Western churches either do not know or know very little about the large Christian movement occurring in Asia’s 10/40 Window, said hip hop artist and pastor Jaseon Ma.
Ma wants to change that.
His new documentary film, “1040,” takes viewers on a journey through Asian countries located in the 10/40 Window – the regions between 10 degrees and 40 degrees North Latitude where the core of the world’s unreached people live.
Within these perimeters lie the world’s largest church, a surprisingly sizeable Christian population in the world’s most populous Muslim country, and more than 100 million believers living under China’s communist rule.
“I’ve been traveling back and forth between Asia and the U.S. for the last ten years as a pastor and as a motivational speaker and evangelist,” said Ma to The Christian Post. “I saw God move in such a dramatic way in Asia. … I truly believe that the greatest movement of God is happening in Asia today.”
Christianity’s Growth in Asia
A hundred years ago, Christians made up less than one percent of the population in South Korea, Ma pointed out. Today, the largest church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church with nearly a million members, is located in South Korea.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, local church leaders say more than 20 percent of the population is Christian. U.S. statistics usually say only 10 percent of Indonesia is Christian, he noted.
And in China, the Christian population grew from about a million to more than 100 million within about 50 years.
“These are stories, these are statistics that most people who are followers of Jesus and lovers of God have no idea that these things are happening,” Ma emphasized. “I want to tell that story.”
The fast-talking and passionate, young pastor from Northern California stated that the 10/40 Window has changed. No longer can Asian countries be seen only as a mission field because some have turned into a “mission force.”
The tiny nation of South Korea, slightly larger than the state of Indiana, he pointed out, is on track to send more missionaries than North America within about 15 years.
“I truly believe it is not just a political or economic shift from the West to the East,” Ma said. “But it is also a spiritual shift. …The Eastern church that is rising up with radical faith is going to mobilize and inspire the rest of the body of Christ around the world to get the Great Commission done.”
Asian Celebrities for Christ
Perhaps one of the most intriguing and unusual aspects of the mission-focused documentary is its inclusion of testimonies by big-name music artists in Asia.
Taiwanese-American singer Van Ness Wu, a member of the popular Taiwanese boy band F4; Chinese-American hip hop rapper MC Jin, the first Asian solo rapper to be signed to a major U.S. record label; and Sean of the well-known Korean hip hop duo Jinusean, talk about their Christian faith in the film.
Wu in the documentary shares about how he became a born-again Christian after living a wild celebrity life. After recommitting his life to Christ, he vowed to remain sexually pure until marriage. Sean, meanwhile, has given much of his earnings from his career in entertainment to charities. In the documentary, Sean says he and his wife now sponsor more than 200 children through the Christian ministry Compassion.
“In the pre-modern culture, parents are really the symbols of leadership in society,” Ma explained. “In the modern culture it was teachers. But in post-modern culture today … the symbols in society are the cultural icons, the pop stars. These are the new prophets. These are the new spiritual leaders.”
Young people may not follow a youth pastor, but they want to follow Bono in his crusade to end AIDS in Africa or Angelina Jolie in building homes in New Orleans, he said.
“What you are recognizing nowadays is it is a completely visual media-driven world and within that pop stars, cultural icons, these are the new influencers and culture shapers and creators,” the hip-hop pastor, who counts MC Hammer as his mentor, said. “So what we are seeing in Asia is not traditional missionaries that are doing all the work. But what you see is everyone is mobilized.”
“1040” premiered in March at the 2010 City of Angels Film Festival in Hollywood to an overflow crowd of more than 700 people. The film has since been shown across the nation at churches and college campuses. Over the past two months, there have already been 300 screenings.
In August, Ma and his team will take “10/40” to Asia. So far, screenings are confirmed in six countries, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. He said the film might also be shown in the Philippines and mainland China. The expected audience number for a screening event ranges from 500 to up to 10,000 viewers.
“I want to inspire, to educate, I want to awaken the global church to what God is doing,” Ma said.
The official U.S. online release of “1040” will be on Oct. 1. In Asia, the DVD will be sold only at the screening locations.