This is probably Gary North’s most important slide presentation to date on the subject of church planting, evangelism and missions. It follows the back-to-back Skype presentations he did back in July for a regional evangelism conference. It is basically a consolidation of those two into one.
He produced it with the express purpose of offering it immediately to the public via YouTube, rather than offering it first to a small, privately held conference.
Well, that isn’t completely true. He offered it first to his subscribers (making it a publicly-available video on YouTube at the same time, as he did with his two Skype-recorded videos). That is how I discovered it.
This newest presentation was featured in one of his free articles which he writes and posts daily, Monday through Saturday, along with the members-only articles on his site. So what does that mean? It means that even if you are not a subscriber (shame on you!), you can still read this, for free, by clicking HERE.
Anyway, let me go ahead and boil the presentation down for you as follows.
- An “evangelism explosion” has begun.
- You haven’t heard about it because First-World Christian churches are not participating.
- Current conditions—a global “crisis of faith” coupled with the proliferation of cheap and free digital technologies—have created an unparalleled opportunity for the church to realize widely successful world missions as never before in history.
- Western Christians have a proven model for successful “church planting” (David Watson: India) and thus have an obligation to imitate and replicate it.
- The enemies of Christianity are losing ground.
- The friends of Christianity are not gaining ground fast enough.
- Time is running out for billions of souls.
- World evangelism: “No time like the present!”
It will be time well-spent to watch this completely through. And listen to it, multiple times. Lots of helpful statistics and facts, with lots of helpful historical background to give “flesh and blood” to the bone-jarring statistics and facts about the state of the world in 2017.
If you clicked through the link above, and read Gary’s article where this video was posted, you saw that he referenced a couple of resources by Catholic scholar Philip Jenkins: his article and his book, The Next Christendom. I recommend reading both. (Note: the link below is an Amazon affiliate link. If you make a purchase, I will get a small commission.)
You also saw the reference to David Watson’s book, co-authored with his son Paul Watson: Contagious Disciple Making. (Note: the link below is an Amazon affiliate link. If you make a purchase, I will get a small commission.)
I have bought this myself and read it. It is a terrific primer on How to Spread the Gospel Exactly the Way Christ Said To!
Several articles on the aging and demographic changes impacting the Roman Catholic Church in recent years were also referenced. I can relate to these since I was born and raised a Catholic (Mexican descent, native of the Southwest, so naturally!).
- Priests are getting older. They were old when I was in Catholic elementary school.
- Nuns are getting older. They were old when I was in Catholic elementary school.
- Seminary grads are getting fewer. I never saw any seminary grads either at our church or in our grade school. Priests were pretty well-seasoned by the time they arrived in my parish. Some were young, but this was not their first liturgical rodeo.
- Catholics are confessing that they no longer go to Confession. My most unpleasant experience as a Catholic growing up was going to confession. Small, dark, cramped room. More like a large box with carpeting and a kneeler. And a disembodied voice speaking to you from behind a screen-like partition. Scary!
The world missions spoken of by Dr. North here are mainly Protestant. Most are Pentecostal and spreading like wildfire. The super-successful “church-planting movements” begun by Watson are non-Pentecostal (Watson is Baptist). Catholics are too busy trying to stay alive.
Enjoy the presentation. If you are wise (and you are: that’s why you’re reading this!) and you connect all the factual and statistical dots, you will be as encouraged as I was, and optimistic about the bright hope of the future of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in time and in history, and the conversion of the world to Him, to the glory of God!