According to U.S. religion demographer Dr. Todd Johnson, Brazil is second only to the U.S. in the exporting of missionaries-albeit distantly.
Johnson, who is director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass., said that in 2010, the U.S. sent abroad 127,000 of the world’s estimated 400,000 Christian missionaries. Brazil dispatched 34,000.
Statistics collected by the center, which analyzes data on church membership and proselytizing activities from denominations around the world, indicate that the U.S. is also the world’s largest importer of missionaries: it took in 32,400 in 2010. Many of these are Brazilian Roman Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostals working in northeast Brazilian communities, Johnson said.
The U.S.’s overseas missionary movement is thought to have begun in New England about 200 years ago when five newly minted Congregational missionaries were sent to India on cargo ships.