In the west Christianity is in decline, but if it were as bad as some make out, its a wonder there’s a church left in some countries at all.
I some countries there are boasts of growth, such as the growth of protestantism in France and Brazil, but decline in membership of the Roman Catholics in those countries shows overall decline, so what is happening there is a swap of one kind of Christianity with another in an overall picture of decline. Not that we should denigrate the actions of the French and Brazilian Protestants. Any growth in an overall picture of decline is good.
But now for the good news. Worldwide Christianity is growing. In fact in numbers alone Chistianity is the fastest growing religion. From just under 2 billion (yes, billion) Christians worldwide in 2000 in an overall population of 6 billion, nearly a third, it is projected that by 2015 there will be 3 billion Christians in a population of almost 9 billion.
That is growth. But in world population terms, hardly any growth at all.
To put it into context there’s the fact that the vast majority of that growth is natural growth. People are born into Christian households and stay with the faith. 90% of Christian growth is accounted for this way, only 10% of this growth is by net conversion. (That is the number who have converted to the faith minus those who have converted away.)
We must do better.
Because if the church is to grow by 50% in 50 years, as the growth figures predict, that’s about 1% per year, and if only 10% of that is conversion growth that’s 0.1%. Or one church of 100 getting a new convert in 10 years.
We are called to take the Gospel into all the world. The harvest is ready, pray that God sends more labourers into the harvest.
40 blogs of Lent day 15