Understanding Our Neighbors
Part of the Global Mission initiative has been the establishment of Global Mission Religious Study Centers, set up to provide training and materials for people who interact with believers (or nonbelievers, as the case may be) of the great faith traditions of the world: Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Secularism/Postmodernism.
Adherents to these religions typically live in the 10/40 window, where Christians are often a minority of the population. But because of immigration, adherents to these world religions are increasingly found in the so-called Christian countries of western Europe and North America.
“The 10/40 window is coming into the Western world,” says Ganoune Diop, director of the Global Mission Study Centers for the Office of Adventist Mission. “Our neighbors are often Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Secular/Postmodern. People from distant lands have now come to be our neighbors.”
Research indicates that in North America 35.6 percent of Buddhists, 22.7 percent of Hindus, and 67.8 percent of Muslims say they know any Christians (in Europe those numbers are 31.8 percent of Buddhists, 57.6 percent of Hindus, and 18.5 percent of Muslims). The conclusion: Many Christians are out of touch with the non-Christians in their communities. (Source: Todd M. Johnson and Charles L. Tieszen, “Personal Contact: The sine qua non of Twenty-first Century Christian Mission,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly, October 2007, p. 494.)
Obviously, foreign missionaries aren’t the only ones with a mission.
For more information about, or contact information for the five Global Mission Religious Study Centers, visit www.AdventistMission.org and click on “Global Mission” on the right side of the page.