This week, a report was compiled and published on the church planting in Central and Eastern Europe, written by Russ Mitchell of OC International. I am here quoting an introductory considerations, to encourage you to get the whole document, which is available at https://www.gcpn.info/index.php/regions and then Eastern Europe.
The Challenge of the Harvest Field
Eastern Europe is where East meets West, and this clash of cultures has shaped the region. Except for Greece all of these countries were a part of the Communist “Eastern Block.” Also this region is where the Orthodox, Catholic, and Muslim worlds intersect. As a result there are nearly 10 million Muslims in the region (7%), and the only Muslim majority countries in Europe are found here: Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo. Likewise the Protestant Reformation did not deeply penetrate this region. As a consequence Evangelical Christians are few. Eleven of the sixteen countries are less than 1% Evangelical. Eight of the countries – half the region — are less than 0.5% Evangelical. Overall the region is 1.56% evangelical compared to 2.5% for Europe and 7.9% for the entire World. Europe’s least evangelized countries are found here: Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Several of the most challenging unreached people groups in Europe are in this region. For example the Bosniak people group is perhaps the least evangelized in Europe – 2.2 million people spread over nine countries in the region.
God @ work
In spite of these challenges, God is at work in this region. The number of evangelical believers is growing in all but one country. In fact some of the most responsive peoples to the Gospel in Europe are found in this area. Montenegro, Albania, Moldova and Macedonia have growth rates above the world average and ten countries are better than the European average. Likewise there are significant movements developing in Romania. Throughout the region the Romani people (Gypsy) are generally very responsive to the Gospel. Among established churches there is a growing vision for church planting and cross cultural work. These are some signs that God is at work in the region. Still there are significant challenges to making disciples of each people group in this region.
Fascinating, isn’t it?