If we look around the world, where is Christianity growing the most? Christianity has a 6.9% annual growth rate around the world. There is a net increase of 79,000 Christians each day. Christianity is growing fastest in the developing world, specifically in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The growth rate in these locations is eclipsing that of the Western church. Additionally, the population of the world is growing fastest in Africa and Latin America.
But, it is not just outside the U.S. The Spanish language is now part of everyday life in the U.S. Spanish language advertising in the U.S. is growing at a rate of 12.5% a year. In Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Houston, Spanish language advertisement is rapidly becoming more popular than English. A full 42% of Californians speak a language other than English at home, with 28% speaking Spanish. The U.S. population is 14.5% Hispanic. Last year the Southern Baptists started more than 300 Hispanic churches around the world.
What does this all mean? Should all missionaries speak Spanish within the next week and half? No. Should we ignore the person across the street for the person across the border? No. But shouldn’t we be a part of, “an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” (Revelation 14:6)?
In 1 Corinthians Paul says, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.” Now, we all don’t have to become Latin Americans or Spanish speaking, but, it is important that we see that God created all ethnicities and languages for his glory. Not everyone, nor even most, are called to go across the borders to take Christ to the world. Some go, some send, and some pray. We all have an equally important role to play. The Pettengills will continue to learn the Spanish language so that we can reach Latin America…you keep praying. Amen.