Europe ~ God is at work
EUROPE HAS frequently been described as a ‘mission field’. This is hard to argue against! Of the major global regions of the world, Europe has the least number of Evangelicals by a long shot! The continent that provided the mission force of two hundred years ago, that took the Gospel throughout the world, is itself in need of missionaries today.
Two bright lights loom large. Firstly, a younger generation is finding spiritual reality outside of the older established State churches. These young people demonstrate vibrancy and increasingly, a vision for mission. Secondly, the ‘new Europeans’ – the migrants, who now comprise some 48 per cent of Christian churches, are providing strong leadership in mission passion and commitment.
Europe as a mission field also needs some explanation. Over recent generations, migrants from Africa and Asia, in particular, have poured into Europe, making Europe their new home. Europe is currently home to more than 320 unreached peoples, comprising some 22 million individuals. Europe is both a mission field and a mission force!
Recently, we held our Europe (Kairos) Advance with key leaders from many countries of Europe. Although this gathering lacked the vibrancy and energy of similar gatherings in Africa and Asia, there was much to be encouraged by. Kairos can play a huge role in seeing the increasingly vibrant churches of Europe catch the vision for mission that now exists on their doorstep.
Following this gathering, which was held in Budapest, I travelled to Romania to spend time with the Kairos family there. Romania, perhaps, is the mobilisation hot spot for mission in Europe, certainly Eastern Europe. Romanian believers, especially this young generation, are catching the vision for world mission. One agency now has more than fifty young missionaries serving in many frontier fields of the world.
God is not done with Europe yet! The Europe of two hundred years ago has changed forever but a new Europe is emerging – one in which the Church is destined to play a major role. Not as part of the political system, as it has in the past but in advancing Christ’s kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! It won’t be separate to society but, like leaven, will permeate every facet of society and the multitudes of peoples who now comprise the new Europe!
Max Chismon is the International Director of Simply Mobilizing. He works with an international leadership team in overseeing the work of Simply Mobilizing in over eighty countries worldwide.
He and his wife, Dorothy, are from New Zealand, but have been based in the Philippines since the late 1970s. They have two grown-up children (both born in the Philippines) and five grandchildren.