The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Tom Knox


General Director of the Church of God World Missions

Served as the First Assistant General Overseer (2008-2012) at the International Offices of the Church of God

Served as the Second Assistant General Overseer (2006-2008)

Secretary General (2004-2006) of the Executive Committee

Chairman of the Executive Council of the Church of God and as Administrative Bishop for the Church of God in Southern Ohio (1999-2004) and Oklahoma (1996-1999)

Author, Beyond the Mist (Tim Hill Ministries, 2010)

Previously served as senior pastor of Riveroak Church of God in Danville, VA

Graduate of Lee University, Cleveland, TN,

Doctorate in Ministry from Church of God Theological Seminary

Married to Paula, 3 daughters, 2 grandchildren



Noted Theologian on the State of Christianity Worldwide

The 700 Club

Tim says the focus of world missions is on unreached peoples. Unreached people can be defined as a group of people that speak a common language and share a common culture.  They think of themselves as “us” and they do not have among them enough Christians to evangelize the group, typically less than 2%, if any.   Demographers have identified almost 17,000 distinct people groups around the globe and nearly 7,000 of these groups are considered “unreached.” This is around 2.8 billion people. The church’s missions task is far from done.  Among the best resources for getting involved with unreached peoples are the Joshua Project, Adopt-a-People Foundation, and Aims Foundation.

Missions have become less Western-oriented and much more Southern-oriented. In years past, most missionaries came from Europe and North America. Now the movement is toward more missionaries being sent from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. If trends continue, South Korea will soon be sending more missionaries than the United States.  The trend of missions is investing more of its funds in leadership development. In any area where growth is happening and the church is maturing, it is the result of a strong, well-prepared leader.

Because of the global economy, Tim says world missions are now different with much belt-tightening.  Because of global financial situations, less income is available to mission-sending agencies.  Now in the West, there are more short-term missions. There is a shift to reach those in the “4/14 Window” which are children from ages 4-14.  Tim says this is a hot demographic that is mushrooming in growth.      
Here are trends Tim is seeing.  Most of the statistics are from Pew Research Center; Barna Research and Joshua Project.  The rate of overall global population growth is 1.2 % a year. In terms of religion:

            Buddhism is growing at 1.3%.
            Hinduism is growing at 1.2%.
            Islam is growing at 1.9%.
            Christianity is growing at 1.2%.
            Evangelical Christianity is growing at 2.6%

The world’s population is slightly over 7 billion. Of that number, approximately one-third are Christians (of all kinds, e.g., Catholic, Orthodox, etc). In 1960, 3 percent of the world was comprised of evangelical Christians; by 2012, that percentage had grown to 8 percent. Evangelicals are growing in a healthy manner, 2.6%.

The downside of these figures is that 86% of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and tribal peoples do not know one single Christian. That number mounts up to 41% of the world, or 2.8 billion, who have not heard the gospel of Christ and who will not hear unless an outsider goes to them.  

Here is some data compiled about Christianity in the U.S.:
1) A great majority of Christians are biblically and theologically illiterate; they profess to be believers, but they know little of the faith they claim.

2) Christians are more ingrown and private, and they are not interested in any kind of outreach. This is a change from past years.

3) Many Christians, especially “Millennials” (those born between 1983 and 2002) are more interested in social justice and social service than earlier generations.

4) Christians have been negatively affected by the secular movement toward “tolerance,” until many do not have strong standards of belief and behavior, i.e., they believe people have a right to do what they want to do, without outside restrictions.

5) There does not seem to be much visible influence on the world by the teachings and practices of Christian churches.

Here are more statistics about the U.S. Christian population in general: 
1) 75% of adults in the U.S. say they have been influenced negatively by the economy, and they do not anticipate an upswing in the near future.

2) 84% of Millennials say they make no connection between the Bible and their lives.

3) “Digital addiction” is a new phenomenon that has been identified by psychiatrists. Teens and young adults average 60 hours a week engaged with some kind of media. This will have long-term effects.

4) Christians self-identify as not being committed. Only 20% claim that they consider themselves “committed” to their faith.

Over the last few years, Tim has been the General Director of the World Missions for the Church of God (COG).  In the last six months he has been to 12 nations and the last country he visited was India.  Now he is preparing to go to Cambodia where the Church of God is going to build a city in Phnom Penh with a water system, housing, etc. 

Tim also says COG churches are planting churches around the world every six hours.    Their work efforts are strong, complete with establishing Bible schools, etc.  The Church of God has congregations in 177 countries and territories with almost 6 million members. Although they have many missionaries, the leaders in most countries are nationals.  In Indonesia, the Church of God is twice the numerical size of the church in the United States. Several churches have thousands of members, one with more than 100,000.  In Guatemala, total adult membership exceeds the membership of the total members in the six largest states of the U.S.  In Bolivia, where COG had only 42 churches in 2010, it has started 30 new churches, and they are still planting churches there.

COG also reaches out to about 5,500 children in 120 orphanages around the world.  Marcelly’s Dream is one of COG’s ministries that reaches out to orphans.  Marcelly Thompson, the seven-year-old adopted daughter of one of their missionary couples to Brazil, is the inspiration for this ministry.  She dreamed she saw Jesus telling her she would be bringing the Gospel to the children of Africa.  Parts of the outreach are to put a Bible in the hand of every orphan as well as dig wells of clean, safe water; build walls to protect these areas, and offer wellness programs in the orphanages.

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