At a recent meeting one of my colleagues showed me the Easter edition of the Mail & Guardian newspaper they call the God Edition. One article in particular, called the “The flowering of faith in Africa” caught my attention. The essence of the article was to show how in 15 sub-Saharan African countries, despite the challenges Christianity faces (false teachings, false prophets, etc.) how Christianity is expected to grow over a 50 year time horizon. Their timeline starts in 2010 and projects to 2050; compared to this growth in nominal terms only, is the expected growth of Islam.
So whilst the absolute values look impressive I did a bit of arithmetic and looked at the rate of growth of Christianity vs Islam and vs the population growth rate…different story!!
Here is what I found for SA:
The growth in nominal terms looks good – from 40.10m to 48.60m – but the rate of growth per annum is only .42% as compared to a population growth of 1.2%? When compared to Islam, the rate of growth is two-thirds less?
For the other 14 countries, four also showed Christianity growth lagging behind their population growth rates and 10 of the 15 countries showed Christianity lagging behind Islam?
Many insights can be gathered from this data but from a WENSA perspective my point is that when the church is consumed / focussed inwardly it will die! That is why the Great Commission needs to be an integral part of discipling believers and for the church to be engaged beyond itself! At the 2017 WENSA / MANI Southern Africa consultation there was a resounding call for the church to regain its priority as the foundation for mission outreach!!
Join us at 2 upcoming consultations – the S2NAP consultation focussing on North Africa and the Running with Horses mission conference – check out the website / Facebook page for details.