18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” 20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
In Vietnam, the US Department of State estimates that Protestants in Vietnam may have grown 600% over the last decade. In Nigeria, the numbers of Christians has grown from 21.4% in 1953 to 48.2% in 2003. Most notably, during the first five years of this century, Christianity as a whole grew faster than the global population. A quick glance at the continental growth rates shows that much of this growth came from Asia and Eastern Europe. Eastern Asia’s Christian growth rate was fueled by the continued growth of Christianity in China. Over thirty million new Christians emerged in China between 2000 and 2005, yielding an average annual growth rate of over five percent. Like Eastern Asia, South-Central Asia’s Christian growth as a whole was aided by the steady rise of Christianity in India’s large population (although Afghanistan and Nepal saw the greatest growth rates in that region). South-Eastern Asia, in comparison, drew its growth from many countries in the region. In Africa, meanwhile, the widespread adoption of Christianity in many countries during the twentieth century has led to lower growth rates today, as natural increase replaces the higher conversion rates of the previous century.(Lausanne Statistics: http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/research.php/928/04-2008?pg=all )
In today’s reading we can see it proven in our time and forecasts for the future. When you read the above material from the Lausanne Committee on Evangelism you see that Jesus’ parable has come true. The Kingdom of God has grown like that mustard seed or has spread like the leaven in the bread Jesus spoke of. So what about us? Are you discouraged by what you see around the world today or encouraged? Perhaps the church is declining in the West, but it is exploding elsewhere in the world. We are a part of a movement that is outstripping the growth of the world’s population. Jesus’ words have proven true!
Father God, we are humbled that you have called us to be a part of this worldwide movement called Your Church! Help us to do our part in spreading the message of Jesus so that all have a chance to hear the life-changing message of the Gospel. We pray these things in the true name of Jesus, Amen!