The Future of the Global Church, the latest book by Patrick Johnstone is well worth getting hold of. As you can see from the picture above, it is full of maps, pictures and graphs and is a delight to browse through. I don’t suppose that anyone will actually read through this book from cover to cover, but it is ideal for picking up for five or ten minutes. You are almost certain to come across something you didn’t know each time you open this book up.
To my mind, the best section of the book are the forty or so pages devoted to Church history. Johnstone is much less interested in doctrinal disputes and church councils than most writers on Church history. Instead he concentrates on the important aspects of how the Christian faith has actually spread across the world. As a result, he is much less Western-centric than most authors in the field. If you don’t have the time or energy to read A History of Christian Missions by Stephen Neil, then it is well worth getting hold of this book just for the history side of things.
The other sections of the book, which look at various aspects of the contemporary world are all thought provoking and well illustrated. If you want a good overview of how the Church is growing around the world, today, you could do far worse than start here.
However, I do have one gripe with this book. Patrick Johnstone is a great one for his facts and figures and often seems to allow them to take over and he can become rather programmatic in his approach; dividing the world into neat blocks and seemingly ignoring some of the real complexities that are a part of human societies and Christian mission. Still, griping aside, this is well worth getting hold of.