Here is a copy of an article posted by Scott Way, KontaktMission missionary and Bible College professor serving with his wife, Leona, and their children in Germany. Thanks for sharing, Scott!
IS EUROPE UNREACHED?
BY A PIONEER IN EUROPE, August 11, 2015
Had you asked me whether Europe was unreached a decade ago, I would have responded with a resounding “No!” How could a continent that boasts beautiful churches and birthed the Reformation be unreached? Why should a missions sending organization like Pioneers, one focused on reaching unreached people groups, send missionaries to a continent where 70.8% of the population are reportedly professing Christians? Shouldn’t our efforts be focused elsewhere?
I entered the missions world focusing on the 10/40 window—but now I consider Europe one of the most unreached continents in the world. And I’m not alone. Did you know…
Christians in Muslim North Africa refer to Europe as the spiritually dark continent?
That it is the only continent where the church is in rapid decline?
Or that Islam is its fastest growing religion?
In Europe, nationality and religion are almost synonymous. To be Croatian is to be Catholic. To be Serbian from the former Yugoslavia is to be Orthodox. To be Scandinavian is to be Lutheran. State religion is not a choice but an undisputed fact assigned at birth.
During times of war, leaders often used churches as places of mobilization and strategizing rather than preaching a gospel of peace and reconciliation. In Greece today, it is illegal to share the gospel unless attempting to convert someone to Greek Orthodoxy. In Sweden, it is culturally acceptable for a priest not to believe in God, and missionaries attest to meeting Swedish college students who have never had a spiritual conversation.
The statistics reveal that less than 2% of Europeans are evangelical believers, including less than .1% in Slovenia, .3% in Poland, .5% in Austria and 1% in France. Though many are Catholic, Lutheran or Orthodox Christians—and there may be an unspecified number of redeemed, gospel-adhering believers in these faith traditions—a closer look reveals that this faith is often a cultural tradition instead of true belief in Jesus.
Today, if you asked me, “Is Europe unreached?”, I would respond with a resounding, “YES—it is unreached!”
One missionary so clearly communicated, “Europe is as spiritually poor as it is materially rich. Remember that there are two places to die of thirst: one is the desert and the other the ocean. Europe is the spiritual ocean of the missions world.”