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A Growing Church
Jet Balloon
Posted: September 01, 2023
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    Children pick palm tree branches for Palm Sunday in Harare, Zimbabwe. (AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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    God’s church is growing fast in some parts of Africa and Latin America. (Chart data: Pew Research Center)
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    Children attend a church service in Lagos, Nigeria. (AP/Ben Curtis)
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    Archbishop Paul Hinder opens a Bible at a church in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)
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    Volunteers give food to victims of flooding at a church in Trooz, Belgium. While the number of Christians has dwindled in Europe, Christianity is growing in other parts of the world. (AP/Virginia Mayo)
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It’s terribly sad to read about Europe’s empty churches—especially when we think about how full those churches once were. What went wrong? In Europe, many grandparents and great-grandparents lived as faithful worshippers. Then at some point, their great-grandkids, grandkids, and kids found other places to be on Sunday mornings.

But remember: God is still building His church. Day by day, He calls new people into His family.

In fact, a study by Pew Research Center shows that Christianity is growing. It’s expected to grow even more as years go by. In 2010, the world had 2.2 billion Christians. By 2050, the study predicts it will have about 2.9 billion. The world population will grow too. The number of Christians will likely keep up with this growth.

So God’s church is thriving. That doesn’t change. But where it’s growing does change. For many years, Europe saw increase in the church. Now the European church is shrinking. The study estimates that will continue to happen. But it’s also likely that more and more people will become Christians in parts of Africa.

Imagine a pie cut into five pieces. It represents the world’s Christians. In 2010, one “pie slice” came from Europe. One arose from Latin America and the Caribbean. Sub-Saharan Africa had its own piece. Two smaller ones included Christians across Asia and the Pacific, and North America. Can you guess which part of the world had almost no pie?

The Middle East and North Africa—the very spot where Christianity began. The Middle East and North Africa—the very spot where Christianity began.

Members of the earlier church probably felt sad when churches fizzled out in the very place Jesus walked. But was God done? Not at all! From there, Christianity moved north, south, east, and west. Did it spread all the way to your house too?

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. — 2 Thessalonians 3:3