Saturday, September 29, 2012
As Christianity’s Center Shifts to Global South, Leaders Converge in Chicago to Pioneer Next Generation of Innovative Global Ministry Partnerships
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
CHICAGO, IL. (ANS) -- One hundred years ago, the average Christian was a mid-40s Western male. Today, the average Christian could be an African female in her 20s. The population epicenter of Christianity has shifted.
Sixty percent of today's 2 billion Christians are from the Global South (Africa, Asia and Latin America) -- a figure that will rise to 75 percent of 3 billion Christians by 2050.
According to a news release obtained by the ASSIST News Service, a recent analysis of global trends by First Fruits (http://www.firstfruit.org/news-resources/guiding_trends/global-trends/prominence-of-the-global-south-church) summarizes the impact of this shift. “The West will no longer be the territorial center of Christianity.”
It adds that while the West still controls the conversation globally, the Global South Church will increasingly critique Western approaches. In addition, indigenous mission movements will create new, creative ways to do everything from fundraising to leadership training to community engagement.
The news release maintains that today's most successful Western Christian leaders embrace this shift as an opportunity for unprecedented growth, collaboration and learning within the global church . In addition, they say it is a powerful time to foster collaboration between ministry, church, corporate, major funding and secular development groups to maximize the success of global initiatives.
Global:Church Forum unites more than 23 speakers from 11 countries who will provide a picture of how ministry and development work is conducted within different cultures and economies. The forum will say what works and what needs changing, in order to redefine models and methodologies pursued by the West.
The news release says the forum’s approach seeks to uncover points of collaboration that will lead to strategic partnerships that are powerful and sustainable and address the world's greatest needs.
Daytime working sessions are by invitation only, with evening sessions free and open to the public, featuring music by Sara Groves and inspiring talks by global leaders from India, Africa and beyond.
"The current growth of the church in the Global South and East changes the way we as Westerners engage with the church -- we need a shift in perspective, attitude and strategic project and funding models," said Jimmy Lee, founder and CEO of re:source global, the organization hosting the conference, speaking in the news release.
“The goal for attendees of Global:Church is to become more coordinated and strategic in the work we are doing as funders and ministry leaders,” added Lee. “This is the start of a global conversation we are taking from Chicago to cities around the world, and it's growing in intensity.”
For more information, visit www.resourceglobal.org/gcf
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