- (Photo: BGEA)
If the Chinese church committed itself completely to mission it would be a great new force that could complete the Great Commission, a mission expert stated.
There are an estimated 100 million Christians in China, including members of the underground church, and the number is rapidly growing. Some have estimated that 30,000 people in China come to Christ every day, Dr. David Shibley, president of Global Advance, told The Christian Post Wednesday.
“I’ve seen it (mission movement) beginning in China and India,” said Shibley, whose organization focuses on empowering national leaders to plant churches among the unreached people groups. In India, an estimated 15,000 people are coming to Christ daily.
Shibley believes China and India are the great success stories of mission so far in the 21st century.
“China holds the potential to complete the Great Commission," he said. "If the Chinese movement completely committed itself to mission it could and should become the great new mission force throughout the world.”
Shibley said Chinese missionaries could follow the Silk Road – an ancient network of trade routes connecting China to Europe through the Middle East and North Africa as well as to South Asia – and share the Gospel to the unreached people groups in the region.
Both China and India, which are the most populous populous countries in the world, lie in the 10/40 Window.
The 10/40 Window is a term mission leaders use to refer to the countries that lie between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator. These countries contain the majority of the unreached people groups; are home to the three primary non-Christian religious systems – Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam; and account for two-thirds of the global population.
Roughly 5,186 of the 6,639 unreached people groups are located in the 10/40 Window, according to Shibley. These 5,186 unreached people groups translate to 2.39 billion people.
“If you’re serious about the Great Commission, this is the most Gospel-needy area in the world,” he said.
Though the number of unreached people groups in the 10/40 Window is large, Shibley pointed out that in the 1990s mission groups began a “very aggressive” church planting movement to finish the Great Commission. Part of the goal of the movement was to equip churches in the 10/40 Window to develop a heart to reach their neighbors. Previously, equipping local churches was not the primary goal of missionaries.
The church planting movement was in part inspired by the Joshua Project, a research initiative that regularly tracks the remaining unreached people groups and updates how close followers of Christ are to completing the Great Commission.
In addition to equipping churches, Shibley highlighted the use of satellite to share the Gospel in difficult-to-reach areas.
One such satellite TV ministry, SAT-7, which broadcasts Christian programs in the Middle East and North Africa, says it reaches nine to ten million people each week.
Earlier this year, the ministry reported that a survey it took indicated that about 5.3 million Iraqis, or about 19 percent of the population, watch SAT-7 Christian programs. Iraq only has a Christian population of 600,000, which means that millions of Muslims are watching the Christian programs.
Also in Iran, the SAT-7 channel is among the most popular channels in the country. Reports indicate that a growing number of Muslims throughout the Middle East are becoming followers of Christ through Christian satellite television programming.
Currently, Global Advance has three teams in the 10/40 Window that are training Christian and business leaders on how to plant churches and share the Gospel. Due to security concerns, Shibley could not say exactly where the teams are located. But he mentioned that one of the teams this week faced persecution.
Global Advance trains national church and business leaders to evangelize and disciple their nations and plant churches among the unreached. The ministry has hosted over 100 Frontline Shepherds Conferences around the world, equipping national pastors and church leaders to plant churches and start indigenous missions efforts. Global Advance says it has trained 235,000 leaders in 75 countries.