Dear Mission-Minded People,

Did you realize that, over the last century, the Christian world has been turned upside-down?  The center of gravity of the Christian world has shifted from north of the equator to south, and from the western hemisphere to the eastern.

At the start of the twentieth century only 10% of the world's Christians lived in the Southern continents and in the East, while 90% lived in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.  Today at least 70% of the world's Christians live in the non-Western world.  More Christians worship in Anglican churches in Nigeria every Sunday than in all of the Anglican and Episcopal churches of Great Britain, Europe, and North America combined.  There are more Baptists in the Congo than in Britain, more people in church every Sunday in Communist China than in all of Western Europe, and ten times more Assemblies of God members in Latin America than in the United States. (Christopher J. H. Wright, "An Upside-Down World," Christianity Today, January 2007)  The United States is now actually the world's third-largest mission field, and the third-largest pagan country on the planet.  Third-world countries have been sending missionaries here to help win us to faith in Christ!

Does that mean that we should forget about sending missionaries overseas, since they're doing so well without our help?  Not in the least!  What it means is that the Spirit of God is blowing in a new direction, and it only makes sense to catch the wave and be doing what God is blessing.  There is still plenty of work to be done overseas, and if that is where God is working, then we should be, too.

In fact, doing so may well help revitalize the Church here in the West.  William Carey, the 18th-century "Father of Modern Missions" (and a Baptist!) said that he sailed from England to India as a missionary in order to save England.  He rightly noted that missionary outreach by the English churches would kindle a new flame of enthusiasm within the English churches themselves.

But, at bottom, that isn't why we do mission work.  We do it because Jesus told us to, and because He deserves to be known and praised by people everywhere.  And they deserve the same chance to know His love and forgiveness as we have had.  So, let's share the light of His love once again through the World Mission Offering this October.  By doing so we'll bless people all around the world, which in turn will produce blessing to the Lord, and may even produce blessing to ourselves in the bargain.

Yours for His glory,

(Rev.) Peter A. Brown