Lifeway Research releases seven encouraging trends in modern evangelicalism

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


A recent report from Christian research group Lifeway revealed seven trends among contemporary evangelical Christians and the evangelical movement that should be an encouragement to believers.

Released on Jan. 31, the report highlights seven ways Christians can be encouraged about the statues of the Church in the world, even in the midst of persecution from outside the church and a crumbling of theological strength and fidelity within. The report is based on findings in the Status of Global Christianity in 2022, released by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

The first trend is that the popularity of religious faith as a whole seems to be growing more than that of non-religion. Religious numbers are growing at 1.27%, compared to only a 0.52% growth rate among the nonreligious.

The second trend is that Christianity in particular is growing, currently a rate of 1.17%. The finding predicts that over 3 billion people in the world will claim the name of Christ by the year 2050.

The third trend highlights Christianity’s growth in the southern hemisphere. Historically, Christianity was most popular in Europe, especially in the Middle Ages and early modern world, as well as the North American continent after the age of exploration. Now, there are more Christians in Africa and Asia (1.1 billion) than Europe and North America (838 million).

The fourth trend speaks to Christianity’s growth in breadth. The gospel is growing steadily in regions that are anti-Christian. The poll predicts that by 2015, over half of all Christians in the world will live in a country where Christianity is not the dominant faith.

The fifth speaks to growing possibilities for evangelism among pagans, as more non-believers are coming into contact with believers. The number of non-believers who know at least one Christian has risen from just over 5% in 1900 to over 18% in 2022.

The sixth trend focuses on the accessibility of the Bible. In 2022, the study predicts that 93 million Bibles will be printed, almost doubling the number from 2000 (54 million).

The final trend shows that the number of Christians being killed for their faith is decreasing. Some may wonder if this is indeed a positive trend, as the Church has historically thrived when under immense fire and sometimes decayed when protected. But the poll highlights the fact that is good news, since fewer deaths means more of an opportunity for faithful pastors and evangelists to remain in the fight. It also could be a sign of hearts softening to the truth of the gospel.

Christians should be both encouraged and also on even greater alert, knowing that the Lord is coming soon but our work is not yet done. Let us always remember to pray for believers throughout the world, and also always be ready to give a defense for the gospel, as the Apostle Peter tells us in his first epistle:

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.  – 1 Peter 3:15