The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary calculates that Christians sent out approximately 400,000 international missionaries in 2010. And nearly half of the world’s top missionary-sending countries are now located in the global South.
Of the ten countries sending the most missionaries in 2010, three were in the global South: Brazil, South Korea, and India.”
The United States still tops the chart by far in terms of total missionaries, sending 127,000 in 2010 compared to the 34,000 sent by No. 2-ranked Brazil.
But examine the data differently—in terms of missionaries sent per million church members—and Palestine comes out on top at 3,401 sent, followed by Ireland, Malta, and Samoa. (South Korea ranks No. 5 at 1,014 missionaries sent per million church members).
Most missionaries continue to go to mostly Christian nations. “The ‘top nine’ receiving countries were home to only 3.5% of the world’s non-Christians but received more than 34% of all international missionaries. All nine have Christian majorities, and they were home to over 34% of the world’s Christians in 2010.
73% of all non-Christians nations globally received only 9% of all international missionaries, the lion’s share are in China, India, and Nigeria, where large numbers of home missionaries also work among non-Christians.
The country that received the most missionaries in 2010? The United States, with 32,400 sent from other nations.
Samoa received more than one missionary for every three non-Christians.
The CSGC also estimates that in just seven years, more than 9 in 10 people in the world will be religious, up 2 percent over similar data collected in 2010. It predicts that Christianity will be only the fifth-fastest growing religion in the world, coming in behind the Baha’i faith, Islam, Sikhism, and Jainism.