LONDON – The Church of Scotland's World Mission Council is suggesting that the Western world needs to be converted amid a "recession" in Christianity.
The Council says in its report for this year's General Assembly that the faith is flourishing in many African countries while Christianity in Europe is suffering from a slump that is "unprecedented in its extent and severity."
It also reports a shift in the direction of world mission, with many Asian and African Christians increasingly looking to Europe as a mission field.
The Council will address the General Assembly meeting in Edinburgh later this month and report a "great reversal" in world mission since the 1910 international missionary conference in Edinburgh, when some 1,200 mainly North American and Northern European Protestants met to strategize on taking the Gospel to the non-Christian world.
In the hundred years following the conference, European churches have witnessed the steady decline of attendance and membership, while in Africa the number of Christians increased from around 10 million in 1900 to some 360 million by the end of the 20th century.
The Council has made it a priority to identify and stimulate new vision and energy to shape the church and mission in the 21st century ahead of a major missionary gathering in Edinburgh next year to mark the centennial of the 1910 conference.
Edinburgh 2010 will be held in June next year.