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We're asked 114 leaders from 11 ministry spheres about evangelical priorities for the next 50 years. Here's what they said about missions.

From a small band huddled in an upper room in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago to 2 billion adherents scattered across every nation-state today, Christianity is indisputably the globe's dominant faith. Yet according to researchers David Barrett and Todd Johnson, 27.7 percent of the Earth's population—1.8 billion people—remain not just outside the faith, but completely unevangelized. By 2025, the unevangelized will still constitute 26 percent of the world's population—some 2 billion people. The majority, as today, will live in South Asia, Africa, and China, with most in what missions mobilizers such as Luis Bush have dubbed the "10/40 Window," an imaginary band across Africa and Asia between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator, where many of the world's poorest people live.

As missionaries proclaim the Good News, persecution likely will intensify. International evangelist Luis Palau notes, "If the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, proclaimed by the most humble and wise missionaries, has already elicited such anger and hatred from nations throughout Europe, we can only infer that persecution throughout the world over the next 50 years will increase." An increasingly radicalized Islam has led to thousands of Christian martyrs in Nigeria, Indonesia, and elsewhere, with growing restrictions on Christian proclamation in majority Hindu India (on paper the world's largest democracy) and in largely Buddhist and Hindu Sri Lanka. Christians in China, who outnumber card-carrying Communists, might actually see fewer restrictions as both the economy and society liberalize—assuming there is ...

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October 2006

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