The challenge to mission in Europe

Published 30 December 2011
The challenge to mission in Europe is not persecution but the attitude common among Europeans that they have tried Christianity and now it's time to try something else.

That is the view of Bulgarian evangelist Charlie Hadjiev. Speaking on the opening night of the Mission-Net Congress, he said that many Europeans had been put off Christianity by the "hypocrisy of the European church throughout history" and the "huge discrepancy" between what Christians say and what they do.

Hadjiev said there was a "been there, done that" mentality across the continent.

"European Christians are living in one of the most difficult fields in the world. Why? It's not because of persecution but because Europe feels that it has tried Christianity and it hasn't worked and we should move on."

According to Operation World, 71% of the region's population considers itself to be Christian, but Europe is also one of the most secular in the world. In some parts, equality and diversity laws are making it hard for believers to express their faith in the public square, while a vocal secularist movement is pressing for an ever greater separation of church and state.

The congress in Erfurt, Germany, is being attended by young Christians from 40 European countries are.

The city is closely linked to the Reformation as the home of Martin Luther for 10 years.

Encouraging the delegates, Hadjiev said they did not need to be another Luther but let their "true greatness" shine by reflecting God's image.

Being who God had made them to be was, he said, the best message Christians could give to a searching Europe.

"All this modern talk about finding yourself … you find all kinds of weird stuff [when you look inside yourself]," he quipped.

"It's pointless to search your innermost soul to find some divine spark that you can reignite.

"You need to look to Jesus Christ. To find yourself you don't look inside yourself, you look at being transformed in the image of Jesus."

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