What Missions Driven from the '2/3 World' Look Like

The majority of Christians are no longer living in the West, but are now coming out of the 'two-thirds world' – Africa, Asia and Latin America.
( [email protected] ) Jan 08, 2007 12:50 PM EST

Most Christians around the world today are not English speakers, many theology professors point out.

The majority of Christians are no longer living in the West, but are now coming out of the "two-thirds world" – Africa, Asia and Latin America. Tite Tienou of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell seminary's Center for the Study of Global Christianity says some 60 percent of the world's 2 billion Christians live in the majority world.

So, "what would missions driven from the majority world look like?" asked Oscar Muriu, senior pastor of Nairobi Chapel in Kenya, at a recent student missions conference.

Although some are calling Africa's Christian boom over the last century the largest shift in religious affiliation to ever occur, Muriu said the African church is still called "a basket case."

"We have nothing of substance to contribute to the world," he said. "The tendency is for us ... to say we have nothing to give. This is wrong."

Despite being poverty-stricken in many of the countries, Africa and the rest of the two-thirds world still have a lot to contribute.

"We are flooded with numbers (of people)," Muriu highlighted, adding that there is an "abundant supply of young people."

Hospitality, prayer, generosity and experience with poverty are also some of the "gifts" the church in the majority world can contribute to the Church, Muriu added.

Overall, it's clear that the church in the two-thirds world is thriving, as recent reports have indicated.

A new report by the Associated Press marked the shift of Christianity's population and dynamism from the West to the "Global South" as one of the key religious developments around the turn of the third millennium.

Along with the shift, the vision that has largely driven Western missionaries is taking a different spin in the majority world. Rather than going "to all nations" with the gospel, Muriu said missions from the two-thirds world should be driven by a passage other than Matthew 24:14.

"Do not go among the Gentiles ... Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-6), Muriu read.

The focus of Western missionaries has been to reach people groups that have never heard the gospel or where Christianity is a minority religion. Muriu said he believes missionaries from the two-thirds world should "re-evangelize" the nations that colonized them, the countries that were once Christian and are now "lost."

"The British church that brought us the gospel is in desperate need," he noted.

"We can craft a different model for the majority church."