What on Earth is Happening? What are the challenges that the Body of Christ are facing and what hope can Christians offer the world?

Everyone recognizes that the world we live in is changing rapidly. The advances in technology have forever shifted communication, media, economics, business, education, and even the family.

Other megatrends are:

  • Urbanization: Ten years ago the urban population of the world surpassed the rural population. People are rapidly moving to urban centers everywhere. It is estimated that this trend will dramatically increase in the coming years.
  • The West/East shift: Population growth in the next several generations will be largely centered in Asia and Africa. The biggest cities will be in India, Nigeria, China, Japan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The largest numbers of true believers are now in countries like China, India, Nigeria, and Indonesia. The West has fewer believers and it is rapidly becoming secularized and abandoning the Christian faith.

I am often asked “Are we winning or losing as Christians?”

The answer is both. Christianity is growing rapidly in parts of Asia, Africa and South America, but shrinking just as quickly in the Western countries.

The challenges before us as the Body of Christ are the following:

  • Will we stay stuck in old models that are no longer relevant to the emerging generations? This includes how we see evangelism, discipleship, all areas of communication and education and the use of the newest technology.

  • Will we in Western culture keep compromising the Bible to fit in an ever- increasing humanistic secular culture?

  • Will we pay the price of persecution to stand up for truth in the marketplace?

Right now, the love of self, the love of money, and the love of pleasure dominates everything around us. For most in the church, it has left us with a form of godliness that lacks power (II Timothy 3:1-5).

Decoration image for quotation

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

2 Timothy 3:1–5

We need to make following changes:

  • Foundationally, we need to rediscover true Christianity. Often the way we define our Christian faith is not what the Bible actually says or we cherry pick scriptures to make them fit the narrative that we like.
  • We must put the final commands of Jesus among the most important things in our lives. We should be students of the Great Commission so we are constantly looking at what Jesus meant by it.
  • Finally, evangelism must be for everybody. It’s not something to be carried out only by a few specialists.

Jesus made it very clear that if we wanted to follow Him it required three things: denying ourselves, picking up our cross daily, and losing our lives to find them!

Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.’ – Luke 9:23-24

I call this the “exchanged life.” We give up our life and we get His.

Most of what is practiced today in the West would be better described as “easy believism” where we make God up to be anything we want Him to be, pick which parts of the Bible we like, and define salvation with terms that make the road wide to get in. This kind of religion has no power and is not attractive to the younger generation who is looking for something real.

  • “Going into all of the world”
  • “Making disciples of all nations”

These are literal commands that we will be held accountable for when we see Jesus face to face.

Acts 1:8 tells us that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This is the primary statement Jesus made before he left the earth. It is the primary mandate for the Christian church in this age!

When Jesus called his first disciples, his invitation was demanding. He told his would–be followers, “Repent... believe... come... follow.” (Mark 1:15,17)

He did not sugarcoat his invitation to discipleship. He used no promises of heavenly blessings to entice them into obedience. Rather he stressed the cost of following (Mark 8:34–38). His demands were unqualified and the response on their part was total and radical. His purpose in calling them was absolutely clear. It was so “that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14).

To this end he made one promise — and one promise alone — to his initial followers. He promised that he would transform them into something which they were not: he would make them into “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). This promise still holds true for those who follow Jesus today. If you pursue him, he will change you; no matter what your vocation, you will be equipped by his Spirit to share the good news with others.

Hope on the Frontiers

The most exciting reports of Great Commission activity are coming from the frontiers. Over the last 30 years there has been extraordinary movement of the kingdom across the developing world. This is especially true since the fall of the Soviet Union. There are hundreds of millions of new believers throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and even the Middle East.

During the same time, there has been an explosion of prayer. Including prayer watches, houses of prayer, prayer chains of every kind. There has never been more prayer on the earth than there has been in this generation. This volume of prayer is shifting the spiritual landscape and I believe it will be the foundation for a global awakening that is coming!

And other encouraging aspect of kingdom activity is the growth of unity, particularly strategic unity in the global Body of Christ. In 1974 the Billy Graham organization started the Lausanne movement, which led the way for bringing together Christian leaders from many countries of the world.

In January of 2008 the call2allmovement began in Orlando, Florida, with 600 leaders from more than 100 countries, many of whom were presidents and CEOs of denominations and missions organizations. Over the last decade, 27 call2all congresses have been held in every region of the world. More than 50,000 Christian leaders have participated representing every country on earth!

Leaders from around the world agreed to work together to see the Great Commission completed. This is unprecedented in all of church history! They made specific commitments in all the main Great Commission areas. The combined results of these commitments are startling.

These many commitments have accelerated Great Commission activity in many parts of the world. God’s Kingdom is expanding as we look at the bigger picture!

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About the author

Profile photo for Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson has been involved in Christ's mission for more than 40 years. He is currently a leader in Youth With a Mission in Kansas City, and President of Call2All, a global Great Commission movement with more than 50K leaders involved.

Mark is passionate about evangelism and has conducted evangelistic initiatives in more than 3000 cities globally. He is also President of the Global Pastor's Network, which has the goal of planting 5 million churches and reaching 1 billion souls with the good news of Jesus. When he's not roaming the globe, he is at home with his wife Karen, connecting with his 6 children, or entertaining his 17 grandchildren.

Mark was a Plenary Speaker at Missions Fest Vancouver 2019.

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