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Annual statistical table on global mission: 1993.

The table opposite is the ninth in an annual series describing statistics and trends. This year we introduce a greatly expanded world view and offer seven new statistical variables included in the table for the first time (lines 9, 10, 26, 45, 61, 69, 70).

Looking Ahead to Century 21 (see end column opposite)

This year our overview of the status of global mission pushes its horizon a further twenty-five years into the future. The last column in the table, up to last year headed "A.D. 2000," now deals with the year 2025. This is as far as the United Nations' Demographic Database on all 280 countries of the world goes at present, although for continents it goes as far as A.D. 2200.

With A.D. 2000 now only seven years ahead, it is almost too late for planners to start thinking about new plans for that millennial year. The new tone is being set by the World Future Society, whose seventh General Assembly and Exposition will open in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 1993, with three thousand futurists registered from across the globe. Their theme is "Creating the Twenty-first Century: Rights, Responsibilities, and Actions." The program will cover the entire human agenda, including the rights of all peoples to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

Our end column is intended to assist everyone see the way in which global mission in the twenty-first century has already begun to take shape. Many figures there are startling, if you read down the column slowly, thinking about each figure. Do lines 9 and 10 shock you?

Great Commission Christians (line 26)

This new measure has been carefully worked out for every country, every people, every language, and every city in the world. It is defined as follows. Great Commission Christians are all active church members who know about, and who take seriously, Christ's commission to his church: "Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations." This is not the same as practicing Christians (line 24)--it's smaller. Neither is it precisely synonymous with any previous grouping such as Charismatics (line 25) or Evangelicals or committed Christians or born-again Christians or Bible-believing Christians or your confession or mine, although no doubt it includes sizeable parts of all these.

Another new variable illustrates a major achievement on the part of Great Commission Christians (line 61): each year they disseminate 1.6 billion scriptures (Bibles, New Testaments, gospels, selections).

Christian Evangelism (lines 69, 70)

Many of the forty-seven factors shown from line 22 to line 68 measure the impact of evangelism as mediated by organizations, workers, finance, literature, scriptures, broadcasting, and urban mission (with 1,200 citywide campaigns every year across the world). Most of these activities publish precise statistics, which our table has reported on for the last nine years. What is new in lines 69-70 is that we are now able to measure and add up, for the first time, the total overall evangelistic coverage resulting from all varieties of evangelism.

Line 69 gives the picture from the standpoint of evangelists and evangelizers: each year they are preaching or evangelizing across the globe for a grand total of 375 billion person-hours. Second, from the standpoint of those being evangelized, this means that every year some 95 discipleship opportunities--which are offers or invitations to become Christ's disciples--are made per global inhabitant. This appears to be a massive achievement until we realize that distribution of these offers is as bad as the world distribution of food, water, medicine, shelter, and other human rights. Some 91.6 percent of all offers are made to persons in World C; 8.1 percent to persons in World B; but only 0.3 percent ever reach World A.

The value of these two new analytic variables is that they do at least give us a measurable handle through which we can monitor these significant activities.

World Evangelization: Are We Winning or Losing? (lines 71, 72)

Christians thinking of or planning for A.D. 2000 or 2025 must be supplied with accurate, objective data indicating whether or not the whole Christian enterprise is progressing toward its stated goals. This has nothing to do with optimism or pessimism but rather with the need to be accurately informed. After undertaking a detailed religio-demographic analysis over the last year, we have come up with statistics that indicate both progress and setbacks. Here is a summary. Each day some 234,200 hitherto unevangelized persons become evangelized. However, unevangelized individuals are increasing every day through birth by 257,800 persons. So, overall, we are losing the battle to evangelize World A at the rate of 23,600 persons every day.

Why is progress so slow, even negative, given the enormous resources of the Christian world? A clue may be found in line 45. Global Christianity today has become controlled by a vast number of freestanding, standalone organizational monoliths--12 global megamonoliths, 80 global monoliths, 4,000 monoliths, 150,000 minimonoliths. Almost every one is trying, in practice, to evangelize the world by itself.

Study of the facts and figures supporting these statements should now lead the reader to ask the basic theological question: How biblical is this control by monoliths?

David B. Barrett, a contributing editor, has been an ordained missionary of the Church Missionary Society since 1956. Anglican Research Officer since 1970, he is currently Research Consultant to the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board; research director, Charismatic Renewal in the Mainline Churches; and Vatican Consultant on world evangelization.


Methodological Notes on Table (referring to numbered lines on opposite page). Indented categories form part of, and are included in, unindented categories above them. Definitions of categorles are as given and explained in World Christian Encyclopedia (1982), henceforth WCE, with additional data and explanations as below. The analytical trichotomy of Worlds A, B, C is expounded, through thirty-three global diagrams, in Our Globe and How to Reach It: Seeing the World Evangelized by A.D. 2000 and Beyond, by D. B. Barrett and T. M. Johnson (Birmingham, Ala.: New Hope, 1990).

1-4. Demographic totals are as shown in World Population Prospects, 1990 (New York: United Nations, 1991), and Long-Range World Population Projections: Two Centuries of Population Growth, 1950-2150 (New York: United Nations, 1992).

9-10. See Our Globe and How to Reach It, Global Diagrams 6 and 9; also Global Diagram 45 in A.D. 2000 Global Monitor, no. 12 (October 1991).

11. Widest definition: professing Christians plus secret believers, which equals affiliated (church members) plus nominal Christians. World C is the world of all who individually are Christians.

21. Total of all non-Christians (sum of rows 12-20 above, plus adherents of other minor religions). This is also the same as World A (the unevangelized) plus World B (evangelized non-Christians).

25. Church members involved in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Renewal. Totals on lines 24-26 overlap with those on lines 28-34.

27. World totals of current long-term trend for all confessions. (See Our Globe and How to Reach It, Global Diagram 5). The 1993 figure reflects the collapse of Communism.

45. Monolithic organizations are described and analyzed in "The Fragmentation of Mission into 4,000 Freestanding, Standalone Monoliths," International Journal of Frontier Missions (IJFM) 9, no. 1 (January 1992): 35-41. 48-54. Defined as in article "Silver and Gold Have I None," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 7 (October 1983): 150.

55. Total general-purpose computers and word processors owned by churches, agencies, groups, and individual Christians.

69-70. Defined, derived, and analyzed in "Quantifying the Global Distribution of Evangelism and Evangelization," IJFM 9, no. 2 (April 1992): 71-76.

71-72. Defined as in WCE, parts 3, 5, 6, and 9.

73. Grand total of all distinct plans and proposals for accomplishing world evangelization made by Christians since A.D. 30. (See Seven Hundred Plans to Evangelize the World: The Rise of a Global Evangelization Movement |Birmingham, Ala.: New Hope, 1988~).
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Author:Barrett, David B.
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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