Aaron Earls has posted on global Christianity trends in an article at the Facts and Trends blog. We Americans have a tendency to assume that the USA is the world, and so we think that what happens here determines how the rest of the world thinks and behaves. But the fact is that we are but one nation out of many, and most Christians live somewhere else.
10. More non-Christians will have Christian friends.
As local believers grow in number, more non-Christians will be acquainted with or have friends who are Christians. In 1900, only 5.6 percent of the world’s non-Christians knew a Christian. That will climb to 18.4 percent in 2017 and near 20 percent by 2050.
Again, I’m just blown away by this information. Who knew? Of course, this only matters if the Christian friends care enough to talk to their non-Christian friends about Jesus. In the US, the post-modern mood makes this less common than it once was, but in foreign countries, the cultures are different and the social barriers to personal evangelism are sometimes much lower (and sometimes much higher).
Nonetheless, this is good news no matter how you look at it. But this also means that 80% of the world does not have a single Christian friend or acquaintance. They may have heard the gospel from a stranger on TV or radio, but we all know that the best evangelists are someone’s friends.
We can only pray that this trend continues.
The inverse will also be true, that more Christians will have non-Christian friends. This is true right now among younger people and city dwellers. Sometimes their non-Christian friends are the closest. As I read on one blog, people who are having a crisis will put it out on facebook before telling anyone in the church. Some of this has to do with church leaders passing hasty judgement.