Majority World Missions – Part One

Through history, shifts in Christianity have been recorded.  In the first millennium, Christianity was centered in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.  In the second, it changed to the western part and during the 1900’s – 2000’s Christianity shifted to the southern hemisphere all together.  With this trend, mission efforts are changing as well.  There has been a rise of evangelicals since the 1960s in the Global South.

With this shift of Christianity, and evangelicalism, a reassessment of the role of western missionaries and western missions organizations is needed.  In the past, the western world played a major role in fulfilling the Great Commission by taking the gospel to the world and making disciples.  Today, the focus of the west should be on establishing relationships and partnerships with Majority World missionaries and agencies; equipping them for ministry and providing financial resources with no strings attached.

The Emerging Majority World

For the first time in about 900 years, over 50% of the world’s Christians are found in the Southern Hemisphere.  The Majority World began to grow rapidly in the 20th Century; but it was in the 1970’s that a drastic change took place.  Latin America, Africa and Asia became strong powers for the Kingdom.  Asia became the center of Christianity in the east for the first time in 1,300 years.[1]

In the 1980’s, the Global South surpassed the northern hemisphere for the first time since the 10th Century.  In part, this growth was facilitated by the commitment to translate scripture into the spoken languages, allowing for local cultures and their languages to be preserved.

It is evident that the Holy Spirit has been at work in the south.  God’s hand is in this revival and the Spirit is moving, convicting, breaking and changing the lives of thousands through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.  This new wave of Christians are on fire for the Lord and are ready to do whatever is needed to take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the Earth; even if it means giving their lives for it.

The reality is that these “southern” Christians are in closer contact and proximity with those in the 10/40 window.  They can also better relate to the lost souls in their part of the world as they share cultural similarities, the struggles of living in difficult economies, oppressive governments, and for many, abject poverty.  These and other similarities make them excellent candidates to reach their own people and others in the Majority World.  “Southern” Christians are also developing their own theology, better reflecting their culture and context.[2]

[1] Johnson, Todd and Sandi Lee, Da cristandade ocidental ao cristianismo mundial (From western Christendom to world Christianity).  Perspectivas no Movimento Mundial Cristão, (São Paulo: Vida Nova, 2009), 346-347.

[2] Ibid., 348.

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About Bárbara

I am a Christ follower, wife, mother, missionary, and Online Instructor for LU Online teaching Introduction to Missions. My family and I serve at Living Bread Ministries; planting churches among the desperately poor in South America. I have an MA in Intercultural Studies from LBTS. My passion is to see the Lord Jesus worshiped among the poor and needy and to see lives transformed by the power of the Gospel.
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