PREFACE TO THE BOOK ENTITLED: MISSIONS IN NORTH AMERICA

12/27/2016]

This study presents the thesis that, contrary to popular opinion, within North America are people groups beyond the sound of the gospel. Few raise questions about Mexico’s 129 million people being a mission field among whom some 100 mission boards are working. Perhaps more wonder about whether the thirty six million souls living in Canada constitute a mission field. But, many wonder if the United States is really a bona fide mission field that will only be evangelized with the help of mission organizations. These pages provide a rationale for considering North Americans as a mission field by means of a history of missions in the fifty states, an analysis of a number of unchurched people groups, and the results of a survey of mission boards and denominations ministering to the peoples of Canada, US and Mexico.

America is a mission field even though 25 percent of its populace consider themselves to be Protestants. This is a fact because the evangelicals are not distributed among the unchurched people groups. Although the gospel is presented twenty-four hours daily via mass media, it is not meaningful to the great majority of pluralistic peoples in our society.

The study reveals that some people groups are totally unevangelized, such as 27 million cultists, 2.6 million Muslims, 1,500,000 Hindus, 500,000 Buddhists and 250,000 Sikhs. Others essentially bypassed by the gospel are 53 million handicapped (80 percent), 18 million alcoholics (90 percent), 6 million Jews (95.5 percent), 1.6 million inmates in the prison system (98 percent), 1 million native Americans (95 percent), 2 million French-speakers, and immigrants in varying numbers from every nation in the world (95 percent).

American Christians are unaware that 39 million black Americans are only 30 percent evangelized, whereas black Africans are up to 50 percent evangelized. Nor do they know that while Christianity explodes in Latin America, 45 million Hispanophones use Spanish here are only to varying degrees touched by the gospel. Or that nearly 3.8 million American Chinese remain almost without Christ as those living in China.

Although 63 percent of Americans claim church membership, [in Alaska the percentage is 10 percent and in Hawaii it is 30 percent] only 20% are evangelical. In Mexico, only 4.2% are evangelical, while in Canada, 8% are evangelical. North America remains one of the larger mission fields of the world with millions of persons needing the gospel.

The national missions movement in North America, as compared to the foreign missions movement, is a relatively recent but growing phenomenon. The Traditional Attitude of American Pastors concerning ministry in the United States is evangelism not missions. Missions is Foreign Missions. However, with the rapid influx of folks from around the “foreign mission fields”, who continue to use their native foreign languages, the attitude is slowly changing. Even this year, when a foreign missionary came home to be the director of a mission with ministries worldwide, he lost support because he was no longer a foreign missionary. Our church is commissioning a young lady to work among 80,000 Somalis in Mineapolis, MN. She has had little trouble raising support for ministry here in America, 2016.

The analysis of the different people groups in North America is divided into 21 chapters. In each, normally evidence is marshaled to show that the group is essentially unchurched or large segments remain to be evangelized. Statistics are presented to indicate the relative size of the missionary opportunity. Historical background is given to help determine why the group is gospel-neglected or gospel-resistant.

The religious heritage of the people group is briefly traced and their exposure to Christianity is noted. A list of mission organizations that service the group and sources of evangelistic materials is appended for ready reference.

A list of approximately 600 mission organizations ministering in North America was compiled, and a survey of missions ministering in North America was conducted. That information has been compiled in a database entitled North American Mission Handbook ascompared to the Mission Handbook for foreign ministries.

Some years ago a survey revealed that 12,000 missionaries served under 228 home mission boards. The total number of missionaries was approximately 22,000. This figure did not include 1,000 staff serving with 250 missions listed in the International Union of Gospel Missions Directory, nor did it include 4,000 staff members listed in the Directory of Christian Camping International. Finally, that survey did not include denominational missions.

We conclude that the present study substantiates the thesis that not only is North America a mission field, but it is also a growing mission field. Peoples from most of the mission fields of the world are coming to North America in unprecedented numbers and remain nearly as unevangelized here as they were in their native country. Also, Dr. David Barratt suggests in the book World Christian Encyclopedia that Protestantism is shrinking from a two-third’s proportion of the populace in 1900 to a projected one-third of the whole as we enter the new century.

For purposes of statistical comparisons, note the following from the Internet

The population of the United States for 2016          325,000,000

The population of Mexico -------------------------------- 128,000,000

The population of Canada-------------------------------- 36,500,000

The total population for North America -------------- 500,000,000 [US, Canada, Mexico] as compared to the world population of 7.5 billion

The estimated world population figure ----------------7,455,000,000

The population of China is number 1 ------------------1,400,000,000

The population of India is number 2------------------- 1,322,000,000

The population of the United States is number 3 ----- 325,000,000   [There are 125,000,000 households US, average income $54,000.00]]

Protestants in the world = 6.9% world population -- 382,374,000 p. 855 No. 1354

Protestants in North America =                            . 65,881,000   [370 million in world

Africa -- 91,070,000; Asia -- 85,764,000

Evangelicals = 30% of Protestants-------------------- 68,000,000

Nonreligious . ----------------------------------------------- 24,718,000 5%of NA

Muslims in United States----- . --------------------------- 2,600,000 – 2,100 Mosque/Information centers [1.6 Billion Muslim in world]

Hindus -------------------------------------------------------- 1,500,000 - 400 Temples  [1Billion world]

Buddhists ---------------------------------------------------- 3,000,000 - 1500 Temples [376.4 million  in world]

Atheists ------------------------------------------------------ 1,997,000                         [150.7 million in world]

Chinese folk-religionists ----------------------------------- 713,000                        [402 million in world]

New-religionists -------------------------------------------- 1,561,000                        [107.3 million in world]

Tribal religionists ------------------------------------------ 1,100,000

Sikhs ------------------------------------------------------------ 583,000 -                       [23 million in world]

Jews ---------------------------------------------------------- 5,354,000                         [14 million in world]

Shamanists ------------------------------------------------------ 1,000

Confucians -------------------------------------------=-------   79,000 [includes Taoism-12,000]

Bahai’s --------------------------------------------------------- 847,000                           [7.5 million in world]

Jains --------------------------------------------------------------  7,500                           [4.2 million in world]

Shintoists -------------------------------------------------------- 60,000                         [4 million in world]

Other regligionists --------------------------------------     650,000                         [1.2 million in world]

Non-Religious---------------------------------------------31,286,000                          [767 million in world]

Total of non-Christian religionsts -------- 16,100,000 4% of NA

Total including nonreligious--------------- 40,818,000 10% of NA

From the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, 1995,

Total Denominations reporting ------------------------- 79

Total # US Protestant churches---------------------------- 295,667 297 [total churches US = 330,000]

Total # Canadian Protestant churches------------------- 20,778 290

Total # US Protestant church members----------------- 87,727,000 34% of NA

Total # Canadian Protestant church members------- 6,025,091 21% of CA

Total # US & Canadian churches------------------------ 351,425 820

Total # US & Canadian population-------------------- 288,000,000