Christianity 2015: Religious Diversity and Personal Contact

The January issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research provides an interesting table on the ’Status of Global Mission’. The table gives information on global religious trends over 150 years (1900-2050). Christians (of all kinds) presently number 2.4 billion; Muslims, second, number 1.7 billion. Christianity is growing at 1.35% per annum—good news, in that it is faster than the population. But Islam is growing at 1.88% per annum—faster than Christianity. By 2050, Christians will likely number 3.4 billion vs. Islam’s 2.0 billion.

What is disturbing is the 14% of non-Christians who know a Christian. This means that 86% of all non-believers do not personally know a believer from whom they can receive good news.

It is encouraging that the percentage of the world that is unevangelized dropped from 54% in 1900 to 29.3% today, and is projected to continue to drop. Unfortunately, due to population growth the number of unevangelized people stands at 2.1 billion today. By 2050 that number will increase to 2.6 billion.

What is of specific interest to the Global Generosity Network is the estimated Christian giving. In mid 2015 the personal income of church members will be US$42,000 billion. Giving to Christian causes is expected to be US$700 billion or 1.6% of Christian income. The income of global foreign missions is expected to be US$45 billion or 0.107% of Christian income and 6.4% of Christian giving. Fortunately both Christian giving and income of global foreign missions is increasing at a higher rate than the increase in the personal income of Christians. That shows that Christians start to give more of their income to Christian causes in general and to global foreign missions in particular. Unfortunately corruption by Christian officials is still a serious and growing problem. In 2015 it is expected that $50 billion will be taken illegally by Christian leaders – more than the total income of global foreign missions! It is sad that ecclesiastical crime is rising at a higher rate than giving to Christian causes.