I found some uplifiting statistics from theologian-turned-pastor, Dr. John Piper in my RSS feed this morning. Over at the Gospel Coalition blog, Collin Hansen asked John Piper, “What’s the most encouraging development you see today as Christians trust God to ‘finish the mission’?”
Piper characteristically, and accurately, answered, first, that the most encouraging development is the unchanging fact of “the never-ending endurance of God’s sovereign will and promise”. But then he pointed out that when we look with worldly eyes for evidence of God’s faithfulness in the world, we see some wonderfully encouraging facts on the ground:
The Global Network of Missionary Structures reports that ‘there are over 4,000 known evangelical mission agencies sending out 250,000 missionaries from over 200 countries. This is up from 1,800 known mission agencies and 70,000 missionaries in 1980’.
In many places the fruit of this growth is remarkable. Just to give a few examples, theGNMS points out:
- The last 40 years have seen more Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus come to know Christ than in all previous centuries combined.
- In Cambodia the church exploded from just a handful of believers 20 years ago to more than 400,000 today.
- In Mongolia, the church grew from a few isolated believers, to more than 50,000 in 200 established fellowships in the same period.
The Koreans alone, who are becoming increasingly frontier mission focused, have a plan to send out 100,000 missionaries in the next 20 years. The Philippine church and the Chinese church both have similar goals.
Thank God the progress of the Gospel in the world today does not ultimately depend on our efforts and our effectiveness, but on God’s faithfulness and sovereign will. Just look what He’s doing!