Christian migrants from South America, Asia and Africa are boosting evangelism in Europe - report

(Photo: Unsplash/Nycholas Benaia)

Migrant Christians from South America, Asia and Africa are boosting evangelism in Europe, according to a new report from European Christian Mission (ECM).

'Europe 2021 – A Missiological Report' is authored by Jim Memory, a member of the ECM international leadership team and lecturer in European mission at All Nations Christian College.

He writes: "Europe is perhaps the greatest challenge in world mission today. Most Europeans appear to have been inoculated against the gospel by the vaccine of cultural Christianity.

"However, I believe the weakness of the Church is also God's opportunity. More than ever before, European Christians are collaborating, networking, and planting churches together, and into that mix, God has brought the vitality of Christians from the Majority World." 

Latin-American migrants, he observes, have planted thousands of churches in Spain, Portugal and elsewhere over the last thirty years.

"It is difficult to find a major European city that does not have a large Spanish speaking and/or Brazilian congregation," he writes.

And similarly, Chinese churches "can be found almost everywhere".

"The Chinese Overseas Christian Mission lists over 120 Chinese-speaking congregations in the UK and a further 150 in the rest of Europe, though that is certainly only a fraction of the actual churches that exist," says Memory.

However, the report says that it is the Black African churches that are the "most numerous", with thousands of African-initiated Pentecostal churches in Britain alone.

According to the report, the Redeemed Christian Church of God has over 750 congregations today and is planting around 25 new churches in Britain every year. More churches belong to the Church of Pentecost, Christ Embassy and Christ Apostolic Tabernacle.

"If you have an African population in your city, there will almost certainly be an African diaspora church, even if you are not aware of it," says Memory. 

In its section on 'The Spiritual Context', the report outlines the challenging context for mission in light of the de-Christianisation of Europe over the last half millennium. 

"In many ways, Christianity is what made Europe Europe. No other continent has been exposed to Christianity for such a prolonged period and in such an extensive way. Yet just as Europe was the first continent to be Christianised, it was also the first to be de-Christianised," the report reads.

"Of course, some parts of Africa and Asia saw Christianity become dominant and then lose that dominance to Islam long before any European country became thoroughly evangelised.

"The difference is, whereas during the first 1500 years of Christian history, de-Christianisation was the result of the loss of 'Christian lands' to invaders, the de-Christianisation of Europe over the last 500 years has occurred from within."

'Europe 2021' concludes with a word of encouragement to Christians in the region to continue sowing in faith. 

"Some parts of the world are more receptive to the gospel and the results are more evident. However, as we have seen, love not success should be the motive of mission. Faithfulness is the prime measure of a servant's effectiveness; '... well done, good and faithful servant!' (Matt. 25:23)," says Memory.

"Nevertheless, the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13; Mark 4; Luke 8) points to the importance of the soil (the context) for the reception of the gospel message and the propagation of the Kingdom of God.

"Though Europe's soil today might appear arid and unyielding, the seed of the Kingdom is being sown and will produce fruit. Our task is to sow. Our motivation is our love of God and of His world. Our field is Europe. So, 'let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up' (Galatians 6:9)."

Langham Partnership's Dr Chris Wright called the report "timely" and "essential reading for all those who, in any part of the world, are concerned about mission in, from and to, the continent of Europe".

"Thoroughly documented from secular sources and theological expertise, this is the kind of resource that is increasingly needed for intelligent Christian engagement in our alarmingly changed world," he said. 

Rev Israel Oluwole Olofinjana, Director of the Evangelical Alliance's One People Commission, said: "Reverse missionaries and indigenous missionaries will find this report very helpful for understanding the European scene in order to contextualise their mission."