Christianity in Its Global Context

The internet is a wonderful thing; there is a lot of rubbish out there, but there are also lots of videos of puppies and kittens and there are also some really useful books and bits of information.

One wonderful resource that many people don’t seem to be aware of is the excellent June 2013 report on Christianity in its Global Context 1970-2020 from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Seminary.

Available as a free pdf download, the report stretches to almost 100 A4 pages, packed with statistics, graphs, charts and a fair bit of prose. If you are interested in world mission, the Global church of the history and future of Christianity, you should own a copy of this report. Whether you load it onto your tablet or generic e-reader device, view it on the screen of your laptop, or go old-school and print it off on actual paper (which is what I did), you need to have a copy of this report available to you.

Take my word for it; go and get a copy now.

Christians around the world today find themselves in contexts that are very different from those of 40 years ago. Since 1970, many societies have experienced dramatic social upheavals and severe environmental catastrophes, yet the period from 1970 to 2010 was also a time of great technological advancement and increased connections between people around the world. Such changes challenge  Christians to think differently about the people among whom they live and work, the ways in which they  interact with them, and the potential for future cooperation.

Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020: Society, Religion, and Mission, a report produced in 2013 by researchers at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, offers a timely overview of the changing demographics of Christianity and Christians’ activities over the past 40 years while looking forward to the next ten. If current trends continue, what will be the state of the world in 2020? Who will be the neighbors of Christians, and what issues will they be facing together? Here we summarize the key findings from the full report, which is available for PDF download at www.globalchristianity.org/globalcontext.

Christianity in its Global Context presents global data on the demographics of world religions, providing evidence for the continued resurgence of religion into the twenty-first century. It covers global  Christianity, including Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism, and offers projections for where growth of all major Christian traditions is most likely to occur in the future. The bulk of the report details the Christian, religious, and
social contexts of each of the 21 United Nations (UN) regions and what changes have occurred or will likely occur from 1970 to 2020, with discussions of key social issues that are putting pressure on residents in each region, particularly those currently being addressed by the UN Millennium Development Goals. The sections on social issues do not include every issue facing a particular region, but instead choose one of particular importance to highlight. The “Mission and Society” section of the report details the status of the worldwide missionary movement, including personal contact between Christians and other religionists around the globe, the status of unreached people groups, and the religious demographics of international migrants.

Now stop reading this and go and download it.