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The future of Christianity ain’t here. Okay? – Rick Warren

Here’s Rick Warren’s take on the future of christianity:

“You may be surprised to know that there are more Christians in China than there are in America, by far. There are more Presbyterians in Ghana than there are in Scotland, where they came out of with John Knox. There are more Baptists in Nagaland, a state in India, than there are in the South here in America. There are more Anglicans in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria—any of these—than in England. Last Sunday there were more Christians who went to church in China than all of Europe combined. That is a fundamental shift. If you want to know the future of Christianity, it is the developing world. It’s Africa, it’s Latin America, and it’s Asia. It ain’t here. Okay?

—from Pew Research Center Forum (Nov. 2009)

Despite the fact that Christianity is exploding in the developing world, the developed world pastor’s are still not taking any notice. We are frozen into mindsets that bigger and better programs, services, events, conferences, preaching, and worship albums are going to build a church. We are stuck in some organizational management textbook in the attempt to build the elusive successful church. And it’s not a bad thing to want to build a successful church, but I’d suggest that the churches Rick is talking about have better discipleship, higher levels of committment and evangelism than ours ever will under the current mentality of doing church.

We might be slicker, we definitely have better music and media, our buildings are better, our tithes will definitely be higher, our people have greater prosperity, we have much more in the way of resources, and we’re probably having more fun, but I think a reality check is in order. Why don’t we just pause for a bit, and look at what we’re doing and our results, then look at what is going on in developing countries and do some serious thinking….


2 Responses

  1. Rick’s comments are spot-on. the church IS growing in other places better than the Western world….but… the evidence does not support a number of your assumptions….

    They don’t disciple better generally… the biggest struggles that third world church has is healthy discipleship. In China particularly, theological error is rife – not because of evil intent but the lack of trained leaders! Now I accept they face specific challanges that make this difficult – but ‘organic’ and ‘simple’ isn’t the whole answer. Does the western church have some issues? No doubt! But it isn’t all hoodwinked into believing the ‘slick business-model’ is it.

  2. I remember listening to a podcast from Francis Chan and he talked about how he was blown away by the fact that brothers and sisters who had seen their families and friends murdered for their faith in India were praying for him. And all they wanted was for him to pray for them in return. Kind of blows you away doesn’t it?

    We should praise God for the growth in his church but I’ve never seen official numbers from a reputable source on this. In a place like China obviously this is difficult but it is hard to gauge what true growth is in this context.

    Depends on what you define as theological error. Unless it’s fundamental stuff like the Resurrection of Jesus there is probably no more or less theological error than you have among all the denominations in the Western world.

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