In a matter of days, Amsterdam ’86 will bring together an estimated 10,000 itinerant evangelists from over 150 countries. It will equip men and women with practical tools to carry out Christ’s commission in nations that are little more than hard-to-pronounce oddities to most Westerners.

These mostly ill-clad faithful are the key to church growth at the close of the twentieth century. (See the interview with Billy Graham on page 22.) All of which prompted us to ask what remains to be done in reaching the world for Christ. Where in the world is the church growing? And where is it, in truth, nonexistent?

We posed these questions to missions-watcher Sharon Mumper. A frequent contributor to our News section, Sharon is associate director of Evangelical Missions Information Service (EMIS), and in touch with Christian “catalysts” worldwide. (She’ll not see this story in print until she returns from an assignment in the Far East.)

Sharon’s concern for accuracy in reporting “slippery” church-growth statistics (and finding the stories behind those statistics) was evident right from the start, and no better seen than in the development of the full-color map on pages 18 and 19.

Working to insure no stat or story was left unturned, Sharon kept in constant contact with numbers expert Patrick Johnstone, who resides in England. Map revisions were handled by art director Joan Nickerson as she was notified of still newer church-growth data.

Finally (and fortunately before our production department could cry, “Enough!”), Johnstone and the people at Global Mapping Project in Pasadena, California, were satisfied the map was “up-to-the-minute”—and Joan could put down her colored pencils. Until the next time.

Beginning with this issue, “The Arts” (formerly “Refiner’s Fire”) will offer some thought-provoking—and we hope entertaining—quick takes on the creative expressions of our culture. This month: a docudrama about C. S. Lewis’s last years, and the controversial film Hail Mary.

HAROLD SMITHManaging Editor

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