23 April 2018

Watch now! Lessons from the global church: Renewing mission, community & discipleship

While every statistic available today shows the church in the West is in multi-generational decline, the opposite is true almost everywhere else. Before long, more than 80% of Christians will live outside the West.

Churches in the majority world have seen extraordinary (and sustained) growth for decades - places like Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the West, immigrant (diaspora) Christian communities are also going through a time of growth and revitalization.

What does it mean to listen and learn from what God is doing in the global church today? This question was unpacked by Rev Dr Graham Hill at public lectures at Laidlaw College’s Henderson and Christchurch campuses in March. Graham is the Vice-Principal (Communications) at Morling Theological College in Sydney, and the Founding Director of TheGlobalChurch Project (theglobalchurchproject.com). His passion is global conversation, and he has travelled the globe interviewing over 300 Christian leaders and listening to their stories. He researches, films, and writes about trends and shifts in World Christianity.

He commenced his lecture by noting the breathtaking growth of the church in the majority world, citing statistical examples (for example, Christianity in Africa in 1900 was about 10 million believers – by 2050 there will be around 1.1 billion followers of Jesus). He did not claim that what is happening outside of the west can easily be transferred, but took the audience through some of the common themes that are emerging from these growing churches – noting 12 key lessons that can be learned, and then suggested ten practices that arise from those lessons.

He concluded with the plea for our churches to be “glocal” – global and local. We are called to live that out in our community, to be open to one another, to pay attention to each other and to break the boundaries that have kept us apart.

It was an informative and thought-provoking lecture, sprinkled with stories and personal examples. We invite you to watch it now and see what lessons you can learn for your own church context here in Aotearoa New Zealand.