Why Europe? The most reached and the least evangelical continent.

Occasionally we get questions about why we are serving in Germany.   “They already have the gospel,” say some.  Others say,”Wow, it’s like being on vacation year round.”  Although we enjoy the richness of history and beauty we live in, we aren’t here for that.  In fact, living only 20 minutes from Switzerland and France, we have been so busy (or sick) that we have seen very little of the typical attractions in our area.

cow mountains

We are here because God led us here.

We are here because we already had learned German.

We are here to build bridges between the Germans and N. Americans in our area.

We are here to establish relationships and friendships with those around us showing love and grace in all we do.

Click on this link to get a well-informed article on the importance of missions work in Europe.

Europe is the hardest country to raise support for as many do not see it is a legitimate mission field.

In fact,  few months ago, we found out that we were losing one of our supporters due to the location of our ministry.  We were no longer in alignment with the vision this supporter had of reaching the unreached.  In other words, we were not living and working within the 10/40 window.  For those who do not know, the 10/40 window refers to a geographical location where the majority of the unreached people live in the world.  Missionaries going to these locations (that are exotic and often challenging places to live) usually have a fairly easy time to raise support.  In fact, a friend of ours serving in the 10/40 window  (whose support budget was double ours) said that they never struggled in support raising and usually had a surplus in their budget.

500px-40_Window_world_map

The history of Christianity is evidenced by the steeples that tower over the houses in most villages.  The church is everywhere, do people here really need missionaries?

Although Europe may be the “least unreached,” Europe is the “least evangelical.”  The following chart shows the percentage of evangelicals in different continents in the world.

Europe                       4% evangelical

Asia                             6% evangelical

North America           13% evangelical

South America           27% evangelical

Africa                          25% evangelical

(taken from Olson–US, OW–Rest).

Here’s some more information about why missionaries are so important in Europe and some disturbing trends that are occurring.

The following information was taken from a longer article called:
“Why Invest in Europe?”

God used John Wesley 270 years ago to start a spiritual awakening. The Great Awakening in England, from 1740 to 1850, provides an uncanny historical parallel for the Developing World‟s evangelicalism from 1900 to 2000, and it also helps us to understand Europe‟s current condition.

Wesley did not prepare the church for the intellectual challenges that eventually destroyed it. His focus was on popular evangelism, spiritual growth for believers, and cultural change.  But he neglected to prepare the English church for three devastating intellectual earthquakes:

  1. Enlightenment philosophy
  2. Skeptical biblical criticism
  3. Darwinian naturalism

The basic worldview convictions of evangelicals who were being educated in these academic centers of Enlightenment thought were undermined. This process subtly pushes believers toward the untenable position of having one foot on their Christian worldview with the other foot on the Enlightenment worldview – with the two slowly being pulled apart. In this situation believers felt a cognitive dissonance and as a result were tempted to accept one of these alternatives:

a)      Convert to agnosticism.

b)      Adopt much of the Enlightenment‟s worldview, but seek to retain Christian terminology in what came to be called „liberal    theology‟.

c)      Retreat into a fidelism, or privatized faith, and reject the idea that Christians are called to persuasively communicate why the Gospel is true.

All three of these occurred. Many Christians became agnostics, others became liberals seeking to keep the Christian language, but without its historic content, and those who remained orthodox often withdrew from the world in pietistic huddles in their attempts to remain faithful. As a result, all the English church denominations have been declining over the last 150 years.

In short, the English evangelical church failed in these critical areas:

  • Doing the difficult work of building intellectual leaders (spiritual oak trees) to protect the evangelical laity (spiritual ivy) from the storm of unbelief.
  • Developing an adequate apologetic response to the intellectual challenges.
  • Loving God by mentoring the most academically gifted younger believers to develop their callings as faithful Christian researchers, teachers and writers.

 Europe is a critical mission field because of the following:

  1. Europe is the intellectual center of the world.
  2. Europe is the leading educator of the rest of the world.
  3. The fastest-growing religion in the world (Unbelief) comes from Europe.
  4. Europe is the place where the global battle for the Gospel is being fought.

The growth of unbelief (atheism and agnosticism) is the fastest-growing religion in the 20th century. In 1900, atheism had approximately 225,000 adherents worldwide, and 90 percent of them lived in Europe. By 2000 this small group had grown to more than 150 million worldwide – but only 18 percent of these unbelievers live in Europe. What started as a European intellectual movement has become a worldwide tidal wave.

Leaders of the church in Europe and around the world, need to pray for and work to raise up the next generation of European evangelical leaders who will confidently live their faith, communicate the Gospel with power and conviction, faithfully lead evangelical churches, schools, denominations and organizations, and give their very lives for the Gospel. This European movement is desperately needed for Europe and for the world.

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