From Everywhere to Everywhere

The amazing growth of the Church in the global south (Africa, Asia and Latin America) has turned the world upside down. Now, more than 80 percent of the Church is living there1. As result, an emerging, fresh missionary force from this area is changing the map of missions. In fact, the cross-cultural mission force from the non-Western world may well have surpassed the force from traditional sending countries by 80 percent2.

Clearly, the era of missions from the West to the rest is finished. Welcome to the era of missions from everywhere to everywhere.

I am a result of this paradigm shift. I received Christ as my Savior back in 1963 in Huehuetenango, a small city in Guatemala. At the time, the evangelical Church in Guatemala was around 1 percent of the total population—an uncomfortable minority. Local churches suffered marginalization and oppression.

When I was a university student, an explosive growth started among the evangelicals in my country: From 5 percent of the population in 1976 we grew to 12 percent in less than 10 years. By 1993 I was pastoring a church in Guatemala and evangelicals had become one fifth of the population.

The missionary vision set our church on fire, and in less than 10 years we were sending missionaries to plant churches in Spain, Albania and the United States, translating the Bible among Indian groups in Guatemala, and supporting missionaries in northern Africa. By 1995, 51 percent of our church’s income was dedicated to our missionary budget.

So today, it’s not at all strange that a Guatemalan would become the international director for Europe in this North American ministry called ReachGlobal. It’s a weird and wonderful example of how the world is changing.

The same Holy Spirit who moved the North American and European Church to grow and send missionaries two centuries ago is now on the move among the Church of Africa, Asia and Latin America. We need to work together, with all our resources, to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ Great Commission in our time.

Perhaps I don’t seem the right person for this position, but who is able? I’m sure the Lord has called me to this time, to show in me His mercy and power and to affirm His sovereignty.

1 “The State of the Gospel,” by Jason Mandryk in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Fourth Edition; Ralph Winter and Steven Hawthorne, eds. (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), p. 364.
2 “The Surging Non-Western Mission Force,” by Bruce Koch in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Fourth Edition; Ralph Winter and Steven Hawthorne, eds. (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), p. 370.

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