on a trolley. He was suffering from liver failure and was unable to speak.

Paul quoted words from Scripture, “You shall run and not be weary; walk and not faint”. He then moved on to another patient. Minutes later the daughter came back to ask Paul to come and see something. When they got back to the (empty) trolley, she said that her father had suddenly sat up and said, “I have to run!” which he did – straight out of the hospital.

On the medical ward he met Jose who asked Paul to pray for him. Paul obliged and moved on. Hearing a loud commotion, he turned to see Jose’s sister calling urgently for him to come and see her brother who was walking. He’d been paralysed from the waist down for more than a year.
By the third week, 90% of the beds contained new patients as the previous occupants had all been healed. Some were cured when they met a previously paralysed man in the toilet – he told them what had happened to him and they were healed on the spot.

“I went to Cali with an expectation of God doing the extraordinary, and I was not in any way disappointed,” says pastor John Crowder. “There was this sense that anything was available if you had the faith to believe for it.

Full story here: Source http://www.inspiremagazine.org.uk/news.aspx?action=view&id=697 (Via The outreach files)


CAMEROON BUS BIBLE MINISTRY
from: Mission Network News (http://www.mnnonline.org) - December 7, 2006 (via The Outreach Files)

Back to the Bible (http://www.backtothebible.org) shares good news from Cameroon. A partner there launched a Christian bus ministry so commuters are now hearing their Australian-produced radio programs.

He plays program CDs in transport buses that travel the city streets. A typical bus carries more than 200 passengers in each of its four daily rounds, so the potential impact of the gospel multiplies with five buses now taking part in the program. Please pray that the message takes root in the hearts of the listeners.

As for the origin of the broadcasts, Christianityworks (http://www.christianityworks.com) in Australia marks a sharp rise in responses to their radio programs. According to their staff, it's skyrocketed to more than 1500 new responses in the last four months in Australia and New Zealand alone.

As for the ideology behind Back to the Bible, they have found that radio goes behind political, geographical, and religious barriers into places where people can't go. It proclaims the gospel message to millions who follow the oral tradition or are illiterate.
Source (http://mnnonline.org/article/9351)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Christianityworks (http://www.christianityworks.com) is the Australia Pacific arm of Back to the Bible.


STAGGERING NUMBERS OF MUSLIMS COMING TO CHRIST
"...many Muslims — including Shiites in Iran and Iraq — are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus, and thus coming into churches explaining that they have already converted, and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus." Michael Ireland/TN (Jan 16th, 2007)

Inaugurating a day of fasting and prayer for persecuted Christians last week during a conference in Malabar, Pastor Paul Ciniraj Mohamed, Director of the Salem Voice Ministries (SVM), based in Kerala, India, said persecuted Christians soon willingly forget hardships, and forgive torture and beatings they have experienced, when they see the unlimited number of lost souls who are coming to Christ and experiencing Salvation. According to the report in ANS, the huge crowd attending the conference in India included a majority of believers in Jesus Christ from the Muslim community.

Ciniraj said "There are about one billion and six hundred million Muslims all over the world. You may think, is it possible to evangelize them? Yes! It is possible, and within a few years all of the Muslim nations will accept Jesus as Lord. Because our Lord 'is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.'" (2 Peter 3:9).

Detailing their outreach, Pastor Shaji Ipe, the General Secretary of SVM, said: "They approach Muslims with prayer and the divine love of Jesus Christ. Firstly, they find out and visit depressed families which have any of its members held in prison, or have long term sickness. Usually they won't get enough care and love from the neighbors or relatives, but are criticized and abused unnecessarily," Ipe said.

"(Our) missionaries show them real love with counseling, nurturing, clothing, medications and healing. They assist those families by cleaning the house, cooking the food, bathing the sick, etc. They make concrete relationships with each of the families. At the same time they keep good relationships with neighboring families too. And they gather together children and adults to share with them stories and fun. In this way they start Bible classes and worship services."

"Another dramatic development is that many Muslims — including Shiites in Iran and Iraq — are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus, and thus coming into churches explaining that they have already converted, and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of Joel, 'In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days...And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.'" (Joel 2:28-32).

According to the research of Prof. Ilyas Ba Yunus, Al Jazeera.net, a leading Islamic TV channel, reported that six million Muslims are converting to Christianity in Africa every year, Ipe said. "Thousands of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, North African, Kashmiri, Indian, Central and South Asian Muslims turn to Christ. Around 50,000 youngsters have been ex-communicated from Islam in Malaysia, because of their Christian faith. Some 35,000 Turks converted to Christianity last year. A vast number of Mullahs and Imams accepted Christ. Two million ethnic Muslims converted to Christianity in Russia. 200,000 UK Mus lims and 10,000 French Muslims also converted to Christianity," he said.

Ipe concluded his report by quoting from Joel C. Rosenberg, "More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2007/s07010059.htm (via The Outreach Files)


TAIWAN: WORKING CLASS PRACTICALLY UNREACHED
Despite numerous successful Christian churches in Taiwan, missionaries are finding the working class mostly unreached by Christianity. Said one man, "I am too embarrassed to go to church because the people there are so highly educated and high class, and I'm not." Government statistics indicate that 3.9% of the 22.9 million inhabitants of Taiwan are Christians. However, mission agencies estimate that less than 0.5% of Taiwan's working class, mostly Han Chinese, are Christian. Several mission organizations are stepping up efforts to reach out to them but local evangelist and church planter Lincy Tu says, "Some white-collar people in Taiwan hear the gospel five times when working-class people don't even hear it once. It's embarrassing." [Christianity Today/HCJB June'06] (Via World Mission Global News)

ASIA: CHINA: NEARLY 2,000 PERSECUTION EVENTS LAST YEAR
A report released by the China Aid Association lists events of persecution in different provinces of China from May 2005 to May 2006. The report shows that 1,958 house church pastors and Christians were affected in 15 provinces across China. Teacher and leadership training events seem to be viewed as particularly threatening by the government officials who seem to aim to control the indoctrination of the next generation of Christians. The central province of Henan was listed as the worst for persecution against house churches with 823 pastors and believers arrested in 11 raids from July 2005 to May 2006. The report shows that police officers and religious affairs cadres often mistreated and tortured the Christian captives. Two women, ages 72 and 21, were forced to strip during questioning. China has about 10 million state-registered Protestants and an estimated 50 to 90 million unregistered "house church" Protestants. [CHINA AID ASSOCIATION/WORLDWIDE RELIGIOUS NEWS] (Via World Mission Global News)

TOP RELIGIOUS PERSECUTORS
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has released its 2006 report naming the world's most severe persecutors of religious followers. The U.S. State Department uses the panel's recommendations to establish "countries of particular concern" (CPCs) in the area of religious freedom. Retained from last year's list of CPCs are Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam. Additionally, the panel repeated recommendation that Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan be designated CPCs, despite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's refusal to include those countries in a State Department report. A "watch list" of additional religious persecutors included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria. The panel continues to analyze reports from India, Russia and Sri Lanka as well. [BAPTIST PRESS, HCJB 06] (Via World Mission Global News)

INTERNET TV OFFERS GLOBAL AUDIENCE
A two-week-old Christian broadcaster is leading the way in using internet TV to reach the world with Christian Programming. Faithglobe.tv is a Wellingborough, UK-based station which hopes to reach audiences around the world without the colossal costs of satellite broadcasting. Until now Christian TV stations have been saddled with overheads of £75,000 to £80,000 a month, forcing them to sell airtime to other organisations such as those of US tele-evangelists. Hugh Jackman, Faithglobe's chief executive, says "We can transmit 24 hours a day for under £10,000 a month". The station's technology provider already supplies 70 other niche channels including yachting industry broadcaster sail.TV. [THE TIMES, 06] (Via World Mission Global News)

THE ARAB WORLD: TV MINISTRY IS BROADCASTED
Arab Vision Television is now broadcasting 24 hours per day into the Arab World, doubling its broadcasts from a year ago. A growing number of Christian TV stations need suitable, top-quality programming, and Arab Vision has stepped up to meet this demand. Many programs are in use by multiple stations and repeated often, significantly reducing the hourly cost of the broadcasts. The programs, spread across eight different satellite stations, include talk shows, documentaries, dramas, teaching programs and music videos. A team of 45 Arab Christians is producing the shows which "do not include any Western-style, dubbed or subtitled programs," said Arab World's production manager. The ministry's international director added, "Our ministry is bearing fruit. Millions are watching the programs. Thousands are responding each month." [ARAB VISION/HCJB 7 June'06] (Via World Mission Global News)

The Simple GOSPEL FACTS !
Presently, more than 70% of Christian effort and ministry is directed at people who already profess to be Christians, WHY is this so ?? While less than 5% of our total missionary activity is focused on those who have never once had a chance to hear about the good news of the Gospel, not even once ! This is a scandal ! (World Missions Global News 2006 No.57)

AFRICA: SUDAN AND ETHIOPIA: CHURCH GROWTH
Explosive church growth and evangelism in Ethiopia and Sudan has caused Nazarene missionary Howie Shute to call this "the greatest movement of God that I have seen in my lifetime. Churches are planting churches that are planting churches." The Nazarene south central district (including Ethiopia and Sudan) reported 200 churches in the last 11/2 years. In addition, more than 50 Bible study groups are in the process of becoming churches. "There are evangelists on the road and in the bush everywhere, all planting Bible studies and churches," he said. "They continue despite a lack of money." The denomination expects to plant more than 400 new churches this year while the Ethiopian leadership has a target of 1,000 new churches. "Pastors and congregations are being persecuted, but they are faithful to God's call to preach this message," Shute said. "The great miracle of Pentecost was 3,000 new believers in one day, but we have had 20,000 in one day praying for their sins to be forgiven!" [EVANGELICAL NEWS/HORN OF AFRICA NEWS 06] (Via World Mission Global News)

THE MIDDLE EAST: ISRAEL: CHRISTIAN TV STATION
Daystar Television Network announced a new contract allowing them to become the first TV channel to broadcast 100 percent Christian programming into every home in Israel. Daystar, which owns and operates 50 US television stations, is excited about the opportunity. President Marcus D. Lamb commented on the pioneering project saying, "Up until now, it has either been illegal, impossible, or impractical. The message of the Gospel will now be going into every home in Israel 24 hours per day, seven days per week. This is a moment in time that we will always remember." The contract came after a year of negotiations and a six-month trial period featuring popular shows "Celebration" and "The Joni Show." Daystar's global purpose is to reach as many people with the good news of the Gospel through an extensive blend of interdenominational and multi-cultural programming. [ASSIST, May '06] (Via World Missions Global News)

CENTRAL AMERICA: MEXICO: GROWING PROTESTANT CHURCH
In the United States, an influx of Mexicans is transforming Roman Catholic churches. But in Mexico, it's Protestants who are on the rise, led by evangelical churches like the Universal Kingdom of God Church, which runs the Sanctuary of Faith. Protestants accounted for 8% of Mexico's believers in the 2000 census, up from 2.3% in 1970. Their numbers are growing 3.7% each year, twice as fast as the Catholic population, according to the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Information Processing.

