Countries once targeted by Western missionaries are now producing missionaries of their own.
The new missionaries in Logroño, Spain, don’t consider themselves special. They have come to do a job. And with fewer than 100 evangelicals in a city of 250,000, they have their work cut out for them.
Nevertheless, the new missionaries are remarkable—not for who they are, but for what they represent. They are among the first to go out from a country only now emerging as a missionary-sending nation. Logroño’s new missionaries hail from El Salvador.
“In Latin America, many churches have begun to change from a position of receiving missionaries to a position of sending missionaries,” said Allen Lutz, vice-president for new ministries at the Christian Nationals’ Evangelism Commission, Inc.
What is happening in Latin America is happening throughout the world. Churches that were founded years ago by foreign missionaries are today gearing up to send their own people overseas.
This phenomenon is by no means new—there have been mission agencies in the Third World for well over 100 years. But in the last 15 years, the movement has mushroomed. Today, an estimated 20,000 non-Western missionaries are at work in scores of countries. Each year, several new mission agencies and hundreds of new missionaries join their ranks.
Information compiled by Overseas Crusades, Inc., indicates that non-Western mission agencies and personnel grew at the rate of nearly 450 percent during the decade ending in 1982. Research on the last three years is incomplete. But Larry Pate, Overseas Crusades’ coordinator of emerging missions, said the growth rate probably has not changed. “If this growth continues unabated,” he said, “we have every reason to believe there will be ...1