The 20th century will go on record as one of the great centuries of Church expansion. When our century began, Christianity was largely lodged in Europe and the western hemisphere despite impressive and successful missionary activity in the 18th century. The last fifty years has been marked by a rapid growth of Christianity in the developing countries of the world.
The distinctive characteristic of Christianity as this century closes is that it has become truly international. Church growth in Asia and Africa continues to out-pace growth in North America. According to missionary researcher David Barrett, Africa has already passed North America in the number of people professing allegiance to Christ. Early in Century 21, missionaries outside the West will exceed those coming from North America. No longer does the American church dominate the world Christianity, except in economic terms. Century 21 will see the whole Church taking the whole Gospel to the world.
The monumental redistribution of Christians provides a new challenge to conventional ways of doing missions. It is particularly urgent for us at Absolute Faith® to prepare missionaries who are culturally sensitive and able to recapture a sense to reach the unreached peoples of the world. In doing this, we are addressing peoples holistic needs: their social, spiritual and economic needs must be addressed. Three years ago, we established a worldwide youth ministry that is addressing the needs of the next generation of youths.
While it is important to prepare missionaries in new ways for this Century, we close the last century with the painful awareness that one-third of the worlds people know little or nothing about Jesus Christ; that two-thirds claim no allegiance to Him and that 6,000 8,000 people groups have no visible church among them. These somber realities defy growing notions that the 21st century can respectably lay the missions enterprise to rest. Very soon, we will be starting our own institution of higher learning where missionaries will be trained to take the total gospel to the whole world.
The great need of the overseas church is Christian leadership training, particularly for high level leaders. Unless these leaders are prepared to lead their churches, the current explosion of growth will almost surely decline. While western missionaries will continue to be needed, the crying need is also for preparation of high-level overseas leaders.
Multi-culturalism is both a beautiful story and very hard work. It is a joyful experience at Absolute Faith®.
Here at Absolute Faith®, we have a grand opportunity to live together, to learn from each other and to unlearn many prejudices which are required for effective 21st century ministry. The thriving evangelical church cannot carry its racial prejudices into Century 21. We at Absolute Faith® have strived to break down the walls of prejudice which threatens both the credibility of the church and the survival of our society. Our church here in Brooklyn comprises of people from nine different countries: Nigeria, Guyana, Ghana, Jamaica, Brazil, Trinida and Tobego, Haiti, Republic of Benin and United States. Many of us are converted from other religion: Islam, Hindus, and Catholics to name a few. The one thing that joins us together is Jesus Christ. We are all one-nation under Christ indivisible forever. Our Church is presently planning to do evangelism in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Republic of Benin, Togo, Uganda and United States
Geographically, Absolute Faiths Headquarters lives on the edge of one of the worlds great international communities which is here in New York State. We live, as we should, with the nagging awareness that we need to be more involved in preparing intercultural leaders for the world. It is time that we join in some creative, bold and risk-taking efforts to significantly impact the 21st century world. I want to join with all of like mind.