Protestant churches are especially strong in rural, Indian areas of southern Mexico. And it's not just U.S. missionaries bringing the faith. Many of the new evangelical churches have their roots in Central or South America. [ARIZONA REPUBLIC 06](Via World Missions Global News)


INDIA: MARKET PLACE MISSIONS
Recently 141 business people attended a 'marketplace missions' seminar in Vishakapatnam, India. The result is that those who attended are now linking with some Indian business leaders; not only for economic advance, but to allow the light of the gospel to come through in the marketplace. The goal of David Shibley, Global Advance Ministries, is to align pastors and Christian business leaders to be catalysts for the Great Commission. "With China and India both flexing their economic muscle, could it be that in just
a few decades that we would see the largest number of missionaries worldwide going from Asia, and the largest funding worldwide, also going from Asia? This is a very real possibility." [MNN, '06](Via World Missions Global News)


ATTENDANCE AT CHURCH IN BAGHDAD REACHES 900
Attendance is booming at Rev. Andrew White's church in Baghdad as Iraqi Christians seek solace in religion to cope with a life of car bombings, kidnappings and deprivation. White, a 41-year-old British Anglican priest, travels to Baghdad monthly to minister to Protestants from the West and Iraqi Assyrian Christians who must be bused into the protected Green Zone to hear White preach after al-Qaeda put a price on his head. During the past three years the number of Iraqis attending his services has grown to about 900. "People turn to religion when they are desperate," he said. White began visiting Iraq regularly in 1998 and has witnessed profound changes since then. Under Saddam Hussein he found a more secular society where tensions between religious groups seemed nonexistent. Later he learned the divisions were there, Iraqis were just afraid to speak frankly. [RELIGION TODAY, '06] (Via World Missions Global News)

ASIA: IRAQ: REPORT OF VIBRANT CHRISTIAN GROWTH
Retired Iraqi General Georges Sada reports more Iraqi Muslims becoming Christians than at any other time in the history of the country. Speaking at two occasions in the U.S. last May, Sada shared stories about Saddam Hussein moving weapons of mass destruction to Syria in 2002, his personal refusal to execute U.S. and British prisoners of the first Gulf War, and stories of what God is doing today in Iraq. Bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg had met Sada previously while researching a book. Rosenberg said, "Sada told me that some 5,000 Iraqis have publicly identified themselves as new followers of Christ since Iraq was liberated, and that an estimated eight out of 10 Iraqi believers say they converted because Jesus appeared to them in dreams or visions." Sada reported that the Kurds in northern Iraq are particularly receptive to Christ and are converting "by the hundreds." [ASSIST NEWS SERVICE June'06] (Via World Missions Global News)

COMPARING AMERICAN AND AUSTRALIAN TEENAGERS BELIEF IN GOD
When asked about God, a higher-being or a cosmic force, the differences between US and Australian young people begin to show. Just 3 per cent of American young people reject any idea of there being a God, higher-being or cosmic force, compared with 16 per cent of Australian young people. The large majority of US young people (65%) believe there in a personal God compared with just 38 per cent of Australian young people. When asked the questions whether they believed in God or not, or whether they were unsure, 34 per cent of Australian young people said they were unsure compared with 12 per cent of American young people.

_____________________________US Young People____________Australian Young People
Believe in God_____________________84_____________________________49
Unsure__________________________12_____________________________34
Not believe_______________________3_____________________________17

Views of God or some kind of higher-being
Believe in a personal God_________65_____________________________38
Believe in something out there_____27_____________________________35
Don't know_____________________5______________________________7
Do not believe there is anything____3_____________________________16

While US young people are much more accepting of the idea of God than Australian young people, that even among Australians, the great majority believe there is or there may be something out there.


EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN BRAZIL WILL MAKE 250,000 CHURCHES A REALITY
Brazilians are proud of their country. It is one of the few nations in Latin America with a sound economy, it produces some of the world's best coffee, and Brazil's soccer team has triumphed at World Cup soccer for five years in a row. "God is smiling on our nation," Brazilians often quip. "In fact, he loves us so much, God must be a Brazilian."

One remarkable statistic not much quoted in the national media is the explosive growth of the Evangelical church. In 1991, government statistics indicated that Evangelicals made up barely nine percent of the population. The 2000 census has revealed that Evangelicals in Brazil have exploded to more than 20 percent in barely 10 years!

This sudden burst of growth has bewildered many, but there is a substantive explanation for it. Looking back to the 1980s, the Evangelical church in Brazil enthusiastically launched its own missionary movement. Churches and denominations began to send missionaries to nations all over the world - many of them in the 10/40 Window. These missionaries were Brazilian nationals sent and paid for by their home churches. This movement of genuine concern for the lost around the world was something akin to the sending ethic of the South Korean church, and it clearly pleased God. It became abundantly apparent that a sending church is also a growing church.

In 1993, at the First Brazilian Congress on Missions, church leaders started thinking about strategic church planting in their own nation as well. It was here that leaders from different denominations and para-church agencies adopted a DAWN project titled 'Brazil 2010' with the seeing a church within easy access of every Brazilian. Initial research showed that by the end of 1994, there were about 63,000 Evangelical churches, while 250,000 churches would need to be planted by 2010! This challenge was taken to all five of Brazil's major regions. Churches and denominations were encouraged to respond to the challenge and to plant new fellowships of believers far and wide. Church planters and strategic coordinators were trained and church planting strategies were launched.

As new churches began to appear all over the nation, a new saying was gaining in popularity: "There are three things you can easily find in any town in Brazil - a bradesco (bank) a guarana (Brazilian soda) and an Evangelical church."

Further research showed that while in and around the cities the church had been growing rapidly, in Brazil's Amazon jungle more than 30,000 villages were still completely unreached. The challenge of the unchurched jungle communities has evoked a strong response in many churches in Brazil. Teams of church planters have been dispatched from over 40 cities to the Amazon with the goal to plant riverbank churches. In Manaus, the hub in the Amazon region, some large churches have developed fleets of riverboats to take medical teams and church planters up the Rio Negro and the Amazon to the many hundreds of tributaries and smaller rivers of the region.

Recent research shows that the growth of the Evangelical church has more than trebled since 1994. It is estimated that by the end of 2004 there were 209,000 Evangelical churches in Brazil. At this rate, the goal of 250,000 churches will be surpassed before 2010.

Source: Joel News Service


CHRISTIAN VALUES REACH BEYOND THE FAITHFUL (ENGLAND AND WALES)
By Jonathan Petre
(Filed: 10/04/2006)

The vast majority of Britons think that Christian values are good for the country even if they do not personally believe in God, according to research.

Seven in 10 believe that Christian principles are still valid in today's society, the survey found, and that view was supported by half of those who said that they professed no faith.

Moreover, 74 per cent of those questioned said that children should be brought up with Christian values and 71 per cent agreed that Christianity should continue to be taught in schools.

The poll, by an independent agency for two Christian organisations, will encourage those who argue that Britain remains an essentially Christian country despite growing secularism.

Joel Edwards, the general director of the Evangelical Alliance, one of the organisations, said that millions of people recognised the positive benefits of Christian values.

"Forgiveness, respect, hope and trust are rooted in the Christian faith and they are the antidote to a culture that is being railroaded into an individualistic, rights-orientated mentality," he said.

Fewer people - 33 per cent - believed in the Christian idea of heaven, however, suggesting that New Age beliefs are creeping in.

But the devil and hell still exert a powerful grip on people's imagination, with a fifth of those questioned professing a belief in both. In the poll, 27 per cent of the population said that they still regarded the Bible as a reliable guide to how they ought to live.

In nearly every category, Wales emerged as the most God-fearing part of the country, followed by the North-West.

The survey polled 2,077 members of the general public in January and was carried out by CommunicateResearch for the Evanglical Alliance, an umbrella body representing one million Christians in Britain, and Premier Christian Radio.


CHRISTIANITY IN CHINA
No doubt, if you have logged on to the web site www.ChurchInChina.info, you have been amazed at the amount of new information about China that is available every day. Everyone is writing about this rising superpower that is expected to surpass the USA within the next 20 years. But more amazing is China’s unusual embracing of Christianity. David Aikman in his very informative book, Jesus In Beijing, states on page 285,

“China is in the process of becoming Christianized. That does not mean that all Chinese will become Christians, or even that a majority will. But at the present rate of growth in the number of Christians in the countryside, the cities, and especially within China’s social and cultural establishment, it is possible that Christians will constitute 20 to 30 percent of China’s population within three decades.”

SOME SIGNIFICANT RESULTS IF THAT HAPPENS

* The 70-90 million Christians in China today makes it a major Christian community in the world, but an expected 20-30% increase would place China in a profoundly significant position in the world of missions.

* With such an increase, the suggested 100,000 missionaries for cross-cultural work is actually well within the realm of possibility in the next few decades, and would place China at the vanguard of missionary activity in the twenty-first century.

* As the impact of Christianity in Europe and North America continues its tragic decline, it is a distinct possibility that the center of gravity for Christianity may move decisively out of Europe and North America to China.

* Moreover, in spite of the government’s support for atheism, and some strong liberal theologians in the Three Self Church, there is cause for rejoicing that the majority of Christians in China strongly support the inerrancy of Scripture and evangelical theology.

* And, Amity Press, the official printing press of the Three Self Church with support from the United Bible Societies, has printed more than 40 million Bibles and New Testaments since its founding in 1987. In 2005 alone, 5.2 million Scriptures were printed, more than it has in any previous year!


MOST AMERICANS STILL CHRISTIAN, BUT OTHER FAITHS RISE
NEW YORK (RNS)-A study of American religious identification shows that the majority of adult adherents continue to be tied to Protestant and other non-Catholic denominations but the numbers of those who say they are non-Christians or have no religion have risen
substantially.

The American Religious Identification Survey, 2001, was released last week by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. It is a follow-up to a survey conducted in 1990.

The survey found that 52 I percent of American adults I are Protestant, 24.5 percent are Catholic and 14.1 percent are not affiliated with a religion. Researchers determined that 1.3 percent of adult Americans described their religion as Jewish and 6.5 percent as Muslim.

The results, based on more than 50,000 adult respondents, found that Protestant and other non-Catholic denominations continue to have the majority of adult adherents-more than 105.4 million-but their proportion dropped from 60 percent in 1990 to 52 percent in 2001.

The number of adults who identify with a non-Christian religion rose dramatically from about 5.8 million to 7.7 million. Their proportion increased slightly-to 3.7 percent from 3.3 percent in 1990.

Researchers found that the number of adults identifying with no religion more than doubled, from 14.3 million (8 percent) in 1990 to 29.4 million (14.1 percent) in 2001.

Adults who described themselves as Muslim or Islamic totaled 1.1 million, almost double the number in 1990. Twenty-three percent of this group-said they were black while the vast majority of the others said they were white or Asian.

The study was released in the same week that the American Jewish Committee announced new research it commissioned that estimates that Muslims of all ages total about 1.8 million, far lower than current estimates reported by some media of 5 million to 8 million.

Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, said: "It is hard to accept estimates that Muslims are greater than one percent of the population, or 2,814,000."

By way of the Western Recorder, the official publication of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.


TOP 10 COUNTRIES PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS
1. North Korea
Violations of human rights are the order of the day in the Stalinist country of North Korea, including many breaches of religious rights. North Korea has entered its fourth year as the worst violator of religious rights for Christians. Christianity is observed as a dangerous foreign influence which stimulated the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and therefore poses one of the greatest threats to the regime’s power. As a result, the North Korean authorities are making harsh efforts to root out Christianity. It is believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps, where they face cruel abuses. The hermit regime is suspected of detaining more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world. Several North Koreans became Christians after crossing the border with China and entering into contact with local Christians. Many among these were exposed as believers when they returned to North Korea, and they were specially targeted for arrest. Many of them were tortured and killed. Though no exact figures can be given, our staff estimates that hundreds of Christians were killed by the regime in 2005. Amidst all of this, North Korea is trying to keep up a facade of religious freedom, trying to cover the complete lack of this inalienable human right, by -- among others -- organising government-sponsored religious services in show churches in the capital of Pyongyang, which foreigners are allowed to attend.

2. Saudi Arabia
Also this year, Saudi Arabia remains high in the top ten of the World Watch List. Religious freedom does not exist in the Wahhabist kingdom where citizens are only allowed to adhere to one religion: Islam. No legal protection is provided for freedom of religion, neither does this protection exist in practice. The legal system is based on Islamic law (sharia). Apostasy -- conversion to another religion -- is punishable by death. Although the government recognizes the right of non-Muslims to worship in private, the public practice of non-Muslim worship is prohibited. However, more than 70 expatriate Christians were arrested in 2005 during worship in private homes in what has been called Saudi Arabia´s largest crackdown on Christians in a decade. Most of the arrested Christians were eventually released.

