There are about 2.5 billion people in the world who identify as Christians – that’s a big number (while, of course, not everyone who self-identifies as a Christian is actually one). So big, it can be hard to conceptualize. But 100 is different. You’ve probably been in a room with 100 people. You can probably list 100 people by name. What if those 100 people represented all the beauty and diversity of World Christianity?
If 100 Christians represented all of global Christianity, 67 would live in Asia, Africa, Latin America or Oceania, while 33 would live in Europe or Northern America. Most would be found in urban areas (65) as opposed to rural (35). Sixteen would speak Spanish as their mother tongue, 10 English, 8 Portuguese, 5 Russian and 3 Mandarin Chinese. Most (64) would be between the ages of 15–64, while 26 would be under 15. Eleven Christians would be illiterate, and 35 would have little to no access to secondary education. Only just over half of Christians would have access to the internet. Fourteen would have no access to safe water, and five would have malaria. Most Christians (79) would live in countries with moderate to high corruption; 35 would live in countries with low development. A typical Christian today is a non-white woman living in the global South, with lower-than-average levels of societal safety and proper health care. This represents a vastly different typical Christian than that of 100 years ago, who was likely a white, affluent European.
Wow! Some of the figures are shocking—many Christians have hard lives. Some are probably surprising to you, because we tend to assume that ‘most people’ are just like us. But in fact, most Christians around the world are different to us in numerous ways. However, what unifies us is more important. It’s not ultimately what language we speak or colour of our skin or gender or material wealth or formal education etc.: it’s Christ; it’s the gospel; it’s the Scriptures; it’s our fellowship together; it’s our common eternal destiny (& more). So, let’s pray for the (real) Church.
Go to https://www.gordonconwell.edu/blog/100christians/ for a much larger copy of this excellent graphic that shows the above numbers and many more.