In 1900, Africa’s Christian population hovered around 9 million. Today, the once dark-continent is home to nearly half a billion Christians with 23,000 new converts added daily. The story is the same in Asia and South America, where the Christian faith is booming. The three continents make up what scholars call the global South. In a new book entitled A New Kind of Missionary, author F. Lionel Young III describes the “southern shift” of Christianity over the last 100 years, a swing largely unnoticed by Western and European church-goers.
“A hundred years ago we sent Western missionaries out with rudimentary Bible knowledge and basic survival skills to hack their way through jungles and bring the good news to distant lands,” said Young. “Today, two-thirds of the world’s Christians live in those places.” Young, who is senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, has traveled around the world gathering research and asking questions of indigenous church leaders.
“Over and over, I kept hearing that what the world needed was a new kind of missionary—a partner working alongside nationals to empower them to continue bringing joy to the nations,” said Young. “Its time for the West to stop telling the rest of the world how to do church. We need to listen to what the global church is saying to us about their needs instead.”
The author offers a brief history of the missionary movement and uses stories collected during his travels to illustrate what research is revealing about the changing face of global Christianity. “I have witnessed first-hand the new realities that scholars are talking about in Africa and Asia,” he said.
A New Kind of Missionary is published by Clements Publishing of Ontario, Canada and distributed by Ingram Book Group. The book is available locally at Calvary Church, 1325 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, and from online booksellers.
F. Lionel Young III is a PhD candidate at the University of Stirling (Scotland) and the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso. He is a graduate of Grace College (BA), Grace Theological Seminary (MDiv) and Trinity Evaneglical Divinity School (ThM). He has served as a lecturer at the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School in Nairobi, Kenya and as a visiting professor in India and Australia.