3. Iran
Islam is the official religion in Iran, and all laws and regulations must be consistent with the official interpretation of sharia law. Whereas the deterioration of religious freedom for Christians started with the victory of conservative parties at the beginning of 2004, a new wave of persecution of Christians followed the election of a hard-line conservative president in June 2005, bringing the country to position number 3 in the World Watch List. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hailed his election triumph as a new Islamic revolution that could spread throughout the world and pledged to restore an ‘’Islamic government’’ in Iran, implying that the previous administrations were not sufficiently Islamic. Since 2005's election, many Christians have not only been rounded up for harassment, but many have been arrested and beaten. One house church pastor was killed in November. Ethnic Christians are still allowed to express their faith within their own church walls, but those who come from a Muslim background face tremendous risk because the government wants them to return to Islam. Allegedly, local authorities throughout the nation have been given the order to crack down on all Christian cell groups. Because the churches are forbidden to assist any Muslim background believers, many ethnic churches removed their support from their brothers and sisters of Muslim origin. The new policy threatens evangelism and discipleship efforts. Muslim background believer cell groups are now meeting in secret.

4. Somalia
In Somalia, there is no constitution or any legal provision for the protection of religious freedom. The federal government is very weak as the warlords still have some control in different parts of Somalia. Islam is the official religion and social pressure is strong to respect Islamic tradition, especially in certain rural parts of the country. Most regions make use of local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional clan-based arbitration, or Islamic (sharia) law. Less than one percent of ethnic Somalis are Christian, practicing their faith in secret. In some parts of Somalia, underground believers from a Muslim background find themselves in a worse situation in 2005. Five of these believers were killed by fundamentalist Muslims. As a result, many others became afraid and fled to Kenya and other parts of the world.

5. Maldives
In the archipelago of the Maldives, Islam is the official state religion and all citizens must be Muslims. Sharia law is observed, which prohibits the conversion from Islam to another religion. A convert could lose citizenship as a result. It is prohibited to practice any other religion than Islam, which is considered to be an important tool in stimulating national unity and maintenance of the government’s power. Thus it is impossible to open any churches, though foreigners are allowed to practice their religion in private if they don’t encourage citizens to participate. The Bible and other Christian materials cannot be imported apart from a copy for personal use. In the country -- one of the least evangelized countries on earth -- there are only a handful indigenous believers, and they live their faith in complete secrecy. The lack of respect for religious freedom in the Maldives remained the same during 2005.

6. Bhutan
Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Officially, the Christian faith does not exist and Christians are not allowed to pray or celebrate in public. Also, the government forbids Christian house gatherings that involve several families. Priests are denied visas to enter the country. Christians are being deprived of their rights, such as children’s education, government jobs and setting up private businesses. The import of printed religious matter is restricted, and only Buddhist religious texts are allowed in the country. Society exerts strong pressure to comply with Buddhist norms. Christians are regularly arrested, as the local police often use arrests as a pressure tactic to make believers refrain from witnessing. Believers are not only experiencing pressure from the authorities but also from Buddhists clerics, sometimes experiencing physical assaults.

7. Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the last communist-ruled countries in the world. Although the constitution provides for religious freedom, the atheist regime tries to keep religion under strict control with a system of obligatory registrations. Many believers escape this by not registering. From time to time the Vietnamese government holds campaigns and closes churches, especially in the highlands. Vietnam drops a few places on the list, as Christians have expressed that their situation has improved in 2005, compared to previous years. In November 2004, a new ordinance was implemented in Vietnam to regulate religion. Though many feared this would lead to increasing oppression, it seems that the new ordinance has in fact resulted in slight improvements. The Evangelical Church of Vietnam was allowed to build and renovate church buildings and conduct trainings. For Roman Catholics, the situation improved dramatically: they were allowed to open a new diocese and ordain 57 new priests. Though arrests and beatings of Christians continued during 2005, they seem to take place to a lesser extent than in 2004, when more than 100 Christians were imprisoned and maltreated and an unknown number killed during Easter demonstrations against religious rights.

8. Yemen
The Yemeni constitution guarantees freedom of religion but it also declares that Islam is the state religion and that sharia is the source of all legislation. The Yemeni government allows expatriates some freedom to live out their faith, but Yemeni citizens are not allowed to convert. There are a handful of converts from Islamic background who face the death penalty if they are discovered. During the past year, several Christian converts were arrested and beaten for their faith. Nearly all those arrested were released after paying a fine/bribe.

9. Laos
Together with Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and China, Laos is one of the remaining communist-ruled countries in the world. Laos’ constitution provides for religious freedom. However, the absence of rule of law and specific regulation on religious matters allows local officials to interpret and implement the constitutional provisions as they choose. The Laotian authorities allow limited presence of Christianity and put believers under strict surveillance. The regime limits the number of open churches and regularly closes churches, especially in the countryside. The biggest challenges to the church in Laos are societal pressure against converts who renounce evil spirit worship. But still there are many unregistered activities and the church seems to be growing despite persecution. Our staff in the region report that the situation for Christians has improved over 2005, particularly in the southern part of the country. The situation has especially improved at the grassroots level. Christian leaders in the south have expressed that they are able to undertake many church activities with no or little government interference, and training of leaders by major local leaders has increased. What particularly has changed in the last three years is the increasing ability of church leaders or individual Christians to bring cases of persecution and abuse by local government leaders to the respective national offices. When abuses were reported to the national government, local officials were reprimanded and removed from office or transferred to other locations. However, the main group of Christians in the north continues to face difficulties and persecution. Though to a lesser extent than in previous years, Christians continued to be arrested for their faith and put under pressure to renounce their faith in 2005. Bible imports were cancelled in August as the regime stepped up monitoring the provinces that were used to transport the materials.

10. China
In China, the constitution provides for freedom of religious belief and the freedom not to believe. New comprehensive regulations on religious affairs passed on March 1. The most significant change is that a church can register directly under the Religious Affairs department instead of under the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). There seems to be no real change compared to the old religion law though and it appears that the government is using the new regulations to pressure unregistered house churches to register and extend control over them. During 2005, a massive crackdown took place on house churches throughout China in which thousands of Christians were arrested. Most of them were released after a few days.

Provided by: OPEN DOORS: http://sb.od.org/


HISTORY OF MISSION METHODS: A BRIEF SURVEY
By: Ed Mathews

What methods have been used in the spread of the gospel from nation to nation throughout the centuries? Which ones have been successful? Which ones failed? What strategies from the past can be applied to contemporary efforts in the mission of God? These and similar questions are the basis for the following brief, historical survey.

Solid Beginnings
There is little information about mission methods in the New Testament beyond the work of the apostle Paul. His custom was to select a populous district center where Greek was the common language. He went to the local synagogue to address both Jews and Gentile proselytes -- monotheists who would be sympathetic to his message (Glasser 1981:108,109).

Often Paul was driven out by the Jews, so he turned to the Hellenized ethnic groups which he had contacted in the synagogue assembly. This necessitated a deliberate attempt to put the gospel into Greek thought forms. Hence, contextualization is an essential strategy in mission as old as the church itself.

Paul gathered the converts into churches. These churches functioned as autonomous assemblies of believers. The congregations were not to be supervised by paternalistic missionaries. The apostle taught but did not control. Elders and deacons were chosen by the local believers from among their own membership to guide the life and work of the congregation.

Expanding Efforts
During the two or three centuries after the death of Paul, there is no evidence of any carefully defined mission method in use. Rather, the faith was spread by itinerant preachers and lay witnesses. Most of the advance of the gospel was the result of spontaneous evangelism by the saints (Green 1970:166-178).

Within The Roman Empire
The writings of the Apologists primarily addressed the intellectuals and politicians. They tried to clarify the Christian faith, refute charges of atheism, deny infidelity to the state, and stress the benefit of Christianity for everyone. Since they employed the ideas of Greek philosophers to explain Christian concepts, the Apologists are another example of contextualizing the faith.

Outside The Roman Empire
Those evangelists who went beyond the parameters of the empire vigorously attacked heathenism--denouncing idols and destroying shrines. When they evangelized among their own people, significant movements toward Christ tended to develop. The message, announced in terms of the local culture coupled with the Bible translated into the vernacular of the local people, possessed great persuasive power. Contextualization was an important and necessary part of evangelism though the process was gradual and unplanned.

Clear Plans
The first example of a well-developed mission method occurred in the eighth century among the English missionaries who worked on the continent of Europe. Boniface preached to the Germanic pagans. He used rather aggressive tactics such as defying their gods, cutting down their sacred trees, and demolishing their shrines. He built monasteries to teach converts Christian doctrine and vocational skills. These extraordinary efforts produced a stable society and a well-grounded body of believers.

Boniface, who brought nuns from England, is credited with being the first to formally enlist women in mission work. Church leaders were recruited from among the local people. In his reports to England, Boniface regularly discussed mission strategy. In turn, those in England sent Boniface personnel, money, and supplies (Hillgarth 1986:168-177).

Government Policies
The well-defined strategy of Boniface did not survive the subsequent pagan invasions. Mission by and large became an instrument of imperial expansion--both political and ecclesiastical--employed by kings, emperors, and popes. The Crusades are a tragic example. This trend became institutionalized when the pope divided the non-Christian world into two parts: the already discovered and the yet-to-be discovered lands. He laid upon kings the obligation to evangelize these lands, establish the church, and teach the converts. Missions became a function of government (Neill 1966).

Portugal
The Portuguese developed an extensive trade empire. They held various territories--including Brazil--under their direct control. Usually they suppressed the pagan religions, drove out or destroyed those who resisted, and created Christian communities composed of converts from the lower strata of society.

Spain
The Spanish attempted to transplant western Christianity and culture among those who were brought under their control. At first the explorers ruthlessly exploited the local people. The extermination of an entire tribe of Indians was not uncommon. Later, due to the heroic efforts of Bartholome de las Casas and others, missionaries among the Spanish often functioned as the protectors of the Indians.

A mission would be established on the frontier where Indians were gathered into a small community. Often a garrison of soldiers was in residence to protect both missionaries and converts. The Indians were given minor roles in the cultic life of the church. Folk festivals were "Christianized" and Christian feasts were introduced. Farms were developed and the local people were taught various aspects of western agriculture.

Unfortunately, when the Spanish authorities decided that the mission had civilized the Indians, the missionaries were replaced by government officials. Stern discipline ensued. Land was parceled out among Spanish settlers. The Indians were reduced to a very low level of servitude. For the most part, spiritual nurture was neglected.

France
The French had a different colonial policy. They were interested primarily in furs. Hence, the disturbed the Indians as little as possible. The French missionary was to do the same. He was to live with the Indians in their villages and, although he could teach, baptize, and incorporate them into the church, he was to allow his converts to remain Indians.

Catholic Emphases
In 1622 the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith was created by the Roman Catholic Church to direct their worldwide mission efforts. The "Propaganda," as it was called, wrote manuals on missionary principles and practices, laid down the qualifications for missionaries, established missionary training schools, and decided on the strategy missionaries should use. Some have referred to the members of the Propaganda as the first modern mission methodologists (Schmidlin 1931).

Among these pioneer Catholic mission strategists, two distinct groups developed: innovators and conservators. The former emphasized indigenization. They attempted to contextualize the church in other cultures. The latter emphasized tradition. They sought to reproduce the church in other lands as they understood it in Europe.

Innovators
The innovators in seventeenth century Catholic missions were found in every continent of the world (especially Asia). Those who went to Japan lived in Japanese houses, ate Japanese food, wore Japanese clothes, and practiced Japanese etiquette. These missionaries also used the Japanese language in evangelism. They appointed Japanese converts to the priesthood. In short, they attempted to identify with the local people (Cary 1909). It is little wonder then that a large community of Catholic believers soon came into being.

