(Protestant) Missions by the Century

16th Century

Adoniram Judson, detail from an engraving by A...
Adoniram Judson, detail from an engraving by Alfred Jones after a painting by Chester Harding, 1846 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Cross-cultural Missions?   Almost none
  • Leading Sending Nation:  None
  • Primary Concepts?    State Protestant Denominations. Theological development. Political/Religious survival

17th Century

  • Cross-cultural Missions?   Limited
  • Leading Sending Nation:   Netherlands
  • Primary Concepts?   Local missions. Migration. Bivocational missions

18th Century

  • Cross-cultural Missions?  Yes.
  • Leading Sending Nation?  German states
  • Primary Concept?  “Tentmaking missions”

19th Century

  • Cross-cultural Missions?   Yes.
  • Leading Sending Nation?  Great Britain
  • Primary Concept?   Mission societies. Coastal and colonial missions

20th Century

  • Cross-cultural Missions? Yes
  • Leading Sending Nation?  United States
  • Primary Concepts?  Faith-based Missions. Missions conferences. UPGs

21st Century

  • Cross-cultural Missions?  Yes
  • Leading Sending Nation?    To Be Determined. NSCs (“New Sending Countries”)
  • Primary Concepts?    To Be Determined. See below.

The 21st century is new. It is not certain what will happen. It would be unwise to assume that the 21st century will simply be an extension of the 20th… any more than that one should assume that previous centuries simply extended from the previous.  We need to be part of the old (our faith, our Christian and Missiological history), but also part of that which is new and innovative. I am hoping for certain trends to typify the 21st century missions. These include (but are no way limited to):

  • -Continuation of the trend towards missionaries coming from all nations (not just “the West”)
  • -Growth of Wholistic missions
  • Focus on GUCs (Great Urban Centers)
  • -Expansion of the Missional Church movement and vision

But who knows. We with God (or God with us) create the future of missions. 

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