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An Upside-Down World

With the growth of the multinational church, mission is becoming multidirectional. The U.S. remains the largest single contributor of Protestant cross-cultural missionaries. But which country is the second largest? Not a Western nation, but India. And it is possible that India has overtaken the States in the number of those involved in truly cross-cultural mission—both within and beyond India. There are many more Korean missionaries than British, and some Nigerian evangelical mission organizations are larger in personnel than most Western ones (while operating on budgets that are a fraction of their Western counterparts'). Already, 50 percent of all Protestant missionaries in the world come from non-Western countries, and the proportion is increasing annually. So you are as likely to meet a Brazilian missionary in North Africa as a British missionary in Brazil. Indeed, the ratio of Indian missionaries to Western missionaries in India today is probably 100 to 1. Mission today is from everywhere, to everywhere.

So another piece of unlearning we must do is breaking the habit of using the term "mission field" to refer to everywhere else in the world except our home country in the West. Distinguishing between home and mission field no longer makes sense.

Reprinted from our sister publication Christianity Today, © 2007 Christianity Today International. For more articles like this one, visit ChristianityToday.com.

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