Missions & Money: Achieving Greater Impact
A Cause for Celebration
There is widespread agreement that Christianity is now a world religion. This is the result of 2,000 years of Great Commission missionary work, culminating in 200 years of modern Western mission expansion. Western agencies and global church partners can rejoice in the results of their dedicated and often sacrificial efforts, because more people are worshiping God in more places than ever!
Authors, such as Philip Jenkins, Andrew Walls, and Lamin Sanneh state that this growth of Christianity in traditional missionary receiving lands has created a shift. Now Africa, Asia and Latin America each have larger Christian populations than Western countries. These traditional missionary receiving lands have about 1.3 billion believers. The Christian population of Western countries is about 296 million. Yet some western mission agencies and donors continue to invest $16 billion annually sending missionaries to countries with significant Christian populations.
Where Money Can Have More Impact
Considering this amazing shift in the growth of Christianity, fulfilling the Great Commission surely requires that Western mission agency leaders and mission donors revise their strategies and use of funds. The countries most in need of church planting, evangelism and Bible translation (in terms of population) are those with the smallest Christian population. It is no surprise that these have majority Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu populations.
Research reveals that 86 percent of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists do not personally know a Christian. Efforts to reach them will require global partnership, creative presentations, broad media strategies, Web technology, and local church empowerment.
Rather than spending most of the annual $16 billion on sending missionaries to Christian lands, a significantly larger amount of funds must shift to equip local churches to reach people in their own Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu countries, and those of their close neighbors.
Written by Gilles Gravelle
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