Report on Global Trend in Church Planting

February 16, 2023

Over the last century, the face of Christianity has radically changed. The past five hundred years of church history has often focused on European churches and their descendants. Yet as historian Philip Jenkins has noted, the last one hundred years has seen a new shift in the center of gravity for the Christian movement southward to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.1

The 21st century gave rise to over 420,000 missionaries, only 12-15 percent of which were from the West.2 To better understand this phenomenon, consider the following statistics. In 1910, about two-thirds of the world’s Christians lived in Europe, where the bulk of Christians had been for a millennium.

Today, about one in every four Christians lives in sub-Saharan Africa (24%), and about one-in-eight is found in Asia and the Pacific (13%). The number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010. More than 1.3 billion Christians live in the Global South (61%), compared with about 860 million in the Global North (39%).3

The result is church planting has become a global phenomenon that crosses cultural, linguistic, and geographic boundaries around the world.

The result is church planting has become a global phenomenon that crosses cultural, linguistic, and geographic boundaries around the world.

Research Project

There is a lot we can learn from the global church by looking at what God is doing through church planting. Our research team conducted several small scale research projects between 2021-2022 to examine trends in global church planters. The research approach was a qualitative study in three phases, using mixed methods as follows:

Phase I. Case Studies from a global summit of that gathered more than sixty church planters representing twenty countries to hear case studies, keynote presentations, and first-hand reports of how faithful women and men are being used to start new faith communities. There were presentations from Southeast Asia, East Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, North America, Latin America and the Middle East. Case study presenters include, Kenya; Denmark; Singapore; Brazil; Japan; Fiji; Beirut, Lebanon; and the United States.

Phase II. Questionnaire/Interviews: an open-ended questionnaire was emailed to 2,137 church planters from different countries to gain insight into common themes and trends in global church planting.

Phase II. Focus Group: Conducted focus groups with 26 Church Planting Network and denominational leaders.  Here is a brief overview of the results of the research.

Demographics Location

  • 55% from North America
  • 45% International (not NA)
    • 17% Africa
    • 12% Asia
    • 6% Europe
    • 2% Latin America
    • 1% Middle East
    • 4% Oceania
    • 4% Other

Report on Global Trend in Church Planting Table

Major Themes From the Research

  1. The church is in a season of major transition.
  2. New wineskins of church are emerging.
  3. Discipleship is a major issue that needs to be prioritized.
  4. The church must become contextually relevant.
  5. The church is being called to a season of prayer.
  6. People are hungry for community after the pandemic.
  7. There is a shift from church planting to church multiplication.
  8. There is a rise in micro-churches.

1 See Phillip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). A helpful short introduction to the rise of global Christianity is Lamin Sanneh, Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003).

2 See Timothy Tennent, Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2010) 31.


Winfield Bevins

Winfield Bevins

Winfield Bevins is the Director of Church Planting at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has trained leaders from around the world and frequently speaks at conferences, churches, and seminaries on a variety of topics. He is the author of several books including Marks of a Movement and Healthy Rhythms for Leaders. He is the co-founder of Missional Formation Coaching, which is designed to help leaders thrive by promoting healthy rhythms that connect spiritual and missional practices. You can connect with him at and on twitter @winfieldbevins.
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