Church Planting in Europe

It is common knowledge that one of the most difficult areas of church planting in the world is the same turf that fostered the Protestant Reformation–Europe.  Nevertheless, the call of the Great Commission is to take the good news of Jesus Christ to all nations, make disciples, and plant churches in His name, no matter how apparently difficult the ground may be.  This past week I had a conversation with an IMB missionary who serves in a devoutly Muslim country where his decade of labors have produced two converts.  He informed me of a conversation with a missionary who served in Bangladesh for 38 years where he did not see one conversion in the first eleven years of his labors.  A couple of decades later, however, it is reported that over 300,000 Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ.  When we give in to the temptation to measure faithfulness to the mission on purely pragmatic scales, then we will also give in to the mindset that embraces the peoples who we perceive are most ready to receive the gospel.  This is where a theology-driven missiology makes all the difference.

When you believe the promise that Christ will redeem for Himself people from every nation, tongue, and tribe, then that promise does not afford us a license to think otherwise.  If, like David Livingstone, you are convinced that there are “other sheep” who will hear the voice of Jesus and will follow Him (John 10:16), then you can share the word of Christ with confidence that some will hear, repent, and believe.  Because the heart of a man is in the hand of the Lord (Prov. 21:1), because it is He that opens sinner’s hearts (Acts 16:14), and because it is God who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6)–then we should go to all men everywhere calling them to repent (Acts 17:30).  Standing on the solid foundation of the sovereign purposes of God, going forth with a resolute faith in the promises of God, and uncompromisingly declaring forth the powerful Word of God, missionaries driven by clear understanding of God and His gospel are theologically equipped to represent God as lights in a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15).

This leads me to some recent posts (here and here) by Ed Stetzer who has been traveling through Europe to meet with church planters to understand their vision and strategy in reaching the cities.  Rick White, pastor of City View Church (a jointly-affiliated Acts 29 and SBC church), is traveling with Stetzer and discussed how a missional strategy can reach the city of Krakow, Poland.  Trey Shaw, a Strategy Coordinator for Budapest, Hungary (see team blog), identifies the three greatest needs in northern Budapest: the arts, the business world, and the university.  Being “missional” and “Reformed,” Shaw recognizes these avenues or platforms as means for Christians to actively engage the lost  in Budapest.  The intentional and incarnational living out of the mission as seen through these church planters in Europe is something we can and should learn from here in the United States.

I encourage you to check out Stetzer’s blog to see how church planters are seeking to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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4 Comments on “Church Planting in Europe”

  1. Daniel Says:

    The notion of a “God” is a figment of your feable imagination.


  2. Daniel,

    Apparently you do not like what was written. A drive-by comment does not make your argument very convincing. Should you choose to comment in the future, I ask that you engage the substance of the article rather than set up your atheism signs on my front yard. Thanks.

  3. Daniel Smith Says:

    Tim,

    Great post. I pray that we all will take our ministries to the “tough” places. The problem is most of us do not want to be uncomfortable in these tough places. As I enjoy The Word of God, I realize that it is often in these tough places that He works through us. We tend to choose our own good deeds because it takes very little faith on our part. I pray that our great God continues to place us where we cannot rely on our flesh. I am not concerned about numbers, only that my God can say, “Well done.”

  4. Jerry Says:

    The first comment to this thread demonstrates the need to keep preaching the Gospel. There are lots of hard places, and even more hard hearts, that need to be impacted with the message of Christ.

    Even though we don’t know where Daniel lives, let’s assume for the sake of argument that he is in North America. He represents the fact that we can no longer delude ourselves into thinking that America is somehow Christianized. A look at Europe, as you have done here, shows us what we can expect in short order.

    Many Daniels, unfortunately, have never seen a real Christian, and joust against the American stereotype that many churchgoers present. Possibly as we see more of a great “falling away” it will become easier to present a coherent Christian witness to a lost and dying world.

    I am reminded of the Chinese pastor who told an American: “Please don’t pray for an end to our persecution. We are praying that you will enter into persecution so as to fully experience the power of God”.


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