Jeff Sundell casts vision for Europe — 50 cities with seven teams each pursuing multiplying disciples and churches by 2025.
Some people see Muslim migration to Europe as a problem. For others it’s an opportunity to make disciples and plant churches. When persecution scattered the believers in Acts 8:1-4 they took the gospel with them to Antioch and multiplied disciples and churches.
As refugees and immigrants move into Europe, opportunities to reach Muslims are opening up.
Here’s a report from a worker somewhere in Greece:
We drove 554 km to another city to gather new and newer Muslim background believers and help them form into a church. We took them to scripture and defined who makes up the church, what does the church do activity-wise, where and when does the church meet, and what is the purpose of the church. We taught them how to choose elders in a local body of Christ via character and integrity, and then the church lays hands on them after fasting and prayer.
It was a great three days of training delving into the Word of God. The final day we modeled what a church does as we taught them about the Lord’s Supper, and they took the Lord’s Supper together for the first time as a church. We will be traveling back and forth to strengthen that church.
Soon many of them will be moving to new places, so we looked in the Bible at how churches planted churches in the New Testament. We challenged them that when they leave for another place in Europe, they are a dandelion church that will birth new churches by gospeling among Arabs, discipling them and gathering new churches; we expect them to make disciples who plant churches who plant churches.
We did this type of church formation training twice in the past months with the scattered believers; as Titus was sent to set in order the work that Paul had started, we have the opportunity to help gather these new believers into church and help train their leaders regularly. We have started a long-term discipleship and leadership training that go hand-in-hand. Disciples study 30 stories from creation to Christ, and the leaders study the same 30 stories but are taught how to use an inductive Bible study method so they can train their new believers in their churches.
Don’t get lost in the missional fog. This is the core missionary task—gospel, disciples and new churches from where you are, to the ends of the earth, until Jesus returns.
Find someone who has fresh stories like these. Get them to train you. Go make disciples.
According to Pew Research:
The United States has a religious makeup that’s broadly similar to that of many Western European countries. Most people on both sides of the Atlantic say they are Christian, for example. At the same time, substantial shares in the U.S. and Europe say they are religiously unaffiliated: Roughly a quarter of the American adult population identify as “nones” (23%), similar to the shares in Germany (24%), the United Kingdom (23%) and other Western European countries.
At that point, however, the similarities end: U.S. adults – both Christian and unaffiliated – are considerably more religious than their European counterparts by a variety of other measures, according to an analysis of data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study in the U.S. and a 2017 survey of Western Europeans. For instance, about two-thirds of U.S. Christians pray daily (68%), compared with a median of just 18% of Christians across 15 surveyed countries in Europe, including 6% in Britain, 9% in Germany, 12% in Denmark and 38% in the Netherlands.
Similarly, 27% of religious “nones” in the U.S. – those who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – believe in God with absolute certainty. Across the surveyed nations in Western Europe, however, the share of religiously unaffiliated who believe in God with absolute certainty ranges from just 1% in Austria, France, Germany and the UK to 12% in Portugal, with a regional median of 3%.
At the other end of the spectrum, Americans are much less likely than Western Europeans to say they do not believe in a higher power of any kind (10% vs. a median of 26%).
U.S. adults are also much more likely than Europeans to believe in three traits that are commonly associated with Christian notions of God: that God “loves all people regardless of their faults,” “knows everything that goes on in the world,” and “has the power to direct or change everything that goes on in the world.” About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say that God is all-powerful, for instance, while the median in Western Europe on this question is 25%. And in Denmark and Sweden, only 13% of adults say this.
5 key findings from a report to Catholic Bishops into the faith of young adults in Europe:
- The proportion of young adults (16-29) with no religious affiliation (‘nones’) is as high as 91% in the Czech Republic, 80% in Estonia, and 75% in Sweden. These compare to only 1% in Israel, 17% in Poland, and 25% in Lithuania. In the UK and France, the proportions are 70% and 64% respectively.
- 70% of Czech young adults – and c. 60% of Spanish, Dutch, British, and Belgian ones – ‘never’ attend religious services. Meanwhile, 80% of Czech young adults and c. 70% of Swedish, Danish, Estonian, Dutch, French and Norwegian ones ‘never’ pray.
- Catholics make up 82% of Polish, 71% of Lithuanian, 55% of Slovenian, and 54% of Irish 16-29 year-olds. In France, it is 23%; in the UK, 10%.
- Only 2% of Catholic young adults in Belgium, 3% in Hungary and Austria, 5% in Lithuania, and 6% in Germany say they attend Mass weekly. This contrasts sharply with their peers in Poland (47%), Portugal (27%), the Czech Republic (24%), and Ireland (24%). Weekly Mass attendance is 7% among French, and 17% among British, Catholic young adults.
- Only 26% of French young adults, and 21% British ones, identify as Christians. Only 7% of young adults in the UK identify as Anglicans, compared to 6% as Muslims. In France, 2% identify as Protestants, and 10% as Muslims.
All over the world refugees and migrants are on the move. Will Burnham reports in from Athens on how people on the move are turning and putting their faith in Christ and learning to follow him as disciples in newly planted churches.