The missionary efforts of Robert de Nobili in South India went much further (Richter 1908). He became a high caste Hindu scholar. He dressed like a guru (or religious teacher), observed the caste laws, and learned Sanskrit. D Nobili presented Christian doctrine using pagan terms (which the Catholic missionaries in Japan did not do). He made many converts among the high caste Hindus.

Perhaps the best known attempt at cultural identification was in China (Latourette 1967). Matteo Ricci adapted the local ways of life. He even introduced Christian doctrine through the use of Confucian concepts. But, unlike those in Japan and India, Ricci permitted his converts to observe certain pagan ceremonies, namely, those in honor of family ancestors (Chow 1964:226-228); Minamik 1985-15-24). The missionaries formed friendships with numerous influential people in the imperial government which resulted in opportunities to present the faith. This strategy was crowned with success.

Conservators
There were other missiologists in the Catholic Church who took a dim view of these innovative strategies. They held tenaciously to their traditional western terminology and practice. Though undoubtedly motivated by sincere intentions, they attacked those missionaries who attempted to identify with the local culture. Many hurtful charges and counter-charges were issued.

Ultimately the conservators got the upper hand. The Propaganda denounced the idea of cultural identification and its accompanying methodology. A ban on contextualization followed. All Catholic missionaries were required to take an oath of allegiance to the ban. Henceforth missionaries were to behave as Europeans while serving in other lands. The church was to remain a distinctively western institution. For two centuries this paradigm of mission remained in effect. Notwithstanding, today almost all missionaries -- Catholic and Protestant - - acknowledge the necessity of some form of indigenization, identification, or contextualization.

Protestant Strategies
Protestant mission efforts began in the seventeenth century. Much of the Protestant work was focused on the American Indians. Consequently, the early missionary activity on the North American continent provided the models for cross cultural evangelism among Protestants around the world during the next couple of centuries (Warneck 1906). Protestant strategies included public preaching, organizing churches, building towns, and training leaders.

Public Preaching
Evangelism was the first ingredient in early Protestant mission strategy. Most often doctrinal sermons stressing the wrath of God were delivered (though noteworthy exceptions which emphasized the love of God can be found). As a rule, the gospel was proclaimed in public to large audiences (though, again, examples of private approaches to individuals can be cited).

Organizing Churches
The second ingredient in early Protestant mission strategy was gathering converts into churches. At first the new believers experienced a prolonged period of probation before receiving full church membership. Later, in Protestant mission efforts, such a delay was omitted. Once churches were organized, converts were carefully instructed in various elements of the Christian faith.

Building Towns
A third ingredient was the establishment of a Christian town (Bowden 1981:124- 133). John Eliot and others believed that separation from heathen relatives was necessary to insure growth in grace. It was thought that in isolation from pagan influences the converts could live together under strict discipline and regular instruction. Whatever may have been gained in the development of Christian character in these towns was lost in the evangelistic influence that the inhabitants could have had among their unconverted family members.

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, missionaries in Africa and Oceania remained enamored with the idea of nurturing converts in separate Christian villages or mission compounds. The usual result was alienation of the believers from their own people which stymied the sharing of the good news. A sealed-off enclave of saints could not effectively shine as lights in the world.

Train Leaders
Included in each town was a school. The church provided spiritual nurture while the school gave a general education: the one Christianized, the other civilized.

It was believed the school would enable the convert to become part of the modern world (which was often equated with Christian society). Reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught. Agriculture and industrial arts were also studied so that life in a western style community might be possible. Fundamental to this entire academic thrust was the training of local leaders. The missionaries were fully convinced that the most effective leaders for the churches were the "native" people themselves.

The efforts of the pioneer Protestant missionaries cannot be faulted for their faith in the potential ability of the local people. However, their methods should be questioned because of the ethnocentric attitudes which spawned them. Indeed, it was ethnocentrism among the white settlers that resulted in the decline of the colonial Indian towns. Nevertheless, schools would continue to be a basic strategy of missions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Additional Refinements
The die had been cast. For the most part, the primary methods for missions had been articulated. And, though there were disagreements on particular points, the broad parameters of cross cultural evangelism were in place. The methodological developments in subsequent centuries were in fact refinements of what had already been set forth.

Vocational Missionaries
Due to the long distances and slowness of communication, most missionaries since the first century had supported themselves. The Moravians made vocational missions a requirement. This led to the creation of a wide range of craft industries which not only supported the mission effort but also brought the missionaries into intimate contact with the local people. Even though the Moravians were vocational missionaries, their primary thrust was proclaiming the simple story of God reconciling mankind to Himself through Jesus Christ.

Civilizing
Poverty, disease, nonliteracy, cannibalism, widow burning, and other dehumanizing conditions were rampant on the mission field. Everyone agreed that something must be done. In the late 1700's the debate was over what to do first: to Christianize or to civilize. Obviously, both could be beneficial.

Missionaries who went to the more developed societies of India and China usually stressed Christianizing as primary whereas those who went to the less developed regions of Africa and Oceania leaned toward civilizing as a first concern. One group argued that the gospel would inevitably produce a desire for civilization while the other group held that a certain degree of civilization was necessary in order to understand the faith.

In spite of the intensity of the debate, most missionaries believed that the two emphases mutually interacted and should be implemented equally and simultaneously. In theory this was a reasonable idea. In fact it rarely worked that way. The mission efforts in India are a case in point. A substantial emphasis was placed on English language schools and colleges. They produced few converts but gave believers from the lower castes an opportunity for social and economic advancement. This pleased the colonial government and commercial establishment since the schools trained English- speaking employees for them. However, these educational enterprises soon consumed the major portion of the resources of the missions.

Mission Stations
The emphasis on schools resulted in the development of huge mission compounds where converts clustered in social and economic dependence on the missionaries. Unless someone came to Christianity with others of their caste, clan or class group, he suffered expulsion and loss of livelihood. Therefore, in order to keep a person from falling away from the faith, the mission station became a place to live and work (Neill 1964:380). Local believers were paid to do what they should have done voluntarily.

This practice was similar to the Christian towns built by John Eliot and others in the seventeenth century. The missionary compound was almost a "city unto itself" with houses, church, school, hospital, and printing press. The expatriate was preacher, employer, paymaster, policeman, mayor, and judge. Such a system was very western, very complicated, and very paternalistic.

Indigeneity was impossible and evangelism was to a certain degree stifled in the mission station approach. Missionaries exercised authority over all aspects of the community. Their decisions were final. The nationals became mere cogs in the mission machinery. Outside of the compound there were preaching points -- rather than organized churches -- because the local people were neither allowed nor trained to assume the direction of these village assemblies.

Three-Self Formula
In the middle of the nineteenth century then, the time was ripe for some fresh thinking. This was aptly realized in the influence of four outstanding mission strategists.

Henry Venn. As the general secretary of the Church Missionary Society in London, Henry Venn set a goal of establishing churches that would be self-governing, self-supporting, and self- propagating. He taught as soon as a church was functioning in these ways, the missionaries should go to "regions beyond" where they could begin the process again. The aim of mission was to start churches that would start churches that would start churches -- churches that were self-sufficient, independent of the missionary, and indigenous in appearance and activity (Shenk 1983).

Rufus Anderson. Simultaneous with, yet independent of Henry Venn, the secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Rufus Anderson, arrived at practically the same basic mission principles. The latter disagreed with the stress on "civilizing," believing that such change would eventually result from the leaven of the gospel in the life of a nation. The task of mission, according to Anderson, was to preach the word and gather converts into churches. These congregations were to be led by the local people. All auxiliary enterprises -- schools, hospitals, printing presses, and the like--were to be solely for evangelism and for the edification of the church (Beaver 1967).

John Nevius. The strategies of Venn and Anderson were modified even further by a Presbyterian missionary in China, John Nevius. He sought to place more responsibility on the local believers while leaving them in their usual place in society. In other words, Nevius encouraged the development of a volunteer, unpaid corps of national evangelists who would be trained by rigorous Bible study and practical experience (Nevius 1958). His fellow workers in China did not adopt the Nevius plan, but the missionaries in Korea did. The amazing success of the Presbyterians in Korea is in part attributed to his ideas.

Gustav Warneck. Almost immediately after Venn and Anderson passed the baton of leadership, mission executives and field missionaries reasserted the position that national converts were unable to provide adequate governance for local congregations. Hence, the three-self formula went into partial eclipse. Gustav Warneck, a German mission strategist, articulated a compromise, namely, he suggested the establishing of churches that would remain under the supervision of the missionary until full ecclesiastical development had been attained.

In the decades just prior to the twentieth century, mission efforts were, therefore, by and large paternalistic in nature. This unhappy situation lasted until a survey (which was made in preparation for the World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh in 1910) revealed the restlessness of the national churches chaffing under missionary domination (Hogg 1952:98-101). Consequently, a massive surge toward "devolution" of authority by the missionaries occurred. A new day was dawning.

Social Improvement
While missionaries were attempting to place the church in the hands of the nationals, it became obvious that the local people needed assistance with the physical dimensions of their lives. In the spirit of helpfulness, then, as well as the desire to improve the economic base of the church, missionaries introduced alternative agricultural methods, medical services, and educational opportunities. It was soon relearned that gestures toward social improvement had dramatic effects on preaching the gospel. Negatively, it consumed the lion's share of mission resources. Positively, it served as a visual aid par excellence of the good news.

Women Missionaries
Another refinement in mission strategy appeared in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. The customs in most cultures made it almost impossible for male missionaries to teach local women. Missionaries' wives were limited by their homemaking responsibilities. Thus, single women were needed on the field.

Churches and mission boards -- which were dominated by men -- were reluctant to send women as missionaries. Out of desperation, therefore, women began to form their own societies and to send single women overseas to share the gospel with other women. The history of their service occupies a unique chapter in the annals of missions, a chapter filled with stories of unstinting service that was frequently rewarded with an abundant harvest. Hence, the trail blazed by Boniface -- when he enlisted women in mission work -- was rediscovered a thousand years later!

Comity
One more feature of nineteenth century missionary strategy should be listed: the practice of comity. Stewardship of manpower and money was a high priority among mission boards and societies. Waste was abhorred. Resources were to be stretched as far as possible. So the idea of comity was developed, that is, giving one mission agency the responsibility to evangelize a certain group of people in a nation. Supposedly double occupancy of a region would be avoided. Overlap would be eliminated so that competition along denominational lines would no longer confuse the local populace. Since prior work in a particular territory was recognized, new mission efforts were to go to unoccupied areas.

Comity did not work well. Some mission agencies neglected to evangelize their assigned region. Others refused to stay within the boundaries of their designated allotment. And the unanticipated rise of new mission groups that had not been included in the original agreement resulted in an increasing number of missionaries who ignored it altogether (Beaver 1962:273). Thus, what was designed to quell confusion in the end created confusion.

All of this is reminiscent of the papal decree in the late 1400's that divided mission responsibility between Spain and Portugal, between the discovered and yet-to-be discovered lands. Comity was not successful in the fifteenth nor the nineteenth centuries.

Recent Developments
Between 1910 and 1945 the most notable development in mission strategy was the centrality of the national church. The emphasis was on believers in the third world having full independence and complete authority in the life and work of their congregations. The "indigenous church" became the watchword of this period.

The focus on indigeneity prepared the way for what was soon to follow. With the conclusion of the Second World War, the domination of the west over the non-west for the most part came to an end. The political, social, and economic changes in the post-war era demanded a radical rethinking of mission methods. The moment had arrived for some new strategies in world evangelism.

