One of the lectures I enjoyed the most at the Lausanne conference was by Dr. Todd Johnson, a researcher and missiologist who studies world trends related to Christianity and missions (co-author of World Christian Trends & the World Christian Encyclopedia; see his data base at www.worldchristiandatabase.org). Here are some rough notes from what he shared with us.
1) Shift from the north to the south- the majority of Christians are now located in the global South. In 1981, statistical center of Christianity was in Spain. Right now? It’s in Timbuktu, Mali. The typical Christian family is Latin, Asian, or African — not North American.
2) Christianity is increasingly fragmented, wtih 39,000 denominations.
3) Christianity is experiencing unprecedented renewal. Over 25% of all Christians are involved in renewal.
4) Christians are experiencing unprecedented suffering. There have been an estimated 70 million Christian martyrs over the past 2000 years…HALF of them in the 20th century.
5) 60% of Christians are in the global south, but only 17% of income is in the global south.
6) There is enough evangelism for the whole world to hear the Gospel.
7) Most evangelism isn’t reaching non-Christians- over 90% of all Christian evangelism is aimed at other Christians. (Read that again, slowly…)
8)Christians are out of contact with Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. 86% of all Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists don’t even know a Christian.
9) Many of the most responsive people in the world are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist.
What surprises you? Dr. Johnson shared a story about talking to his Hindu hairdresser (in the Boston area). He asked her if she’s ever been invited to the home of an American before. She said no. He asked how long she’s been in the US — nine years. How many Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist friends do you have?