The Next Christendom

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The Next Christendom is an influential book by author Phillip Jenkins that explores the current and future leadership of worldwide Christianity.  He uses the term “Global South” to describe the center of future Christian leadership, referring to where Christianity is most present and growing as a demographic and cultural force.  The Global South refers roughly to Latin America, Africa and and parts of Asia.

For a missionary to relocate to his or her home country for a season messes with their identity.  Probably the number one attraction to missions besides the general heart for promoting the Kingdom of god is the passion for cross-cultural engagement.  So in order to continue engaging cross-culturally I have immersed myself in Spanish language study. As an introvert I learn language mainly through individual practice of reading and listening.  Once I reach a level of proficiency I move on to conversation and writing.  This is how it was for me during the past 19 years I became fluent in Portuguese.

What I want to write about here is the wonderful flavor I sense as I experience the Latin-American Church in Southern California through Christian radio.  I’ve been busy will a lot of remodeling and renovation projects lately and have been listening to several hours of Spanish Christian radio most weekdays.  One of the things that most impresses me by the radio programming is how conservative and orthodox it is as opposed to a lot of “mainstream” Christian American radio programming.

It is very common to hear testimonies and preaching about spiritual warfare, homosexuality, the necessity of conversion, etc… in a clear and unapologetic way.  This programming reminds me of the pentecostal Christian context that I was raised in.  Phillip Jenkins states that the Christian Global South is conservative and charismatic (regarding the gifts of the Spirit, spiritual warfare, etc).  The typical Christian in the world today, and increasingly in the future is a woman of color from a developing nation.

After 4 and 1/2 years at a North America seminary, which was a great experience, it is great to be influenced by the clear gospel I see represented by the Spanish-speaking Church in Southern California.

One last thing I want to mention is the love I witness in these programs for the United States as a nation.  There is so much mobilization for prayer for the nation, and informative updates regarding how the Church at large should be in prayer for the sphere of politics and education.

Please pray for my Spanish-language studies, I believe that this will be an important tool for future ministry trips to the Iberian Peninsula.

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