Spontaneous Expansion
Though Roland Allen had expounded his ideas in the 1920's, they did not find many sympathetic ears until after World War II. The capstone of his thinking was expressed in his book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church. In a simplified form, his strategy advocated that (1) the missionary initiate the beginning of an indigenous church while (2) the Holy Spirit guide the congregation to develop its life and work. It was thought that, since the Spirit of God wishes to dwell in an ever-expanding circle of worshipers, the local body of believers would become spontaneously missionary. The expatriate should stand by as a concerned friend to counsel and encourage his brothers and sisters in the faith at crucial points in their Christian activity. Such a strategy is reflected in the work of the apostle Paul. It leaves the sovereign God at the heart of His church and her mission.

People Movements
In the 1950's Donald McGavran began to address the issue of initiating indigenous churches. He built on the previous work of Christian Keysser of New Guinea who championed "tribal conversions" and J. W. Pickett of India who emphasized "mass movements." People movements are a means of church growth, a way of facilitating Christian conversion without social dislocation. The new convert remains in full contact with his non- Christian relatives, enabling them across the years, after suitable instruction, to accept Jesus and be formed into sound churches. These congregations are likely to be more stable, faster growing, and highly indigenous since Christian conviction is buttressed by social cohesion.

Unreached Peoples
The past has bequeathed to the present a legacy of "tried and true" methods to reach the world. Contemporary concern centers on the 17,000 groups of people among whom there is no indigenous community of believers with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize their own people. The challenge is to provide every group of people on earth with a valid opportunity to hear the gospel in a language they can understand. The goal is to establish a people movement within every unreached society so that the saving message of Jesus Christ is accessible to everyone on planet earth.

A new era in world mission has come. A renewed commitment to the obligation of reaching the lost is growing. Renewed efforts to effectively plant the church is mushrooming. New technology to aid in the proclamation of the good news is being employed. This is a time of unprecedented mission activity. The danger is to plan as if nothing has been done in the past, to go as if no one has gone before. Tragic mistakes can and will, indeed must, be avoided by a knowledge of the history of mission methods.

With thanks to GO GLOBAL MISSIONS REPORT (MAURICE ANTONELLI) for printing this report. Register at mauricea@coscom.net


SHIFT OF CHRISTIANITY FROM WEST
A report released last month by the Lausanne Researchers' Network highlights the profound southern geographical shift of global Christianity in the past century. "USA Evangelicals/Evangelicals in a Global Context" provides new data on the southern shift in the evangelical movement from its roots in the U.K. and the U.S. The study shows that 80% of all Christians in 1900 came from Europe and North America; by 2005 it was less than 45%. This statistic correlates with the finding that of the estimated number of evangelicals worldwide, growing to 688 million from 250 million in the last 105 years, most are increasingly found outside of the Western world. Africans, Asians and Latin Americans are more typical representatives of evangelicalism than Americans or Europeans. People of African descent represent 31% of evangelicals while Asians and Latin Americans make up 15 and 13% respectively.

[CHRISTIAN POST, 2 Jan.'06]


MORE GLOBAL GOOD NEWS
* Kazakhstan went from 100 evangelicals in 1990 to 6000 in 2000.

* Between 1990 and 2004, Christians in Cambodia grew from 200 to 400,000.

* Until about 1990, the death rate from unnatural causes in Colombia's Bellavista Prison was 600 a year, all murders! It quickly sank to one a year when prisoners began receiving Christ in large numbers. The atmosphere of violence has been erased.

* In 1981 Rio de Janeiro had 30 spiritist centers for each evangelical church. By 1996, that had flip-flopped to 40 evangelical churches for each spiritist center.

* In beleaguered Kurdistan, there were no believers in 1992. Today, there are churches in every major city.

* Swedish radio mission IBRA estimates, "In the Middle East, there are perhaps millions of isolated 'radio Christians' who have become Christians through hearing evangelistic transmissions."

* More Muslims have turned to Christ in the last ten years than in the previous 1000 years.

* More than 100,000 members of the Hmong tribe in northern Vietnam have turned to the Lord after listening to Christian radio programs. (No missionaries involved.) This was discovered by accident because none of them were literate enough to write to the station and report their massive response.

* Eight out of ten humans now have access to the entire Bible in their own language.

[From the book MEGASHIFTS, by James Rutz]


COMMITMENT TO GOD IN THE USA - A BARNA SURVEY
Surveys Show Pastors Claim Congregants Are Deeply Committed to God But Congregants Deny It!

January 9, 2006

(Ventura, CA) – How committed to God are Americans? It depends who you ask. Two new national surveys conducted by The Barna Group provide a glimpse into the contradictory views of church pastors and the people who attend churches, suggesting that the optimistic views of pastors are not justified. There is a huge gap between the perception of pastors and the reality of people’s devotion to God.

Pastors Believe That All Is Well Spiritually

Based on interviews with a representative national sample of 627 Protestant pastors, the Barna study discovered that pastors believe a large majority of their congregants deem their faith in God to be the highest priority in their life. On average, pastors contend that 70% of the adults in their church consider their personal faith in God to transcend all other priorities. Amazingly, as many as one out of every six pastors (16%) contends that 90% or more of the adults in their church hold their relationship with God as their top life priority!

Adults Are Lukewarm About God

In contrast to the upbeat pastoral view of people’s faith, a nationally representative sample of 1002 adults was asked the same question – i.e., to identify their top priority in life – and a very different perspective emerged. Only one out of every seven adults (15%) placed their faith in God at the top of their priority list. To make an apples-to-apples comparison, the survey isolated those who attend Protestant churches and found that even among that segment of adults, not quite one out of every four (23%) named their faith in God as their top priority in life.

Some population niches were more likely than others to make God their number one focus. Among those were evangelicals (51% of whom said their faith in God was their highest priority), African-Americans (38%) and adults who attend a house church (34%). The people groups least likely to put God first were adults under 30 years of age, residents of the Northeast and West, and those who describe themselves as “mostly liberal” on political and social matters.

Regardless of how the population was evaluated, though, there was no segment of the adult population that came close to the level of commitment that Protestant pastors claimed for churchgoers.

Misunderstanding Based on Poor Assessment

In trying to understand how pastors could have such a positive notion of the faith commitment of their people at the same time that the people themselves deny making God their top priority, the survey of Protestant pastors sheds light on the issue. A question asking pastors to identify the specific standards they use to evaluate the spiritual commitment of congregants showed that few pastors rely upon criteria that reflect genuine devotion to God.

Overall, only one measure – how many people are involved in some form of church-related volunteer activity or ministry effort – was listed by at least half of all pastors (54%) as a measure of the spiritual health of their congregation. Only two other criteria – church attendance and some type of life change experience (usually meaning that a person has made a first-time commitment to Jesus Christ as their savior) were named as important criteria by more than one out of every seven pastors. (Each of these criteria was listed by 45% of all pastors.) Other top-rated standards were whether congregants were involved in evangelism (13%), how much new information or knowledge about Christianity the people received (10%), how much money was donated to the church (10%), and the comments made by congregants to the pastor (10%).

The unifying thread running through pastors’ responses to an open-ended survey question regarding how congregational health is assessed was that the most common measures do not assess much beyond the superficial participation of people in church or faith-related activity. On average, a pastor might seek information as to attendance relative to previous years; how many people, if any, had accepted Christ as their savior; and whether there were enough people involved in the church’s ministry to keep existing programs going. In other words, the typical pastor measures the spiritual health of congregants by considering one or two numbers (e.g. church and Sunday school attendance) and a handful of vague impressions (what did exit comments suggest about people’s reaction to the sermon, how widespread was people’s participation in the singing, were there enough people who were sufficiently trained to enable the services and programs to operate smoothly).

Perhaps the most telling information relates to the measures that are not widely used by pastors to assess people’s spiritual health. Less than one out of every ten pastors mentioned indicators such as the maturity of a person’s faith in God, the intensity of the commitment to loving and serving God and people, the nature of each congregant’s personal ministry, the breadth of congregational involvement in community service, the extent to which believers have some forms of accountability for their spiritual development and lifestyle, the manner in which believers use their resources to advance the kingdom of God, how often people worship God during the week or feel as if they have experienced the presence of God, or how faith is integrated into the family experience of those who are connected with the church.

Activity That Does Not Concern Churches

In fact, the survey found some disturbing results concerning the priorities of pastors in how they measure spiritual health.

Stewardship is rarely deemed a meaningful measure of church vitality. Church budgets are typically set based on the assumption that the average congregant will give 2% to 3% of their income to the ministry. Consequently, the fact that only 6% of born again adults tithe is not seen as an indicator of lukewarm commitment.

Evangelism is not a priority in most churches, so the fact that most churched adults do not verbally share the gospel in a given year is not deemed problematic. Only one out of every eight churches bother to evaluate how many of their congregants are sharing their faith in Christ with non-believers.

When pastors described their notion of significant, faith-driven life change, the vast majority (more than four out five) focused on salvation but ignored issues related to lifestyle or spiritual maturity. The fact that the lifestyle of most churched adults is essentially indistinguishable from that of unchurched people is not a concern for most churches; whether or not people have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior is the sole or primary indicator of “life transformation,” regardless of whether their life after such a decision produces spiritual fruit.

Churches are prone to looking for indicators of serving people within the church more often than seeking signs that needy people outside the church are being cared for. In fact, for every two churches that consider the congregation’s breadth of ministry to people not connected to the church to be an indicator of spiritual health, there are five churches that focus on the amount of “in-reach” activity undertaken.

Pastors are nine times more likely to seek reactions to their sermon than they are to assess the congregation’s reactions to visitors.

Perhaps most alarming of all, pastors were 21 times more likely to evaluate whether people showed up (i.e., attendance) than to determine whether people experienced the presence of God during their time at the church.

The Measures Dictate the Outcomes

According to George Barna, the best-selling author of books such as Revolution, The Habits of Highly Effective Churches, and The Second Coming of the Church, two well-known adages summarize the situation. “It has been said that ‘you get what you measure’ and that ‘you see what you want to see.’ Both of those sayings go a long way toward describing the assessment problem that plagues churches today,” he stated. “The only way to explain the enormous gap between the perceptions of pastors and the reality of people’s lives is to understand that pastors evaluate spiritual health from an institutional perspective – that is, are people involved in keeping the system going – while people are aware of their unmet need to have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God.”

Barna, whose firm conducted both national surveys, felt that the information could help churches reconsider how they evaluate their ministry. “The nation’s adults deserve some credit for recognizing and acknowledging that God is not a top priority in their life. The challenge to church leaders is to stop pandering for popularity and to set the bar higher. People only live up to the expectations set for them. When the dominant expectations are that people show up, play nicely together and keep the system going, the potential for having the kinds of life-changing experiences that characterized the early Church are limited, at best. If churches believe in the life-changing power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit, they must hold people to a higher and more challenging standard.”

“There has never been a time,” the researcher continued, “when American society was in more dire need of the Christian Church to provide a pathway to a better future. Given the voluminous stream of moral challenges, and the rampant spiritual hunger that defines our culture today, this should be the heyday for biblical ministry. As things stand now, we have become content with placating sinners and filling auditoriums as the marks of spiritual health.”

Source of This Information

The data reported in this summary are based upon two telephone surveys conducted in October and November 2005. One survey included interviews with a nationwide random sample of 1002 adults, 18 years of age or older. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample in this survey is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All non-institutionalized adults in the 48 contiguous states were eligible to be interviewed and the distribution of respondents in the survey sample corresponds to the geographic dispersion of the U.S. adult population. The data were subjected to slight statistical weighting procedures to calibrate the survey base to national demographic proportions. Households selected for inclusion in the survey sample received multiple callbacks to increase the probability of obtaining a representative distribution of adults.

The other survey was conducted among 627 Senior Pastors of Protestant churches across the nation, distributed proportionally among denominations. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample in this survey is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Churches included in the survey sample were located within the 48 continental states and received multiple callbacks to increase the probability of obtaining a representative distribution of pastors and churches.

