The Story: According to a news report by Reuters, the United States sends—-and receives—-more Christian missionaries abroad than any other country on the planet.

The Background: According to Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in 2010 the U.S. sent out one out of every four missionaries—-127,000 of the world’s estimated 400,000 missionaries. In distant second place is Brazil, which sent 34,000 missionaries abroad.

The U.S. receives the most missionaries as well, says Johnson, with 32,400 in 2010. Many are Brazilians largely working in Brazilian communities in the Northeast.

Why It Matters: Missionaries today tend to work independently or through organizations not affiliated with churches that traditionally ran missionary agencies, adds Johnson. And their work may be focused on providing humanitarian aid rather than founding churches and winning converts.

Some mission groups question whether to send missionaries to developing countries at all, Johnson said. “There are still streams within Christian missions that are suspicious of all preaching, or suspicious of all social action.”

While the U.S. is blessed to be able to send so many missionaries across the globe, having so many come from one country could be viewed as an attempt at American cultural hegemony. We should pray that God will raise up mission workers from across the world—-and continue to send them to help us in the task of sharing the Gospel in North America.