Did you know that the United States is the largest provider of missionaries worldwide?
That fact is especially significant since the sustaining influence of the Christian faith across our nation is seriously threatened by a strong and growing secularism.
Missionaries of all denominations and stripes number an estimated 121,000 worldwide, including providing professionally trained staff who are connected with missional institutions such as schools, colleges and hospitals, as well as supporting existing and indigenous churches and outreach native mission stations.
Pentecostals are the most rapidly growing groups, especially in the Southern Hemisphere.
Increasingly, missionaries are coming from the Global South, and many of them are trying to convert people in the secular West.
In 2015, there were 27,400 African and 30,000 Korean missionaries. The countries that received the most missionaries from abroad were the U.S., Brazil and Russia. African missionaries say they find working in Western countries invigorating but that increasing anti-immigrant sentiments are dispiriting.
A great challenge and opportunity among immigrants offers further rapid Christian growth in spite of opposition in many nations.
As Paul asserts in his letter to the Colossians, Christ has been given worldwide supremacy by God:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in Him all things in heaven and on Earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He himself is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on Earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” — Col.1:15-2
David Tritenbach is a retired Presbyterian minister.