The Barna Group, Ltd. (which includes its research division, The Barna Research Group) is a privately held, for-profit corporation that conducts primary research, produces audio, visual and print media, and facilitates the healthy spiritual development of leaders, children, families and Christian ministries. Located in Ventura, California, Barna has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each new, bi-weekly update on the latest research findings from The Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna web site www.barna.org. © The Barna Group, Ltd, 2006


THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

Here is the answer!

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: The surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious
reality which the children could remember.

1. The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

2. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

3. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

4. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

5. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

6. The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

7. Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

8. The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

9. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

10. The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

11. The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles'Creed.


WHERE ARE THE MEN?
You're not just imagining it - Christianity is short on men. Here are the statistics:

*** The typical U.S. Congregation draws an adult crowd that's 61% female, 39% male. This gender gap shows up in all age categories.
*** On any given Sunday, there are 13 million more adult women than men in America's churches.
*** This Sunday almost 25 percent of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands.
*** Midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants.
*** The majority of church employees are women (except for ordained clergy, who are overwhelmingly male).
*** As many as 90 percent of the boys who are being raised in church will abandon it by their 20th birthday. Many of these boys will never return.
*** More than 90 percent of American men believe in God, and 5 out of 6 call themselves Christians. But only 2 out of 6 attend church on a given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church.
*** It's not just a lack of presence; most of the men who do attend our worship services just aren't "getting it." Every week the gospel bounces off their souls like bullets off superman’s chest. Here are the facts:

*** A significant number of churchgoing men attend out of habit, unaffected by what they hear.
*** Quite a few men go to church simply to keep their wives/mothers/girlfriends happy.
*** The majority of men who attend church do nothing during the week to grow their faith.
*** Relatively few churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men's ministry.
***This gender gap is not just a U.S. phenomenon; churches around the world are short on men. No other major religion suffers such a large, chronic shortage of males. In the Islamic world men are publicly and unashamedly religious-often more so than women. Of the world's great religions, only Christianity has a consistent, nagging shortage of male practitioners. Jesus had no trouble captivating men. Fishermen dropped nets full of fish tofollow Him, but today's church can't convince men to drop their TV remote controls for a couple of hours a week.

The Big Questions:

??? What is it about modern Christianity that is driving men away?
??? Jesus was a magnet to men, but our churches repel them. What's changed?
??? Why do rival faiths inspire male allegiance, while ours breeds male indifference?
??? What can we do about it?

Source:
www.churchformen.com/allmen.php


MEGASHIFT
That's the title of American author Jim Rutz's recently-published book. It's hotly debated on TV, and one of Amazon's top sellers. It has also caused controversy in broad swathes of self-contented US Christianity. 'Megashift' is a sharp-minded analysis of current Christianity around the world, and is partly based on dozens of carefully-researched reports. Rutz is now one of the popular columnists in the conservative Internet news site World Net Daily (www.worldnetdaily.com).

What are his main observations? - The 1700-year nightmare is over: the Constantinian Shift is shifting back. Under Emperor Constantine, the Church became an imperial audience, but is now finally freeing itself from the corset of state control.

An unprecedented transfer of divine power is underway, from clerics into the hands of ordinary people. According to Rutz' research in 49 nations, hundreds of people have been raised from the dead in the past 15 years.

This is giving rise to an entirely new form of Christianity - with far greater repercussions than the Protestant Reformation.

Over 1 billion non-Christians could become active Christians in the next 10 years.

When millions of ordinary people do extraordinary things
The Charismatic Evangelical movement, currently numbering 707 million people around the world, is growing by 8 percent per year. That alone is exciting. The centre of this movement, though, is a mostly unknown and little-understood movement of 100 million Christians who have no building and neither pastor nor programme. "A church without vertical hierarchies," says Rutz, "which will change the future." They have experienced what Rutz calls a 'lifestyle upgrade':

Lifestyle upgrade
Anyone who uses computer software knows what an upgrade is: a new and better version of a programme replaces the old version. Through an act of God, many millions of people have experienced an 'inner upgrade' leading to an entirely new quality of life. Rutz lists a number of changes and advantages offered by this upgrade, which were previously unthinkable for many people:

People experience release from the limitations and burdens of a traditional, hierarchical (and unbiblical) religious system, being freed into an 'open Christianity' with 100% participation.

They are no longer a number in someone else's religious programme.
They experience personal empowerment and are able to do things they previously could not even have dreamed of, including the supernatural (healing, prophesying, performing miracles etc.)

They learn to overcome their own problems, and help others to overcome theirs.

They experience fellowship with a small group of close friends who give mutual support, so that each person and the whole group reaches God's aims, which are their calling.

In doing so, they find that which they have sought for their whole life.

Away from spectator religion
The path away from spectator religion frees people from fixed church role-playing. Previously, many people were passive, conformist churchgoers, experiencing church as a television without a remote control. The personal involvement of every follower of Christ, though, rouses millions of talents and abilities to solve even the most difficult problems. The result is a 'Megashift', a quantum leap in church history.

Post-Protestant revival
Protestantism was an important epoch in church history, but it is now time to stop protesting and start acting. The current post-Protestant awakening is larger than the great American revivals since 1727 under Wesley, Whitefield, the Herrnhuter or Johnathan Edwards. "This third Reformation," says Rutz, "has three characteristics:"

The church is transforming itself from an organisation to an organism
After 1700 years of institutional structure, the Body of Christ is emerging in the form described in the New Testament. People are rediscovering the original forms and functions in an open, participatory system mostly consisting of house churches.

100% active
Moving away from the one-man church system, in which the pastor literally did everything, a growing number of Jesus' followers are becoming active participants, leaving their spectators' seats and taking their place on the playing field. It should be no surprise the number of goals scored increases. When 100 people pray for the sick, prophesy, and plant churches instead of just one, it is also reasonable to expect the number of miracles to increase.

Immense numbers of new believers
Church growth outside America is breathtaking. Tens of thousands of new believers (Rutz speaks of 175,000 per day) means that although all religions are growing naturally, only Christianity is experiencing significant growth through conversion. Where religions meet, Christianity almost always gains new believers, and new networks of house churches are formed.

How to be part of this Megashift?
Stop going with the flow, and decide to actively turn away from the outdated control structures (clerics & laypeople).

Take responsibility. That also means paying the price of being a pioneer, including Christian friends' suspicion and ostracism.

Learn to love others, overcoming selfishness and becoming a team player. That requires a lifestyle of repentance and obedience, out of healthy enthusiasm, not duty.

Help carry others' burdens, and not stagnate but take small steps forward every day.

Rutz says: "Is there a small voice inside saying 'That's right!'?" Follow it. But you also have the choice to ignore it. That too is freedom. But please don't complain later.

Source: Jim Rutz, www.megashift.org


"REVOLUTION" - An Extract.
-From George Barna's pre-manuscript of a forthcoming book.

As we journey together, I want to show you what our research has uncovered regarding a growing sub-nation of people, already well over 20 million strong, who are what we call Revolutionaries.

What "established systems" are they seeking to "overthow or repudiate" and "thoroughly replace," in Webster's words?

They have no use for churches that play religious games, whether those games are worship services that drone on without the presence of God or ministry programs that bear no spiritual fruit.

Revolutionaries eschew ministries that compromise or soft sell our sinful nature to expand organizational turf.

They refuse to follow people in ministry in leadership positions who cast a personal
vision rather than God's, or who seek popularity rather than the proclamation of truth in their public statements, or who are more concerned about their own legacy than that of Jesus Christ.

They refuse to donate one more dollar to man-made monuments that mark their own achievements and guarantee their place in history.

They are unimpressed by accredited degrees and endowed chairs in Christian colleges and seminaries that produce young people incapable of defending the Bible or unwilling to devote their life to serving others. And Revolutionaries are embarrassed by language
that promises Christian love and holiness but turns out to be all sizzle and no substance.

In fact, many Revolutionaries have been active in good churches that have biblical preaching, people coming to Christ and being baptized, a full roster of interesting classes and programs, and a congregation packed with nice people. There is nothing overtly
wrong with anything taking place at such churches. But Revolutionaries innately realize that it is just not enough to go with the flow. The experience provided through their church, although better than average, still seems flat. They are seeking a faith experience that is more robust and awe-inspiring, a spiritual journey that prioritizes transformation at every turn, something worthy of the Creator whom their faith reflects...

Revolutionaries zealously pursue an intimate relationship with God, which Jesus Christ promised we could have through Him...

In this book I will describe what The Barna Group has learned about this under-the-radar but seminal renaissance of faith that will remake the religious contours of this country over the coming quarter-century.

[Barna goes on to predict the complete re-shaping of the way people experience "church" in America]:

Whereas "Christian community" has generally been limited to the relationships facilitated within a congregation, the Revolution is bursting open the walls of the worldwide Church to birth a truly international network of relationships...

The U.S. will see a reduction in the number of churches, as presently configured (i.e. congregational-formatted ministries).

Church service attendance will drop... Donations to churches will drop... Churches' already limited political and cultural influence will diminish even further at the same time that Christians will exert greater influence through more disparate mechanisms.

Fewer church programs will be sustained in favor of more communal experiences among Christians...

To some, this will sound like the Great Fall of the Church. To Revolutionaries, it will be the Great Reawakening of the Church.

New scenarios do not mean mayhem and dissipation. In this case, they represent a new day in which the Church can truly be the Church--different than what we know today, but more
responsive to and reflective of God.

-------------------------------------------------
'Roger' [from the Denver House Church Gathering] adds:

When I consider how widely read Barna is by traditional church leaders, I predict this book (due out in October) will rock some worlds.

The New Revolutionaries:
I have so much to write, having returned from the House Church conference in Denver, and so little time right now. One highlight was Thom Black, from the Barna Research Group, who shared some incredible facts about what is happening in the church of America. I will quote from Wolfgang Simson (who was at the conference) who summarized this information in his Friday Fax:

"Revolution", George Barna's new book, will be published in September. Barna leads a church research institute, and is currently the most-quoted person in the Christian church in the USA because of his statistical work. To summarize the book's
most important conclusions:

* The number of Christians attending local church in the USA is declining rapidly. Today, 70% of Christians attend traditional churches, but this will sink to 30-35% in 20 years;

* The number of followers of Jesus who do not attend a local church will grow from 30% to 70% in the next 20 years;

* Alternative fellowship forms (house church/simple church, post-modern churches etc.), currently home for 5% of USA Christians, will grow to make up 30-35% another 30-35% will live out their faith in the fields of media, arts and culture; the remaining 5% of Christians attending non-traditional forms of church will have a family-based spiritual life;

* Conclusion: a minority group presently not even noticed by many will become the mainstream of North American Christianity in only two decades.

We received a pre-manuscript of this book and it will rock the church world. Barna describes this growing group of Christians that no longer attend traditional churches as "revolutionaries." He goes on to describe them in a very positive light.....

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George Barna's website- www.barna.org

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20,000 'NEO-APOSTOLICS'
20,000 'NEO-APOSTOLICS'
While researching his soon to be published book 'Apostolic Genius', Alan Hirsch, author of 'The Shaping of Things to Come' "stumbled upon some extremely notable, even astonishing, discoveries by important observers of the global Christian scene." Already in 2001, Professor David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson mentioned that there were already 111 million Christians without a traditional local church. Barrett highlights particularly the development of the so-called 'Neo-Apostolic' networks and movements, of which there are already over 20,000 around the world, numbering around 394 million Christians. According to Barrett, these Christians reject historical denominationalism and all restrictive central authority, and attempt to lead a life of following Jesus, seeking a more effective missionary lifestyle. They are the fastest-growing Christian movements in the world. Barrett estimates that by the year 2025, these movements will have around 581 million members, 120 million more than all Protestant movements together. Hirsh confirms the trend from his own experience, and believes that these new Christian movements "are simply under the radar of traditional Christianity", at least as long as it holds on to the classical Constantine church structure (pastor + building + programme = church).

