Reaching Europe

by Adi Harris

 


Europe is no longer the great sending force of world mission it once was, and evangelical believers in Europe are now outnumbered by the former receiving countries in the Global South. We must come to terms with the stark reality that Europe is the spiritually dark continent of our world.

 

- 18 out of 47 European countries have less than 1% evangelical Christians (UK 8%).

- Out of 47 European countries, only two have a higher percentage of evangelical Christians, per head of population, than the UK (the Faroes and Finland).

- Europe has an evangelical population of only 2.5% (Africa 17.7%, Latin America 16.7%, Asia 3.5%).

- There are now ten evangelical believers in Africa for every one in Europe (182 million to 18.3 million).

- Evangelical believers in the Global South (including Asia) now outnumber the Global North (Europe and North America) by a factor of four to one (421m to 102m).1

 

Parts of Europe are among the least evangelised areas of the world. With more than 700 million of our European neighbours without Christ, surely this is one of the unfinished tasks. This vast mission field is accessible; borders are open, cultures are relatively similar to ours and all of it is just an easy plane journey away. 

MISSION TEAMS

GLO Europe are working to send labourers into the European harvest field and our vision is to 'grow mission-focused churches throughout Europe'. One of the ways we contribute to achieving this goal is by sending short-term mission teams, to work with GLO resident teams, mission workers and church planters. Almost 800 teams and 7,000 team members have been to 24 different countries in Europe in our first 40 years!

 

Last year a total of 150 people served on 19 summer teams. Of the 150, about 50 were new to GLO teams. Each team had 6-12 team members, along with a team leader who was responsible for the Bible teaching and devotions. All teams were invited by a local church, with our primary objective being to serve and support these local churches in their outreach to the local community.

 

Our desire is also to motivate people in mission, exposing them to the joys and challenges of cross-cultural, front-line evangelism. Our prayer is that team members will become the next generation of church planters, evangelists and mission workers in Europe.

 

CHURCH STRENGTHENING

Last summer saw new opportunities in Iceland and Norway. For the first time, we sent two small pioneering teams to support and encourage churches in these countries.

 

In Norway, the programme involved some great opportunities to work with children and families, and develop new contacts in the community.

 

 

The team to Iceland worked with a very small church in Akureyri. Iceland is a country of only 12,000 evangelical believers. Kristín Gerðalíð, a former Tilsley College student, had a burden for a new outreach to the community, and to begin work among children and youth.

 

CHURCH PLANTING

In October, I had the opportunity to join a mission team to Aix-en-Provence, a city which is the location for an exciting new church-planting venture led by Philippe and Marie-Christine Perrilliat (national workers), and Brad and Catherine Dickson (Canada). They have assembled a new team of young church planters, who have moved to the city with a view to establishing a church, focusing on outreach to the 30,000 university students. The team meets in a restaurant where they conduct English language classes, international nights, conferences andDiscovering Christianitycourses. During the week of mission, 5,000 invitations were distributed to students and hours of conversation took place in the Parc Jourdon, where graffiti, live painting, gospel music and free tea and coffee attracted a great crowd.

 

RESIDENT TEAMS

Resident GLO teams located in Albania, Belgium, France, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Romania and Scotland, regularly host GLO summer outreach. Mike and Alison Packer welcomed another team to Laval, France, and described their memories of the week as being hours of distribution, street evangelism, worship, prayer, laughter, madness and growing in faith. The week's theme wasOsons Semer Ensemble(Dare to Sow Together), emphasising strength in unity.

 

 

Another team joined Patrizio and Jennifer Zucchetto in Naples. The church has embarked on an ambitious project to reach all of the 119 towns and villages in the neighbouring province of Avellino with the gospel. This covers a population of 430,000, but most have no gospel church or witness. This year every home, in another six towns, received a copy of John's Gospel. So far a total of 30 towns have been targeted and Patrizio has a burden to see this task completed within the next five years.

 

WORLD MISSION

One of our most popular international teams has been led for the last 12 years by Allison Hill (UK), to the Moshi Christian Children's Centre in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Here, the team works with the established national leadership and staff at the Children's Centre. They conduct two weeks of outreach in the surrounding community. Last year, almost 100 children and youths attended the two camps. Allison reported that the team was privileged to lead seven children to Christ, and to see other Christian young people grow and mature in faith.

 

2015 TEAMS

We are currently preparing a programme of summer teams for 2015 when, with God's help, we hope to send 20 teams to Continental Europe and the UK. Along with regular teams to Enniscorthy, Johnstone, Newcastle and Renfrew, there are opportunities in Belgium and Hungary. We pray that recent opportunities in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia will continue to grow, and we hope to build on the pioneering work in Avellino, Italy, and Aix-en-Provence, France.

 

Why not consider joining us next summer in the great 'unfinished task' of mission to Europe? Come and experience the joy of Kingdom building that only harvesters, labouring together in the Master's field, can know:www.glo-europe.org

 

Thank you for continuing to pray for and with us.

 

1. Statistics from,Operation World(2010 edition), Jason Mandryk

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