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Christianity in its global context: What has happened around the world in the last 40 years from 1970-2010?

Researcher Todd M. Johnson of Gordon Conwell’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity gives us some detailed statistics from his research.

Below are just a few insights that stood out to me.

Photo credit: Center For The Study of Global Christianity

Photo credit: Center For The Study of Global Christianity

Atheism Is Declining Globally

Atheism is trending downward and the world is becoming increasingly religious.

Yet atheists and agnostics continue to rise in the Western world.

Christianity & Islam Making Up The Majority

Christianity and Islam will likely represent 57.2% of the global population by 2020.

Global Opportunities: Opportunities & Challenges

The “Global North” (Europe and North America) is becoming more religiously diverse. (This is a great opportunity.)

While the Global South (Asia, Africa, Oceania, Latin America) is moving mainly toward either Christianity or Islam. (This is a great challenge.)

Christianity continues to decline in the Global North at an dramatic rate.

85% of all people and 66% of all Christians will live in the Global South by 2020.

The “Renewalists” Continue To Rise

Renewalists (Pentecostals, Charismatics, Neo Charismatics) numbered 62.7 million in 1970.  They are expected to grow to 709.8 million by 2020.

Renewalists represented only 5.1% of all Christians but by 2010 they had grown to 25.8% and are expected to grow to 27.8% of all Christians by 2020.

In 2020, the countries with the most Renewalists will likely be Brazil, the United States, China, and Nigeria.

The Rise of Africa- Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

In 1910, only 9% of Africa’s population was Christian.

By 2020 Africa’s Christian population is expected to reach 49.3%.

Yet “Only 20% of Muslims in Africa personally knew a Christian in 2010.”

Yet “Africa is the world’s least-developed continent.”

What do you think of these insights?  Where do you see opportunities or challenges ahead?

If you would like to find some of your own insights go to: “Christianity In Its Global Context: 1970-2020.”

* “Christian” is this study refers to Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, & Renewalist followers of Jesus Christ.

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