Europe is well-known for its history, culture, and economic prosperity. Europe is less well known as a mission field with an urgent need for churches. Jim Carlson makes a strong case for the importance of Europe in global missions.
Based out of Paris, France, Jim is one of the directors in Europe for ReachGlobal, the missions arm of the Evangelical Free Church. He is working on his Doctor of Ministry on the importance of international churches in global missions. Yesterday he spoke to the gathering of pastors and families in Nice, France, that Molly and I have been serving.
In his session, Jim quoted from a book, Strangers Next Door: "An unreached people group is one in which less than 2% of the population are evangelical Christians. Here are the percentages for key countries in Europe: France, 1 %; Germany, 2.1%; Belgium, 1.2%, Netherlands, 4.3%, Switzerland, 4.4%, Austria, 0.5%, and Monaco, 1.2%. We can safely categorize Europe as an unreached people group!
But Europe, according to Jim, is also very strategic at this point in history. It's one of the intellectual centers of the world. It leads the world in educating people from around the world. And it's on the front lines of the global battle for the gospel.
But here's the kicker: "Europe is home to the world's current, and fastest growing, religion: unbelief."
Jim Carlson also serves on the Euro Leadership Team for International Christian Community (ICC), the host organization for this week's retreat for pastors and families. I've had the joy of working with Jim and the rest of the team to chart the course for the future of ICC, with the goal of a vibrant international church for each principle city in Europe.
This morning, Jim spoke to the pastors and wives from Psalm 121, with the famous verse, "Our help comes from the Lord." Then he invited people to request prayer for their personal lives. The floodgates opened up, leading to a rich time of prayer for pastors and wives on the front lines.
It's clear that Jim understands the importance of international churches in reaching Europe. But he also has a shepherd's heart for the pastors and families who have joined in this effort.