Sunday, November 29, 2009
Asia accounts for 60 % of world total population, but only 8 % of world’s Christians live in Asia (2006 numbers).
For many decades and centuries Christianity was perceived in Asia as a product of western culture and civilization. Asians perceive Christianity as an "alien" religion, even though "Jesus was born in Asia."
But the face of Christianity is changing in this continent and this is because of South Korea. Christianity arrived first to Korea in the 1784 when the first Catholic prayer-house was established in Korea. Protestantism followed in 1884, but growth of both was slow until the middle of the twentieth century.
Until 1960 only around 5 % of Koreans were Christians. Nowadays more than 50 % are Christians making it for sure the first religion in this country before Buddhism (the number varies due to the confusion between religion and traditions , many Christians in Korea still practice their ancestral Buddhist traditions and many Koreans don’t declare their religion). Christianity in Korea is the fastest growing religion. It is mainly protestant, but Roman Catholicism is also growing so fast.
Another face of Korean Christianity is the missionaries. Korea is the second country in the world in Evangelization after the US, sending alone 16 500 missionaries in 173 countries around the globe, of them 126 persons have died while accomplishing their missions! (Source: Korean World Mission Association KWMA). South Korea sends more than 1,100 new missionaries annually. That means Korea alone sends out as many new missionaries each year as all of the countries of the West combined.
Mission experts estimate that 1.8 billion individuals in thousands of ethnic groups remain unexposed to the gospel. South Korean missionaries, in particular, are pioneering projects and methods to spread the gospel in these areas. Korea sends 34 percent of its missionaries to unreached peoples; the international average is around 10 percent.
Christians in South Korea see their missionaries as uniquely positioned to bridge the divide between the wealthy West and majority-world nations. Moreover Korean missionaries often target dangerous countries in the word such as Chechnya, Iraq (On May 30, 2004, terrorists in Iraq linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi kidnapped Kim Sun Il, a Korean interpreter. He was executed on the 22nd of June)and Afghanistan (in 2007 23 South Korean evangelists have been kidnapped by Taliban in Afghanistan).
Korean World Mission Association (KWMA) plans to send 100,000 full-time Korean missionaries by 2030. They hope to mobilize 50 percent of Korean churches to be involved in missions, recruit 1 of every 300 Korean Christians to become missionaries, adopt 200 unreached people groups every five years, and send 1 million tentmakers into difficult-access countries by 2020. (source Christianity Today : Mission Incredible).
In conclusion , Christianity is South Korea is in a continuous progress and the future of evangelization and Christianity in the world depend much on the Korean brave missionaries.
More Info : History of Christianity in Korea
Christianity in Korea
Korean world mission association