(written for CBSI Europe newsletter)
The question often comes up, “Why is Europe a mission field?” After all, they have many churches and beautiful cathedrals. Pondering the question causes me to entertain several thoughts. Mission strategists have for the last twenty-five years helped us to focus attention on the 10/40 Window, or that part of the globe that is largely dominated by Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The motivation for giving attention to that part of the world was to challenge us to address the need for evangelism and church planting among “unreached people groups”. That’s a good thing. However, Europe is mostly out of that window. While the 10/40 Window is important, so is Europe. The truth is Europe today is far from being Christian. Actually, Europe is the least evangelized continent in the world.
I suggest a different definition for “unreached people groups”. It seems to me the better definition is one that asks, “Who is furthest from the gospel?” The peoples of Europe today are ones who know little about Jesus Christ, little about his Word – if anything at all. An interesting fact is that some of the largest churches in Europe today are ones that are immigrants from Africa and Asia.
Likely, you’ve heard it said that Europe today is post Christian. By that people usually mean there has been a move away from the faith of their parents and lack of interest in spiritual things. My experience in Europe after living there for fourteen plus years and working among them for more than twenty years, is that Europe is “pre Christian.” By saying it that way I am emphasizing that Europeans and the peoples of Europe (there are myriads of immigrants in Europe too), no longer have a Christian framework, a Christian value system and don’t know of Jesus Christ or His intention to have a personal relationship with them.
CBSI exists to empower the peoples of Europe. We do not seek to send out missionaries, as other mission agencies do. Our mandate is quite different. We want to raise up national leaders who understand and embrace the Great Commission for themselves and thus participate in reaching unreached peoples in Europe. Our unique approach is to establish communities of faith where people can experience and encounter the living Christ through the study of His Word and interaction with others of like faith.
In Acts 17, Luke records the vision of Paul of the man from Macedonia who said, “come over to Macedonia and help us”, concluding, “God had called us to preach the Gospel to them.” With this intervention by the Holy Spirit in the direction of Paul’s life, the Gospel went west, to the Roman world, not east as Paul had planned. Europe was on God’s heart a long time ago. I’m convinced Europe still is on God’s heart and in His time we will see new things. “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days – you would not believe even if you were told.” Hab 1:5
So we invest in Europe as we wait for the harvest. Europe deserves our attention as much as any place in the world. Wherever there are people there is a need for spiritual input. Please consider joining us in prayer and financial support to resource the growing ministry in Europe to the peoples of Europe.