February 2024

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Fruitful Farms

Once upon a time, there was a town in which nearly all the men were farmers. Each owned a farm that had been in their family for generations. All were poor yet steadfast, honest men – doing their best to raise their families. But over the last few generations, their farms had become less and less productive. Then, one harvest time, a stunning report was heard: the son of one of the farmers, who a few years ago had taken over the farm from his father, had reported a huge harvest: ten times what anyone had seen before. In the coffee shop where this was heard, a variety of reactions came forth.

1 “Oh, you’re exaggerating. A harvest that big just isn’t possible.”

2 “He’s a clever chap. I’ll bet he’s working a scheme to take advantage of those naive city-dweller wheat purchasers.”

3 “No, he’s just recently back from that city school. I’ll bet he’s brought back some of that newfangled genetically altered grain and planted it. That’s not real wheat. It won’t last.”

4 “He’s probably lying about the harvest so he can get in good with the town mayor and marry his daughter.”

5 “Well, you know, he has better soil on his land. His dad was clever and bought up a lot of that ground. Ours is all rocky and hard and thin. There’s no way to see that kind of harvest on my land.”

6 “That’s probably because there’s been a lot of rain on that side of town. You know, God’s given me the land I have, and called me to be a farmer. My dad taught me how to farm the way God taught him. Some of us get some good years, God bless ‘em, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna change what I do.”

7 “That’s amazing! What’s he doing differently? Is there a way I could do that on my farm?”


Shifting Center

In a 2004 presentation at ISFM, Todd Johnson shared (among other things) the following chart, based on estimates from World Christian Trends (2005).

This shows the shifting “center of gravity” of Christianity from “the West” (largely Whites) to “the non-West” (largely non-Whites). This was part of Signpost #1 - the increasing diversity of Christianity and its shift from “northern” to “southern.”

Given that the percentage of Christianity that is White or Western has dropped to 43%, obviously 57% of believers is now non-Western. What would have to happen for 57% of all the leaders, giftings, resources, creators, books, publications, etc., to be non-Western as well? And how should I, as one of the 43%, live and serve in this world?


Africa bandwidth

I have been in East Africa for a week, attending the global 24:14 consultation. While here, being the Internet user that I am, I noted:

Bandwidth is thin. There was enough mostly for email. Facebook and Twitter were far more problematic. I was able to use video like YouTube and Netflix rarely and with frequent stops. Any high bandwidth function was challenging.

Bandwidth was quickly eaten up. There were high use times where you could practically forget getting on.

Bandwidth was fragile. The first day I arrived, access to the Internet was out at our hotel and, inasmuch as I could learn, a large area around it. It took three days to restore it. I don’t know why but I didn’t see workers in the area until the third day. The upshot of these limits is: while communications with coworkers and partners are possible, the kind of communications we take for granted in areas of greater Internet deployment should not be taken for granted here.

Thick files, large videos, podcast audio, the cloud, and so on are difficult. They are not 24/7/365 near instant features of life. We should bear this in mind.



Download the language information in Joshua Project’s data set, and build a quick table of each language-in-country. There are about 7,000 languages in the world (e.g. English, Portuguese, Turkish, etc). There are 11,608 languages-in-countries (Turkish in Turkey, Turkish in Germany, Turkish in …).

Of those 11,608:

Languages with this many speakers People Groups speaking the language % Population of those groups % world Christians in those groups %
100,000,000 10 0% 2,864,760,350 36% 684,622,912 23.8%
10,000,000 103 1% 3,007,174,630 38% 896,622,638 29.8%
1,000,000 496 4% 1,400,916,990 18% 605,385,766 43.2%
100,000 1851 16% 571,928,280 7% 240,150,464 41.9%
10,000 3934 34% 140,575,820 2% 61,341,869 43.6%
1,000 3967 34% 16,185,940 0% 8,228,585 50.8%
- 1247 11% 629,500 0% 328,095 52.1%
Global total 11,608   8,002,171,510   2,496,680,330