Global South

The spread of the world's Muslim population

As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity.
Although many people, especially in the United States, may associate Islam with countries in the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research Center analysis.
More Muslims live in India and Pakistan (344 million combined) than in the entire Middle East-North Africa region (317 million).
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123-Troy and Oggie's Mexican adventure

Troy Cooper talks to Steve Addison about his recent mission trip to Mexico. Listen in and it just might revolutionize how you do short term missions.

In the interview Troy mentions his 411Training.

He also refers to the 3Touches.

PART TWO: 124-Growing leaders, building teams for movements

Why Nepal Has One Of The World's Fastest-Growing Christian Populations

NPR is trying to work out, Why Nepal Has One Of The World's Fastest-Growing Christian Populations

Bishwa Mani Pokharel, news chief at Nepal's Nagarik newspaper, pulls out copies of the census to show the statistical gallop of Christianity across Nepal. It listed no Christians in 1951 and just 458 in 1961. By 2001, there were nearly 102,000. A decade later that number had more than tripled to more than 375,000. Pokharel and others think the increase is really much higher but inaccurately reported.

"Before, when the Christians had a party, they slaughtered a chicken. Now, they slaughter a goat," says Pokharel, who has been reporting on the conversions. That extra meat, he explains, is necessary to feed all of the new people who've joined the guest list.

Churches now mushroom throughout the Kathmandu Valley and across the terraced hills. Proselytizing remains illegal, but with political instability and weak law enforcement, that doesn't stop it from happening.

The article focuses on what you can see above the surface. What they don’t see is that this is a grass root movement of multiplying disciples and churches. 

UPDATE: If you want to know what’s happening under the surface in Nepal, have a listen to any of the podcasts by Nathan Shank.

Newbigin's shift — from a traditional to a movements paradigm

 
Lesslie Newbigin

Lesslie Newbigin

I was compelled to ask myself whether it is really true that the Church’s obedience to the Great Commission is intended to be contingent upon the accident of a budgetary surplus.
— Lesslie Newbigin

Lesslie Newbigin was one of the great missionary statesmen of the 20th Century. He spent much of his life in India. He began with a tradition paradigm of ministry that relied on foreign workers, funding and supervision. He soon discovered its limitations.

I have lived and worked as a missionary within the structure typical of modern missions, responsible for the conduct of institutions, for the supervision of Indian workers, for the employment and control of teachers and others in charge of congregations. I have seen this system come to a practical standstill: funds were not available to increase the number of salaried workers. ... Only if some fresh resources came from ‘home’ could the mission become a mission again. As it was, it was plain that any talk of ‘winning India for Christ’ was not serious. I was compelled to ask myself whether it is really true that the Church’s obedience to the Great Commission is intended to be contingent upon the accident of a budgetary surplus.

Rather than fix what was broken, Newbigin became a careful observer of what God was doing on the fringes.

The answer came through various experiences. Firstly, through seeing how ordinary lads from village congregations ... could themselves become active witnesses and evangelists among their comrades. Secondly, through learning to call on the services of all kinds of lay men and women as volunteer pastors and evangelists for the village congregations left without the guidance of a full-time worker. And thirdly, most decisively, through the experience of a small group-movement in a very backward area where the Gospel had only recently been preached for the first time. ...

Here’s what happened next…

the churches began to multiply themselves by a kind of spontaneous growth which was not dependent upon increasing outside resources. In an area almost entirely pagan, the number of Christian congregations rose from thirteen to fifty-five in twelve years. ... In the midst of a movement of this kind, one could speak seriously about winning India for Christ.

Lesslie Newbigin, Trinitarian Doctrine for Today’s Mission (London: Paternoster Press, 1998), 74-77.

The top 20 countries where Christianity is growing the fastest

20 Countries where Christianity growing fastest

I’ve just stumbled on this report from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity.

They identified the top 20 countries that have the highest percentage Christianity Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR). The number of years for the number of Christians to double, based on the Average Annual Growth Rate has also been calculated.

Top 20 countries where Christianity is growing fastest table

Notice a few things:

  • 19 of the countries in the top 20 are in Asia and Africa.
  • 11 countries on the top 20 list are Muslim majority countries.
  • not a single country from Europe, Northern America or Latin America makes the top 20 list
  • the highest Christian growth rates are found among all major non-Christian religious groups: Hindus, Non-Religious, Buddhists, Muslims and Ethno-religionists (Benin and South Sudan)?
  • the majority of the top 20 countries are clustered in three areas: Eastern Asia, Western Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
I’m amazed by the figures out of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Bahrain,Yemen and Kuwait. Obviously the percentage increase is off a small base. Does anyone know if this growth is among Arabs or is it among migrant workers?
 
An interesting omission is Iran. I keep hearing stories of Iranians coming to Christ both in Iran and among the Iranian diaspora. Perhaps the growth has picked up since the report was written.
 
There is also some amazing growth among the people of north India. I’d like to see a list of the top 50 countries.
 
(Thanks to Grant Morrison for the heads up.)

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Tomas for providing this link to more details from the report. Table 3 shows the impact of immigration on the growth of Christianity in Arab Muslim countries. So some good news, but the figures look much better than they are.
 
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