Source: Alan Hirsch, www.forge.org.au


NEW PAGE HELPS CHURCH WEBSITES REACH OUT EFFECTIVELY
What happens when a church creates a website with just its members in mind? Only the members read it! But what is the result when a church has a site specifically designed to reach outsiders, in user-friendly language which connects with their lives?

“Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website, than anything else,” says one church webmaster, who uses these principles.

There are ways to build (or transform) a church site to achieve this effectiveness. See Internet Evangelism Day’s page – ‘60+ Tips for Effective Church Sites’:

This is just one of many resources available on the Internet Evangelism Day site. It also offers downloadable presentations that churches can use to create a web evangelism awareness focus day. “The Internet is a tool of amazing power for outreach,” says the Day coordinator Tony Whittaker. “But we must learn how to use it.”

Check it out now at... www.InternetEvangelismDay.com/tips


USA (AND THE WORLD?) THE YOUNGER THE CHURCH THE MORE EVANGELISTIC
American church planter Larry Kreider tells of an astonishing observation in his upcoming book "The emerging house church networks": Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, USA, examined the link between the age of a church and its evangelistic effectiveness. Viewed statistically, church planted over 10 years ago needs the effort of 85 Christians to lead
one person to Christ. A church between 4 and 7 years old needs only 7 people, and a church planted less than three years ago needs only three people to lead one person to Christ. The obvious conclusion: the younger the church, the easier it is to win new people for Christ. Source: Fuller Theological Seminary study, quoted by Larry Kreider, House to House, 1924 W. Main Street, Ephrata, PA 17552, USA


STATISTICS OF MARTYRDOM
LARGEST MARTYRDOM SITUATIONS
1. 1921-1950, Christians die in Soviet prison camps 15,000,000
2. 1950-80, Christians die in Soviet prison camps 5,000,000
3. 1214, Genghiz Khan massacres 6 million Christians 6,000,000
4. 1358, Tamerlane destroys 15-million-strong Nestorians 4,000,000
5. 1929-37, 14.5 million Orthodox killed by Stalin 2,700,000
6. 1560, Conquistadors kill 15 million Amerindians 2,000,000
7. 1925, Soviets attempt to liquidate Roman Catholics 1,200,000
8. 1258, Baghdad captured in massacre by Hulaku Khan 1,100,000
9. 1214, Diocese of Herat sacked by Genghiz Khan 1,000,000
10. 1939, Nazis execute thousands in death camps 1,000,000

MOST SEVERE MARTYRDOM SITUATIONS
1. 1630, all 400 Tibetan Christians wiped out. 100.00%
2. 1938, Nazis exterminate 500,000 Gypsies 89.74%
3. 1975, Khmer Rouge slaughter 2 million 88.79%
4. 1570, Huguenot corsairs murder 52 Jesuits 86.67%
5. 1241, Mongols ravage Hungary killing Christians 86.67%
6. 287, Martyrs of Agaunum 83.33%
7. 1933, Assyrians (Nestorians) murdered by Iraqi troops 80.00%
8. 1843, Turks use Kurds to massacre 20,000 Nestorians 80.00%
9. 1970, Massacre of 40,000 Vietnamese Catholics 76.92%
10. 1918, Turks massacre 80% of all Syrian Orthodox 75.00%

PERSECUTORS OF MOST MARTYRSCOUNTRIES WITH THE MOST MARTYRS (in the past)
1. USSR 23,260,000
2. Uzbekistan 4,000,000
3. Iraq 1,954,000
4. Russia 1,544,000
5. Turkey 1,047,000
6. Sudan 668,000
7. Turkestan 600,000
8. Yugoslavia 450,000
9. Uganda 203,000
10. Western Empire 200,000

TRADITIONS WITH THE MOST MARTYRS
1. Russian Orthodox 21,626,000
2. Assyrian or Nestoran (East Syrian, Messihaye) 12,379,000
3. Latin-rite Catholic 11,024,000
4. Ukrainian Orthodox 3,500,000
5. Armenian Orthodox (Gregorian) 1,215,000
6. Coptic Orthodox 1,068,000
7. Pentecostal (Protestant; Classical Pentecostal) 1,021,000
8. Messianic Jewish 1,000,000
9. Quasi-Christians 1,000,000
10. Lutheran 987,000

CENTURIES WITH MOST MARTYRS
1. 1900s 41,323,000
2. 1600s 11,484,000
3. 1200s 7,228,000
4. 1300s 4,906,000
5. 1500s 3,418,000
6. 300s 2,761,000
7. 1800s 1,577,000
8. 1400s 763,000
9. 400s 513,000
10. 200s 409,000

(c)2001 World Christian Trends, William Carey Library, David Barrett and Todd Johnson.


THE TWO MOST RADICAL CHANGES IN THE CHURCH TODAY
To appreciate what is happening in today's church we need to understand the 2 greatest changes of recent times. These changes are having a dramatic effect upon the church.

1. GROWTH OF INDEPENDENT CHURCHES
While there are now 39,000 'denominations' ranging from millions of members to 100's, the most striking development is the rapid growth of independent, non-denominational churches, which now account for 20% of all Christians, and will soon be larger than all protestant denominations combined. Groupings are:

Roman Catholics 1.119 million
Independents 427 million
Protestants 376 million
Orthodox 220 million
Anglicans 80 million
Marginal 34 million

2. THE 'COLOURING' OF THE CHURCH
*** In 1900 81% of the church worldwide was white.
*** In 2005 this had dropped to 43%.

Non-whites moved into the majority during the early 1980's.

Statistics Source: World Christian Trends 2005


EMPIRICAL FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY
Drawn from "World Christian Trends", a collection of trends and observations of global Christianity published by American missions statistician Prof. David Barrett and Todd Johnson. (sourced from ICOF) Here are some excerpts:

1. Every year the churches hold a megacensus costing $1.1 billion, sending out 10 million questionnaires in 3,000 languages, which covers 180 major religious subjects.
2. At a steady rate over the last 20 centuries, and in all 238 countries, 70 million Christians have been martyred -killed,executed,murdered -for Christ.
3. The 5 most dangerous of all Christian vocations (over 3% murder rates) are:bishops,evangelists,catechists,colporteurs,foreign missionaries.
4. Books primarily about Jesus in today’s libraries number 175,000 different titles in 500 languages, increasing by 4 newly published every day.
5. Emboldened by lax procedures,trusted church treasurers are embezzling each year $16 billion out of church funds,but only 5% ever get found out.
6. Christians spend more on the annual audits of their churches and agencies ($810 million) than on all their workers in the non-Christian world.
7. The total cost of Christian outreach averages $330,000 for each and every newly baptized person.
8. Despite Christ’s command to evangelize,67% of all humans from AD 30 to the present day have never even heard of his name.
9. 648 million Christians today (called Great Commission Christians)are active in Christ’s world mission; 1,352 million Christians ignore this mission.
10. Every person in the world belongs to, on average, 10 distinct and separate (and often conflicting) religions.
11. Organized Christianity has total contact with 3,590 religions but no contact at all with 353 other religions and their over 500 million adherents.
12. 14 million converted Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims have opted to remain within those religions in order to witness for Christ as active believers in Jesus as Lord.
13. Heads of the 50 major Christian World Communions, with 1.5 billion members, have since 1957 met annually for serious 3-day dialogue.
14. A huge new Christian nonconfessional megabloc,the Independents/Postdenominationalists,is growing rapidly and numbers 19% of all Christians.
15. These 386 million Independents in 220 countries have no interest in and no use for historic denominationalist Christianity.
16. From only 3 million in AD 1500,evangelicals have grown to 648 million worldwide,54% being Non-Whites.
17. The country with the fastest Christian expansion ever is China, now at 10,000 new converts every day.
18. Non-Christian countries have been found to have 227 million Bibles in place in their midst, more than needed to serve all Christians but poorly distributed.
19. Everywhere on Earth can now easily be targeted with at least 3 of the 45 varieties of effective evangelism.
20. Christian triumphalism -not as pride in huge numbers,but as publicized self-congratulation -is rampant in most churches,agencies,and ministries.
21. 124 million new souls begin life on Earth each year, but Christianity’s 4,000 foreign mission agencies baptize only 4 million new persons a year.
22. 91% of all Christian outreach/evangelism does not target non-Christians but targets other Christians in World C countries, cities, peoples, populations, or situations.
23. 818 unevangelized ethnolinguistic peoples have never been targeted by any Christian agencies ever.
24. 40% of the church’s entire global foreign mission resources are being deployed to just 10 oversaturated countries already possessing strong citizen-run home ministries.
25. Over 20 centuries Christians have announced 1,500 global plans to evangelize the world; most failed; 250 plans focused on AD 2000 fell massively short of stated goals.
26. The 3 least cost-effective countries over 1 million in population for Christian outreach are: Japan,Switzerland,Denmark.
27. The 3 most cost-effective countries over 1 million in population for Christian outreach are: Mozambique,Ethiopia,Tanzania.
28. Per hour of ministry,the 5 megapeoples most responsive to Christianity,Christ,and the gospel are: Khandeshi,Awadhi,Magadhi,Bai,Berar Marathi .
29. Per hour of ministry,the 5 megapeoples least responsive to Christianity,Christ,and the gospel are: Swedish,Russian,Lithuanian,Polish,Georgian .
30. Mainland China’s Christians have thousands of trained workers poised to begin evangelizing the world de novo soon after AD 2000.
31. Most Christian bodies insist on full accountability to the last cent in finance,but ignore or even decry statistics about Christian workers and ministries.
32. It costs Christians 700 times more money to baptize converts in rich World C countries (Switzerland)than in poor World A countries (Nepal).
33. Regular listeners to Christian programs over secular or religious radio/TV stations rose from 22% of the world in 1980 to 30% in 2000.
34. Christian communicators ignore the huge potential of the globe’s 983 lingua francas each with over 100,000 non-native speakers,or the 2,179 each over 100,000 total speakers.
35. Ethnoreligionists (animists,polytheists,shamanists) number 228 million in 6,000 tribes or peoples, mushrooming rapidly by 2.8 million a year.
36. Criminal penalties against clergy in sexual abuse cases now exceed $1 billion,causing a number of churches,dioceses,and denominations to be forced into bankruptcy.
37. Annual church embezzlements by top custodians exceed the entire cost of all foreign missions worldwide.
38. 150 major ethnolinguistic peoples each have over 100,000 unevangelized ethnoreligionists.
39. Since AD 1900,Christian urbanites have exploded from 100 million in 500 cities to 1,160 million in 5,000 cities.
40. From only one million in AD 1900, Pentecostals/Charismatics/Neocharismatics have mushroomed to 524 million affiliated (with unaffiliated believers, 602 million).
41. UBS global goals for Bibles distributed p.a.are over 200% achieved in 92 countries,over 100% in 92 other countries,but under 100% in 54 countries.
42. 98.7% of people have access to scripture in 6,700 languages leaving 78 million in 6,800 languages with no access at all.
43. Each year,180 million Bibles and New Testaments are wasted -lost,destroyed,or disintegrated -due to incompetence, hostility, bad planning, or inadequate manufacture.
44. Each year 600,000 full-time ordained workers (clergy,ministers,missionaries) reach retiring age; 150,000 then discover that their employers provide no old-age pensions.
45. Some 250 of the 300 largest international Christian organizations regularly mislead the Christian public by publishing demonstrably incorrect or falsified progress statistics.
46. As in all scientific research,70% of all new Christian books and published articles will never be quoted in print by their peers,ever.
47. 78 countries each have Great Commission Christians whose personal incomes exceed US$1 billion a year.
48. Out of 648 million Great Commission Christians,70% have never been told about World A’s 1.6 billion unevangelized individuals.
49. Depicted on semilogarithmic graphs, 16,016 Christian trends across 22 centuries (AD 30-AD 2200) reveal dominant roles of evangelization,martyrdom,and renewal.
50. Despite predictions of collapse of religion,long-term trends indicate that Christians and other religionists in AD 2200 are likely to number over 87% of the world ’s population.


