The Impact of Reverse Missions

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the United States and Europe were the principal exporters of Christianity to the rest of the world. However, the 21st century has seen a new trend called “reverse missions.”

Once the cradle of Christianity, only the United States remains an outlier among Western developed countries for its high levels of religiosity.  

According to the Africa Study Bible, “The evangelical revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States and England produced the modern missionary movement. Denominational missions and faith missions such as the Africa Inland Mission, Sudan Interior Mission, Sudan United Mission, and the South Africa General Mission (later the Africa Evangelical Fellowship) influenced African societies.” 

As a result, Africa is now considered to be “one of the most dynamic centres of Christianity in the world,” with “a significant share of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians … about 30% of the world’s evangelicals, 20% of the world’s Pentecostals and charismatics, and about 15% of the world’s Roman Catholics.” 

Additionally, Pew Research Institute noted in a 2018 research study that spirituality in Africa is deeply embedded in the society. 

The report stated, “Christians in Africa and Latin America also tend to pray and attend church at higher rates than Christians in most of the rest of the world. For instance, at least four out of five Christians in Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Cameroon and Chad pray every day.”

Currently the most religious countries in Africa are: Ethiopia with 98%. Others are Ghana (89%), Nigeria (82%), and South Africa (79%).

Even in Europe and North American, many of the largest congregations in these countries have African roots. 

Additionally, according to a report published by The Gospel Coalition Africa, “In the early years of the 21st century, the largest church in England was led by a Nigerian missionary pastor. Similarly, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Europe’s largest church, was shepherded by a Nigerian. Churches like Ghana’s Church of Pentecost and Nigeria’s Redeemed Christian Church of God have established centres all over the world.”

As these new Pentecostal expressions of Christianity continue to take root in the West, the future of missions will be exciting to witness and as people of all cultures work collaboratively to spread the gospel.

Source: Baptist News