In Habakkuk 1:5, God said to his people: “Look to the nations, watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe even if you were told.”
More than 2,000 years ago, God was already instructing us to look to the nations – the peoples of the earth – which would be the arena in which he would do something so amazing that his own people would struggle to believe it.
God is doing mighty works of salvation among the peoples of the earth today. Let’s take a quick walk around the world to see what God is doing as he spreads his glory, the intimate, saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, around the globe.
In Latin America
Beginning in 1983, César Castellanos’s cell church in Bogotá, Colombia grew to more than 20,000 cell groups with more than 100,000 members.
In San Salvador, Central America, each week, Pastor Sergio Solórzano’s Elim church hires 600 city buses to transport 116,000 members from 5,300 cell groups to Sunday celebration services.
In 1990 Cuban Baptists reported only 235 churches. In 2010, Baptists and other evangelicals are on track to see 100,000 churches in Cuba with one million baptized believers. Cuban church leaders estimate that 70% of the country’s 13 million residents have now received a Jesus Film, New Testament, and/or personal witness to Jesus Christ.
Beginning in 1958, with the baptism of 3,000 Gypsies in Spain and France, by 1979 the Gypsy Evangelical Movement had grown to 30-40,000 Gypsy church members with 150,000 regularly attending worship.
Across the continent of Africa, Christianity has exploded from less than 9 million believers in 1900 to more than 470 million in 2010.
In the Muslim World
In an Al-Jazeera interview Libyan Sheikh Ahmed al-Katani* stated, “In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.”
A North Africa movement grows from 10,000 baptized believers in 1990, to 16,000 in 1995, to 22,000 in 2003 to more than 160,000 in 2009.
A South Asian movement was assessed in 2002 with more than 125,000 baptized Muslim-background believers.
Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, more than 100,000 Iranians have endured relentless persecution as they have come to faith in Jesus Christ.
In China, more than 30,000 new believers are baptized every day.
A Church Planting Movement in a northern Chinese province sees 20,000 new believers and 500 new church plants in less than five years.
A south China Church Planting Movement produces more than 90,000 baptized believers, and 920 new house churches in eight years time.
A Church Planting Movement among Bhojpuri-speaking people results in more than 11,000 new churches and more than 1,000,000 new believers.
Among the Kui people of Orissa, a new church was started every 24 hours.
Growing out of a ministry to slum dwellers in New Delhi, more than 3,000 Muslims have come to Christ in 600 new church starts.
The Fastest Growing Church Planting Movement
A movement that began in 2001 in China with a vision to plant 200 churches in three years. Within a year it had seen nearly 1,000 new church starts and 12,000 baptisms.
By 2009, the movement had swollen to nearly two million baptized believers and more than 80,000 new churches, making it the fastest growing Church Planting Movement in the world today.
“Look to the nations, watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe even if you were told” (Habakkuk 1:5).
Some of you are fulfilling Habakkuk 1:5 even as you read this article surveying what God is doing in these Church Planting Movements, not because you are a part of what God is doing, but because you are one of those who does “not believe even though you have been told.”
But for some of you, you are not only believing, you are choosing to be a part of what God is doing and yearning to see this vision from to be fulfilled in our day.