There are two statistics about the current state of global Christianity which will likely strike you as both shocking and paradoxical. First, in the year 1900 Europe and North America contained 83% of the world’s Christians. By 2020 the continents of South America, Africa, and Asia will be home to 72% of the Christians on earth. Second, despite the surge in global missions over the past two centuries and the vibrancy of the church in the Global South, 90% of the world’s Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus do not personally know a single Christian.
These two statistics, along with other related trends in global Christianity and world missions, helped shape the Restore the World vision, comprised of the following four initiatives.
Restoring the World by Welcoming the Homeless in Brazil
The shift in global Christianity demands that we become partners and co-laborers with our brothers and sisters in the Global South. Therefore, the Highland Church of Christ and the Itu Church of Christ will develop a reciprocal partnership, propelled by the common vision to love, serve, and empower our homeless neighbors in our respective locales.
Restoring the World by Combatting Trafficking in Southeast Asia
Highland will hire missionaries, commissioned to make disciples and help train church leaders, to serve in Southeast Asia, a region where Christians are an extreme minority. We will also partner with humanitarian organizations focused on ministering to those affected by human trafficking so prevalent in this region. More precisely, we want to partner with those addressing the systemic issues that create and perpetuate the practice of trafficking.
Restoring the World by Making Peace in the Muslim-majority World
Highland will take the next 4-5 years to learn about the Muslim-majority world, beseech the Spirit to begin transforming our fear into love, and prayerfully discern and research ways in which God is already moving to bring peace and reconciliation in areas characterized by conflict between Christians and Muslims. After this time period we will hire missionaries and/or local church leaders, as well as partner with organizations focused on peacemaking and reconciliation in conflict areas.
Restoring the World by Restoring Highland
The Highland Church of Christ will develop avenues through which its members can use their gifts and talents for the sake of God’s mission in the world and be transformed more fully into the image of Christ. A key feature of this initiative is equipping our members to better understand themselves as disciples in a global context.
The following pages will highlight the first three initiatives. You are invited to read the more detailed description of the Restore the World vision at highlandavenue.us/highlands-restore-the-world-vision/