Brian Stiller takes readers on a global tour of Christianity in From Jerusalem to Timbuktu. The church started in Jerusalem and moved outward. For centuries, the epicenter remained in Europe. Now it is shifting more and more to the “Global South.”
Timbuktu is not just a clever title word. If one considers the fact that Africa and Asia have pulled the global center of Christianity south and west, then the city of Timbuktu in the country of Mali is at the center.
Though some may argue that Christianity is on the decline in America, around the world it is thriving. Consider of these stats below taken from Chapter 1.
Africa: The number of believers in Africa has grown from 8.7 million (in 1900) to 542 million today. It’s estimated that it will grow to 1.2 billion by 2050.
- China: There are an estimated 100 millin + Christians in China. If similar growth trends continue, Christians will make up 32.5% of the Chinese population by 2040 and 66.7% by 2050.
- Suth Korea: Seoul has the largest Pentecostal, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches in the world. The Yoido Full Gospel Church alone has nearly a million members (roughly 5% of the city’s population).
- Nepal: Christianity has risen frm only 30 believers (1960) to more than 1.4 million today.
Even if you don’t read the whole book, I recommend at least taking a look at the first chapter as the statistics are encouraging and enlightening for anyone interested in missions and evangelism work.
The rest of the book focuses on five key “drivers of global faith” taken from his years of ministry, as well as interviews with missiologists, agencies, and leaders on the front line, etc.
The Drivers of Global Faith:
- A church that has come to know and appreciate the person and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Underlying everything that Christians are and is our Bible.
- The revolutionary influence of locally grown leaders and ideas.
- Re-engaging the public square.
Change—whether through growth or decay—is inevitable in all walks of life, and this includes Christianity. Knowing a little more about what that landscape looks like will certainly prove helpful for Christians seeking to bring the hope of Christ all around the world.
(As a disclaimer, I received a free copy of this book from Intervarsity Press but all opinions expressed are my own.)