President's Blog

Where are Christian Missionaries Serving?

If you were to guess how many “full-time” Christian workers serve the Church in our world, what would you guess?

According to the William Carey Library, World Christian Trends, there are 5.5 million “full-time” Christian vocational workers in the world. Of these 5.5 million pastors, evangelists, professors, missionaries, chaplains, etc., only 420,000 (approximately 7.6%) of these are “foreign” missionaries. Of the 420,000 missionaries, only 10,200 of these (approximately 2.4%) are involved with “pioneer” ministry, focused on unreached people groups.

At the turn of the 21st century, Christian mission looked like this:

  1. “Unevangelized” world
    • 10,200 foreign missionaries in service
    • $250 million (USD) per year to send these missionaries
    • 26 closed countries
      • - 20,500 full time Christian workers in these countries
    • 0.1% of all Christian literature
    • 0.1% of all Christian media
  2. “Evangelized non-Christian” world
    • 103,000 foreign missionaries in service
    • $1.75 billion (USD) per year to send these missionaries
    • 31 restricted-access countries
      • - 31 million full-time Christian workers in these countries
    • 8.9% of all Christian literature
    • 3.9% of all Christian media
  3. “Christian” world
    • 306,000 foreign missionaries to other “Christian lands”
    • $13 billion (USD) per year to send these workers
    • 4,000 missionaries sent to 29 restricted-access countries
    • 4.19 million full time Christian workers
    • 91% of all Christian literature
    • 96% of all Christian media

The bottom line is: the Fellowship family needs to get more involved in sending missions personnel and funding into trusted indigenous mission initiatives to the “unevangelized” world. It is vastly underfunded. Only $250 million (USD) of the more than $13 billion (USD) spent on Christian personnel goes to the most spiritually needy places on the planet.

What should our churches do about this as we consider our church missions budget this year? What should we do about it personally as we consider the many requests for our support? A sobering thought; one worthy of our time in prayer.