LAUSANNE FOCUS ON EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
Christian leaders from nearly 130 countries recently gathered in Pattaya, Thailand, to consider 31 key issues confronting world evangelization - and learned of one huge challenge that might trump all the others.

Is it terrorism? Persecution? Opposition from hostile governments or religions? No. It is this simple fact: Four billion people - about two-thirds of the world's population are oral learners.

They communicate, learn, perceive reality, and embrace core beliefs through orally expressed stories, narratives, songs, and proverbs - not through the books, periodicals, outlines, and other forms of linear thinking preferred by literate cultures (and churches). Some oral learners are illiterate because of lack of education. Many others, however, belong to the thousands of oral cultures of the globe. Some may even read a written language, but it isn't the way they prefer to interact with the world - and with the Word of God. The latter group, by the way, includes millions of postmoderns in
"literate" societies.

Many people in the West rarely read books; they receive all their information by the spoken word, through personal interaction and TV. If we wish to communicate with them online (or any other way), we must understand that they are, to a considerable extent, in an oral culture.
http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=19311
http://www.gospelcom.net/guide/resources/oral-communication.php


THE WORLD’S LARGEST CHURCHES
Even though influence is more important than size today, taking a look at the attendance numbers of the world's largest churches gives an impression of the developments in recent years. Much is changing: churches which had an attendance of 300,000 a decade ago, such as 'Ondas del Luz y Amor' in Buenos Aires, now have 'only' 70,000. Completely new models are popping up, such as the Indian University which became a church, regularly seeing 80,000 people attending.

The membership of mega churches fluctuates strongly, so the numbers here are the attendance, not members. Yonggi Cho's church in Seoul claims a membership of 773,000, but an attendance of 'only' 253,000 in the main church and most important satellites.

WHAT IS CHURCH?
The church is starting to see itself completely differently - that is one trend which is growing stronger. It is no longer understood as a single organised fellowship (with a pastor, a building, a programme and a more or less creative name), but as an organic community of Christians in towns and regions, the sum of the members of related house churches, cells, groups and fellowships. This gives the church, as in the times of Acts, a regional instead of denominational identity. "The church in Corinth", Ephesus, Antioch or Jerusalem corresponds today to "The church in Berlin", Boulder, Beijing or Brasilia.......

Regional house church networks are replacing mega churches Such regional churches are not led by a 'Senior Pastor', but by regional teams, generally formed by the coalescing of the fivefold ministry. It is very noticeable that the traditional pastoral ministry tends not to play the key role, but rather people with an apostolic or prophetic gifting, as hinted at in 1. Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 2:20. Christian community and unity is formed by belonging to the same region or town; unity is lived out in networked house churches and large celebrations, or at least in leaders' meetings in places where Christians are heavily persecuted. One of the smaller(!) house church networks in southern China has an attendance of 400,000, larger networks number several million. The twenty largest regional (not national) house church networks in China, Vietnam and northern India would completely change the list below. For security reasons, we cannot publish any names or other details, with the exception of V. Choudhrie in India, because most if not all such large regional house church networks exist in nations which persecute or repress Christians. They generally belong to the group which missiologist Prof. David Barrett calls 'Crypto-Christians' - underground Christianity. We believe that there are around twenty regional house church networks around the globe with an attendance of over 250,000. Hence, the list below starts with the world's previously largest known church, the Yoido Full Gospel Church, ranked 21st.

Which are today's trend-setting nations? These developments started outside the West (North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand), so many Western pastors and Christian leaders find it difficult to take seriously. Many still understand the West to be the centre of Christianity, as in 1700, from which missionaries are sent out to complete the Great Commission.

Traditionally, the USA, Britain or Germany have been the trend setting nations in the church. That is where the influential publishing houses have their headquarters; the overwhelming majority of Christian conference speakers, authors, seminars and concepts for pastor training originate there, but is seems that many are asking "What good thing can come out of Vietnam, Northern India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Honduras, Trinidad or Argentina?" And yet exactly these - and other - non-Western nations are home to the most important trends in missionary Christianity. Are we listening?

WHAT ABOUT THE USA?
Up until now, mega churches were a typically American phenomenon. It is striking, then, that not one of the world's forty largest churches is in the USA or another Western nation. The really significant church growth is taking place basically outside the West. The Washington Post recently published a study by church researcher John N. Vaughn revealing 840 mega churches in the USA, with a weekly attendance of over 2,000 (figures of 13th May 2004). The top 5 American churches (with average attendance figures in brackets) are:

1. Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas (25,060)
2. World Changers, College Park, GA. (23,093)
3. Saddleback Community Church, Lake Forrest, CA (20,100)
4. The Potters House, Dallas (18,500)
5. Fellowship Church, Grapevine, Texas (18,129)

The world's largest churches (with average attendance in brackets) are:

1. Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, Korea (253,000)
2. Works and Mission Baptists Church, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (150,000)
3. Yotabeche Methodist P. Church, Santiago, Chile (150,000)
4. Mision Carismatica Internacional, Bogotá, Colombia (150,000)
5. Deeper Life Bible Church, Lagos, Nigeria (120,000)
6. Elim Church, San Salvador, El Salvador (117,000)
7. Nambu Full Gospel, Seoul, Korea (110,000)
8. AOG Grace and Truth, Kyanggi-do, Korea (105,000)
9. Kum Ran Methodist, Seoul, Korea (80,000)
10. Vision de Futuro, Santa Fe, Argentina (70,000)
11. Ondas del Luz, Buenos Aires, Argentina (70,000)
12. Young Nak Presbyterian Church, S. Korea (60,000)
13. Winners Chapel, Ota, Nigeria (50,000)
14. Yesu Darbar, Allahabad Agricultural Institute, India (40,000-80,000)
15. Soong Eui Methodist, Inchon, Korea (47,000)
16. Ministeria La Cosecha, San Pedro Sula, Honduras (35,000)
17. Chattisgarh/Madhya Pradesh House Church Network, India (30,000)

Taken from Fridayfax, produced by Wolfgang Simson, researcher, journalist and author. It is distributed with permission by the Centre for Mission Direction, New Zealand. Register today at e-fridayfax-subscribe@strategicnetwork.org


IRAQ IN THE BIBLE
Did you know that the area now called Iraq, has a close association with a number of important biblical events...

1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq.
2. Mesopotamia - now known as Iraq - was the cradle of civilization.
3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.
4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.
5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq.
6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq.
7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.
8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq.
9. Assyria - which is in Iraq - conquered the ten tribes of Israel.
10. Amos cried out in Iraq.
11. Babylon - which was in Iraq - destroyed Jerusalem.
12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq.
13. The 3 Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (which means that Jesus was in Iraq, too, as the 4th person in the fiery furnace.)
14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq.
15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.
16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.
17. The wise men were from Iraq.
18. Peter preached in Iraq.
19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq.

While Israel is the most mentioned country in the Bible, Iraq is next. However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The name Iraq means "country with deep roots."

Indeed, Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. Here's why:

*!* Eden was in Iraq - Genesis 2:10-14
*!* Adam &Eve were created in Iraq - Genesis 2:7-8
*!* Satan made his first recorded appearance in Iraq - Genesis 3:1-6
*!* Nimrod established Babylon, and the Tower of Babel was built in Iraq - Genesis 10:8-97; 11:1-4
*!* The confusion of the languages took place in Iraq - Genesis 11:5-11
*!* Abraham came from a city in Iraq - Genesis 11:31; Acts 7:2-4
*!* Isaac's bride came from Iraq - Genesis 24:3-4; 10
*!* Jacob spent 20 years in Iraq - Genesis 27:42-45; 31:38
*!* The first world Empire was in Iraq - Daniel 1:1-2;2:36-38
*!* The greatest revival in history was in a city in Iraq - Jonah 3
*!* The events of the book of Esther took place in Iraq - Esther
*!* The book of Nahum was a prophecy against a city in Iraq - Nahum
*!* The book or Revelation has prophecies against Babylon, which was the old name for the nation of Iraq - Revelation Chapters 17 & 18.


NIGERIA LEADS IN RELIGIOUS BELIEF
A survey of people's religious beliefs carried out in 10 countries this year suggests that Nigeria is the most religious nation in the world.

Ten thousand people were questioned in the ICM poll for the BBC programme What The World Thinks Of God.

Over 90% of Nigerians said they believed in God, prayed regularly and would die for their belief.

The highest levels of belief were found in some of the world's poorer countries, as well as in the US.

The countries polled were the US, the UK, Israel, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and Lebanon. The interviews were carried out in January 2004.
India and Indonesia were also recorded as countries with a high level of belief in God.
But the results of the poll showed that levels of belief and religious activity in the UK, Russia and South Korea were consistently lower than in most of the other countries polled.

In Lebanon and the US, 71% said they were willing to die for their God or their beliefs.
In most of the countries covered, well over 80% said they believed in God or a higher power. In Nigeria the figure was 100% and in the US 91%, with the UK scoring lowest at 67%.

In Nigeria 91% of people said they regularly attended a religious service, contrasting with 21% in the UK and only 7% of Russians. The average across the 10 countries was 46%.
In most countries well over 80% of the sample agreed that a belief in God or a higher power made people better human beings, with only 56% agreeing in the UK - by far the lowest figure.

The subject of prayer found 95% of Nigerians and 67% in the US claiming to pray regularly.

Those saying they never prayed included 29% of Israelis and 25% of Britons. But across the entire sample, almost 30% of all atheists surveyed said they sometimes prayed.

Scource: BBC Survey www.bbc.co.uk/whattheworldthinksofgod


DID YOU KNOW?
There are 6.2 billion people alive,
600 million churchgoers every week,
1.5 billion Christians who regularly listen to or watch Christian radio and TV,
1,883 million 'laypeople' (99.8% of church membership),
150 million Christian pilgrims each year,
250 million Christians who travel abroad as tourists each year,
50 global prayer networks (35 active),
25 million in full-time prayer ministry,
15 million weekly prayer groups,
200 million Christians praying for world mission every day,
3.45 million local churches,
33,800 denominations,
23,000 ministries and agencies,
400,000 base ecclesial communities,
481,000 Christian institutions,
170,000 Christian schools,
1,500 Christian colleges and universities,
4,800 Bible Schools and Theological Seminaries,
5,500 Christian hospitals,
30,000 Christian medical centres,
58% of Christians are rich (11% wealthy, 37% comfortable, 10% getting by),
42% of Christians are poor (29% needy, 13% in poverty),
average Christian income: US$ 8,050 p.a.,
average donation per person and week: US$ 2.75,
1.1 million ordained clergy (8% women),
500,000 monks and 1.3 million nuns,
1.2 million professional theologians,
3,000 evangelistic events each year.
Source: World Christian Trends, William Carey Library, David Barrett &Todd
Johnson, http://www.gem-werc.org/gd/gd.htm in "Resources for Mission"


HOW PEOPLE IN ORAL CULTURES RETAIN INFORMATION
American anthropologist Paul Hiebert points out four aspects important in
organising, retaining and communicating information in oral cultures:
- memories: poems, songs, riddles, proverbs
- symbols: colours, art, images, carvings
- stories: storytelling, drama, dramatic dance
- rituals: basic creed and ideas as theatre
Traditional evangelistic concepts such as tracts and Bible studies have little
effect, because many people in tribal societies and villages are illiterate;
written information has very little value for them. The evangelists were
trained to use stories, songs and metaphors to communicate the Gospel. In five
years, over 1,000 church planters have been trained, who are leading thousands
of people to Christ, and planting new churches.
Some of the characteristics of the church planters
80% are Biharis, 20% missionaries from other Indian cultures
60% are full-time church planters, 40% part-time
80% are directly involved in church planting, 20% in social ministry
80% are less than 30 years old
Source: www.dawnministries.org


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