Where to Invest in Expanding God's Kingdom on Earth

"The Church is one generation from extinction" has been traced back to Dr. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and several other European Church leaders.  This quote has gone on to be restated by many leaders proclaiming "Every nation is one generation away from the extinction of Christianity," denoting the idea that Christianity must be preserved and passed on to the next generation of youth in order to survive.

There is a trend going on in the Western Church to especially support missions endeavors within the 10-40 window, or the most un-reached areas of the world, including the Middle East, Northern Africa and parts of Asia.  While I support this idea, and from what I've heard missions funds desperately need to be re-distributed towards these parts of the world (only a small percentage currently goes in this direction) ... I also see the great need to support missions in every nation of the world.

Michelle and I have some amazing missionary friends who are doing a great work in Central America, whose mission funds were cut dramatically on their recent furlough, due to churches redistributing their missions dollars to areas of the world less-reached.  The sad part of the story, is that these missionaries primary work was raising up dozens of latin Americans who were going to the middle east as missionaries.  These internationals had several compelling reasons for our support:
-They looked more like the culture of those they were going to reach, and would have far less trouble than American missionaries to the middle east (with all our national tensions right now)
-They grew up with less materially, and thus could handle the rigors of missionary life in these parts of the world better than American missionaries (in general, of course).
-These international missionaries needed FAR less support than the standard American missionary.  Pennies to the dollar less.
-A comparison is that there are relatively few American missionaries in the Middle East (and even those that are, stories of them are rare because of the danger), while these friends sent several dozen Latin American young adults as missionaries during just a three year term!

Even if my friends weren't sending missionaries to the 10-40 window, their work (in my opinion) would still be valid.  Saying South America or Africa or Europe doesn't need missions support or more missionaries is like saying the United States doesn't need more spiritual help.  The US has the most Christians of any nation in the world (although we are the only nation of the world in decline statistically).  Yet our church planting and ministry launching efforts continue.  God continues to call young people into the ministry and put dreams and burdens in the hearts and lives of the next generation.  Nearly all of us would agree that America needs our prayers and funds and energy and effort.  It is the same with every other nation of the world - Christian or unreached.  Each is worthy of our efforts, funds and passionate devotion.  Because each of these nations is just one generation away from extinction of Christianity.

Article written on behalf of the Lausanne Movement Conversation leading up to Cape Town 2010 this fall.  Connect with us on the conversation site here.  Set up your own profile and participate in the conversation with like-minded believers from across the earth here.  More about how you can be involved here.