It is a big milestone that our world reached just yesterday - at least officially. It is especially amazing when you consider that the world's population was 1.7 billion in 1900 and only 600 million in 1700! It is also a reminder of the challenge we have to reach an exploding world with the good news of Christ.
The corollary to the large numbers is that in our connected, globalized world, it is possible to reach more people more quickly than ever before. Our world is largely accessible today, something that was not true when I arrived in Hong Kong as a child with my parents in 1960. In the preglobalized world (then) the evangelization of the world looked like a daunting task. Travel was difficult and expensive, communication was slow and by letter and the gospel was not well known in many places.
Not only is the world far more accessible today but there are far more believers globally who can partner together in sharing the Gospel. It is those partnerships, I strongly believe, that are the key to seeing the Gospel expand rapidly. Churches and agencies in the west partnering with the global church to train church planters, pastors and missionaries and leveraging our various skills and strengths for a common cause. The majority world church is hungry for shared strategies and healthy partnerships to reach their own populations and beyond.
Many look at population growth and see coming disaster. I look at global growth and see opportunity for the expansion of heaven's population where every language, tribe, nation and people will be represented. We have the opportunity in our globalized world to see that population expand more quickly than ever before.