From Dr Roger Olson:
[…] Christian missionaries from all over the world, especially the Global South (but also including some countries in the Northern Hemisphere), are flooding the U.S. with the clear and stated goal of re-evangelizing the very country that sent their countries missionaries years ago.
One outstanding example of this new trend came to my attention just recently. I invited a noted religion scholar from Great Britain to speak to my class—about “evangelicalism.” He is an evangelical and I asked him how evangelicalism in America looks to British evangelicals (of whom there are about 2 million). His answer: “very odd.” I think he was being generous.
This scholar spoke about his current research focusing on African Christianity and mentioned a particular relatively young Christian movement/denomination born in Africa that is flooding the U.S. with missionaries. The group is the Redeemed Church of God in North America founded in Nigeria in 1952. Although I knew one of my students is of Nigerian descent I was surprised, as we all were, when he spoke up and mentioned that his parents are missionaries to the U.S. from that particular Nigerian-born and headquartered denomination.
Later I asked the student if he could tell me how many congregations in the U.S. belong to the Redeemed Church of God in North America. He did his research through his parents and came back to me with the answer: 700. That’s astounding.
I happen to know this is not an isolated example; many passionately evangelical Christian groups born in non-European, non-North American countries that were considered “mission fields” by North Americans and Europeans a century and less ago are literally flooding large American cities with high immigrant populations but spreading out from those to evangelize native-born Americans—including many who consider themselves Christians.
You can read the rest of Dr Olson’s post here.
Here is a video lecture from the 2014 Great Commission Summit with Dr Philip Jenkins speaking on global church growth trends:
Dr Jenkins is the author of multiple books including The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity and The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia–and How It Died.
More from GospelEncounter:
- Book discussion: Lesslie Newbigin, Sign of the Kingdom (1981): Part 1
- “If you feel called to plant…we need you in those areas where the trendy coffee shops and artisanal bakers are hard to find”