Jan 10: World, Global Hot Spots

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Area: 134,940,000 sq km

Antarctica, with 14 million sq km, is not included.

Population: 6,908,000,000    Annual Growth: 1.20%

Urbanites: 51%


    Languages: 6,909


Largest Religion: Christian

Religion               Pop %Ann Gr

Answer to Prayer

The globalization of the Great Commission movement has profoundly changed the face of mission. Since the late 1970s, there has been a surge of interest and involvement in missions from the Majority World. Mission sending has recently gained or maintained momentum in countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, Brazil, Philippines, South Korea and others. Involvement by the more traditional sending regions of North America, Europe and the Pacific has stayed level at best and often declined. The world missions force is more multicultural and multinational than ever before. It faces challenges – and solutions – distinct to the 21st Century. For a listing of the world’s missionaries sent by country, see Appendix 3 Further Mission Information on p930 .

a) The Majority World Church as the dominant force in mission sending. The USA remains the largest sending nation of foreign missionaries, but South Korea has replaced the UK as the second largest. India’s missionary movement flourishes even as the foreign missionary presence within India dries up. India trails the USA in total workers; although the vast majority of India’s missionaries serve within India, many work in a cross-cultural environment. According to some reliable sources, China’s population of missionaries (those who go and are sent out as such from their churches) exceeds even the USA, although the large majority remain within China itself. Mission from the Majority World is shaped by several factors:

     i The increasing number of national sending agencies and associations. This is especially true among newer Churches who send workers from the first or second generation of believers. Central and East Asia as well as Eastern Europe are encouraging examples of this in the past decade. Growing numbers of countries are forming sending structures to facilitate sending workers from their nations to the world. Most countries with sizeable evangelical populations have mission associations that connect and resource mission structures within the country.

     ii Partnerships between Global North and South workers and agencies. The North is learning to work as equals with or even serve under the leadership of those from the Global South. International agencies increasingly see their new recruits come from countries in the Majority World.

     iii The emergence of distinctive mission movements and visions for reaching the unreached. God has long placed on the hearts of believers around the world desires and plans for reaching the nations. Some have been pursued across many decades — the Back to Jerusalem vision among the Han Chinese aims to retrace the historic Silk Road trade routes between Asia and the Mediterranean, with 100,000 Chinese church-planting evangelists sharing Jesus along the way. Other visions have been birthed more recently, such as Nigeria’s Vision 5015 to send 50,000 workers in 15 years with the gospel across the north of Africa, also toward Jerusalem. Latin American movements send workers to North Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Pacific Islanders, building on the Deep Sea Canoe vision, send workers to other indigenous peoples.

b) New methods of sending workers to the least reached are being explored. Modern Protestant mission has, for the past two centuries, been propelled with great success by the mission agency structure, even despite its failures and limitations. This model will continue to provide an excellent means of sending and supporting the world’s mission force among the nations. But in some cases, changes in global politics and economics necessitate developing new models and paradigms of mission work. Some of these are highly successful, others are not, while others wait with birth pangs.

     i Affinity partnering networks have formed across agencies for shared vision and focus. This focus might apply to a people, a region or a religious bloc. Such networks provide partnership, shared resources, research initiatives and, in some cases, umbrella groups serving pioneer workers from all agencies reaching the target peoples. Most of these operate in sensitive, creative-access contexts, so listing them by name would be unhelpful to their cause.

     ii Relief and development work by mission agencies allows many believers, passionate about social causes and the gospel, to serve abroad. World Vision, World Relief, Tearfund and MedAir are just a few familiar names among hundreds, if not thousands, of such agencies. Others, however, serve Christ but work through secular international NGOs such as the UN, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam, CARE International and others.

     iii Experts in business, industry, education or other fields serve as lay workers around the world. Outstanding opportunities for such exist, in many cases, among the least reached. While some serve through agencies, others go on their own or with loose connections to networks. For many professionals with a passion for the Great Commission, it makes no sense to re-train to work, for example, as a pastor or evangelist, when open doors and natural peer networks already exist for lawyers, engineers, architects and entrepreneurs.

     iv Believers living in diaspora are increasingly a strong mission force. Filipinos, South Koreans, Chinese, South Asians and Nigerians in particular see opportunities for such Kingdom service. When such diasporas lock into the power of these millions of potential tentmakers, the awakening of intentional missional living will reap an abundant harvest in their host countries.
There are strengths and weaknesses involved in each method, and finding new ways forward is never tidy. Pray that devoted followers of Christ might, with passion, urgency, wisdom and discernment, seize available opportunities to more effectively reach the world’s least reached.

c) Areas of crisis and tension draw increased attention to fields of great need. Consider:

     i The heightened awareness, globally, of the size, complexity and evangelistic challenges of the Muslim world – largely through events of 9/11 – birthed in many believers a burden for Muslims. In the past 20 years, more Muslims than ever before have come to Christ, more workers serve in Muslim heartlands, more agencies focus on these regions and more sustained intercession is given for these peoples precious to God. There are the beginnings of what may well become a flood of Muslims discovering Jesus, demonstrating His Lordship over all peoples.

     ii Political crises in Buddhist strongholds such as Tibet, Thailand and Cambodia similarly caused increased interest in the Buddhist world, long a tough mission challenge with little progress. Mongolia, Cambodia and Vietnam, all strongly influenced by Buddhism, now see unprecedented Christian growth. A trickle of first fruits is also occurring among Tibetan peoples. May the rest of the Buddhist world soon experience the same.

     iii The upheaval in the Hindu world has likewise drawn greater attention to this large swathe of the human population. Civil war and continued turmoil in Nepal, unrest, religious violence and persecution in certain parts of India and the continued plight of the Dalits/Untouchables have all attracted prayer, mobilization and ministry on a great scale. This, in turn, has yielded incredible growth in the Church in Nepal and India. Pray, however, for an awakening of focus and a harvest force to work among higher caste and middle class Hindus.

     For an additional 7 Answers to Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

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The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of World.

Global Hot Spots


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Challenge for Prayer

The Mexico-US drug corridor is an area where the hedonistic excesses of American appetites effectively fund brutal wars between various drug cartels and government forces. Tensions from immigration issues further fuel the fire.

     For an additional 13 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

More Information

The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Global Hot Spots.