Third World finds the West ripe for the harvest.

The tables are turned. After generations of Europeans and North Americans evangelizing and discipling the peoples of the Third World, Western nations are becoming one of the many mission fields for the exploding developing nations’ missionary movement.

Of the nearly 200,000 Protestant and Catholic missionaries today, more than 60,000 are from the Third World. Some experts estimate that by 2000 the number of missionaries from the Third World will exceed the number of their Western counterparts. With 75 percent of Christianity’s 1.7 billion adherents living outside the United States and northern Europe, the shift is inevitable.

According to AD 2000 & Beyond—an umbrella coalition of Protestant missionary agencies, pastors, and lay leaders—there are 6,000 Protestant missionaries from India, 3,000 from Latin America, 15,000 from Africa, and 11,000 from Asia proclaiming Jesus around the globe. Mestizos from the Amazon River basin have navigated up the Amazon River to start more than 200 churches in the past 15 years. Korea has sent missionaries to more than 50 countries, with a goal of having a missionary in every nation by 2000.

Peruvian theologian Samuel Escobar, a professor at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, says the freelance missionary movement is booming. “Among the 100,000 Peruvian economic emigrants each year, there are an estimated 5,000 evangelicals, none of whom have been sent by an official missionary agency. However, each one of these evangelicals is a potential missionary because their beliefs drive them to proclaim the gospel wherever they are.”

Doing it their way

Rather than being a clone of the First World ...

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