What can American Evangelicals learn from their European counterparts in regards to evangelism?
If you want to know what American churches will be facing in 20 years, look to Europe today. Contemporary Europe is a heathen continent with a Christian residue. Encroaching darkness, however, has provided European Christians with unusual opportunities to flourish, especially in evangelism. The following six insights stem from the uniquely secular context of Europe. If taken seriously, these could lead to greater evangelistic fruit among American churches.
- Migration is God’s gift to the Church.
Last year, Germany (pop. 82 million) took in 1.2 million refugees. Whereas it was impossible to send missionaries to Syria two years ago, God has sovereignly depopulated Syria by half its people and moved them to Western Europe.
Some of these new immigrants are believers. They are evangelizing and starting churches with great vigor among their own people in host countries. Evangelical churches throughout Europe are welcoming these mostly Muslim immigrants, meeting their physical and spiritual needs. Every week thousands are finding Christ and are being baptized. The Church is the place where cultural integration is happening. Churches in America need to see immigration as a God-given gift to be embraced, not feared.
- Culturally-relevant churches are harvest churches.
People in Europe have closed their hearts to traditional presentations of the gospel (i.e., evangelistic campaigns, literature distribution, preaching, and information-based proclamation). Missiologists such as Professor Johannes Reimer in Germany have helped us to understand that the way to the heart is not taken directly.
In Europe, people are being reached for Christ where churches are analyzing the needs of the society around them. The analysis helps local churches ...