Journal of Applied Missiology, Volume 2, Number 1



Gaston Tarbet

The accompanying WORLD SURVEY CHART focuses on the numerical results of the missions activities of the churches of Christ.

Attention should be drawn to several aspects of the chart. From column four, one should notice that one third of our membership resides outside of the U.S.A. and Canada. From column two, it is apparent that there are continents and regions with several countries where there are no churches of Christ. There is still much mission work to be done in Africa, Asia, Europe, and especially the Middle East.

Comparison with the WORLD SURVEY of 1988 shows growth in the number of churches planted, church membership and the number of missionaries. In 1988 there were 7,103 churches of Christ outside of the U.S.A. and Canada with 452,970 members. In 1991 there are 9,823 churches with 576,267 members. The number of missionaries increased also from 712 in 1988 to 977 in 1991. It should be noted that a married couple is counted as two missionaries which is consistent with most contemporary missions reporting practices. The number of missionaries includes Americans who are supported by American churches for whom we have specific names, and, in most cases, addresses.

Significant growth in the number of churches and membership on the mission field reflects intense evangelistic efforts on the part of the nationals as well as the increase of the missionary force.

In order to make this WORLD SURVEY as complete and as adequate as possible, we need the help of current missionaries and past missionaries to keep us informed of the areas where they worked. For example, Wendell Broom has recently completed his fourth decadal church growth study of Nigeria. (He did them in 1960, 1970, 1980 and in the spring of 1990). Therefore, our previous growth projections about Nigeria can now be corrected by his 1990 survey which lists the name and addresses of 1,405 churches whose average reporting membership is 92. We desire this kind of information for every country.

Please send any church growth survey which you do and which you feel would improve the accuracy of a future World Survey.

  Number of American Missionaries        Number of Churches of Christ
 Serving Outside the U.S. and Canada  Outside the United States & Canada

1200--------------------------------  12000-----------------------------
1000-----------------------977------  10000--------------------9823-----
 800---------712-----------***------   8000-------7103---------****-----
 600---------***-----------***------   6000-------****---------****-----
 400---------***-----------***------   4000-------****---------****-----
 200---------***-----------***------   2000-------****---------****-----
   0---------***-----------***------      0-------****---------****-----

            1988          1991                    1988         1991


Continents/Regions    Countries (w/C.ofC.) Churches  Members  Missionaries*
Sub-Saharan Africa            48 (24)        6,118    362,865       216    
Middle East/N. Africa         29  (4)           14        263         4    
Asia                          26 (16)        1,617    121,519       130    
Europe                        37 (17)          302      7,954       260    
Caribbean Islands             25 (18)          483     24,066        65    
Central America                8  (7)          379     15,250        36    
Mexico                         1  (1)          400     25,000        25    
South America                 15 (12)          238     11,440       158    
Oceania (Aust & N.Z.)         29  (9)          272      7,910        83    
TOTALS                      218 (108)        9,823    576,267       977    
U.S.A.                         1  (1)       13,230  1,258,814         0    
CANADA                         1  (1)          148      7,200         0    
St. Pierre & Miquelon          1  (0)            0          0         0    
Greenland                      1  (0)            0          0         0    
GRAND TOTALS                222 (110)       23,201  1,842,281       977    

Sources of Information: Published church growth surveys of countries and regions included in the tabulations; interviews with past and present missionaries; published newsletters and church bulletins; Churches of Christ Around the World by Dr. Mac Lynn, and missions files at Abilene Christian University. When these sources were not available or sufficient, estimations were made by those with a knowledge of the area.


Check out the 1994 Statistics

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Direct questions and comments to Ed Mathews,

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