Global South Evangelicals More Optimistic

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In the last few years I've heard a lot of pessimistic statements about the state of Christianity in America. The latest Banner has an article by a church planter who sees many CRC young people checking out of the CRC, some of whom are checking out on the church as a whole. It was interesting to read some of the survey results referred to below. Evangelical leaders in the non-Western or Majority World, also called the Global South, see growth in the influence of Evangelical Christianity in their countries.  Actually, I recently saw a globe showing numerical growth in the overwhelming majority of countries in the world with the notable exceptions of the U.S. and Canada. Take a look at the news release below and the survey link in the first sentence.

Washington, D.C. — In a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, most evangelical Protestant leaders who live in the Global South (58%) say that evangelical Christians are gaining influence on life in their countries. By contrast, most leaders who live in the Global North (66%) say that, in the societies in which they live, evangelicals are losing influence.

U.S. evangelical leaders are especially downbeat about the prospects for evangelical Christianity in their society; 82% say evangelicals are losing influence in the United States today, while only 17% think evangelicals are gaining influence. In general, evangelical leaders who live in the Global South (sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East/North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia) are optimistic about the prospects for evangelicalism in their countries, while those who live in the Global North (Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) tend to be more pessimistic.

Seven-in-ten evangelical leaders who live in the Global South (71%) expect that five years from now the state of evangelicalism in their countries will be better than it is today. But a majority of evangelical leaders in the Global North expect that the state of evangelicalism in their countries will either stay about the same (21%) or worsen (33%) over the next five years.

These are among the key findings of the Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders, which offers a detailed portrait of 2,196 evangelical leaders from 166 countries and territories who were invited to attend the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (also known as “Cape Town 2010”) held in October 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. The Pew Forum conducted the survey with the assistance of the Lausanne Movement as part of Cape Town 2010. It is the latest report of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, an effort funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation to analyze religious change and its impact on societies around the world.  

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Thank you for sharing, Steve. I just came back from spending a week with a church in Uganda and there is so much we can learn from our neighbors in the developing world. The church I visited has this vision: "A healthy discipled church, doubling in number each year, rooted in God's word, showing love to the community and committed to carry out the great commission." How inspiring!