Europe is often described as being post-Christian and secular, but there are a growing number of indicators that God is not done with the continent; here are 5 signs of Christian revival happening right now in Europe!
#5: Young People
While centuries old, the European church is becoming very, very young in terms of its congregants. We’re seeing this particularly with events like Awakening Europe where tens of thousands of young people gather together each year to worship and hear evangelistic preaching; one of the latest ones in Prague saw over a thousand young people commit their lives to Christ for the very first time. Events like Christival, which brought together 13,000 teenagers and young adults from all over Germany, and Revive Europe, which gathered 3,000 university students from 68 nations to pray for a revival among their peers, demonstrate the growing enthusiasm and commitment among the younger generation. Also, each year the nation of Germany hosts the Mehr conference, Mehr meaning ‘More’ as in ‘More of Christ’, and the most recent conference drew more than 11,000 attendees, which is a 100-fold increase from the first conference held back in 2008. When the moderators at Mehr asked everyone who was younger than 22 to stand, it was reported that nearly half of the 11,000 in attendance stood up. A young and vibrant church is indeed rising up in Europe!
There have been reports of an increasing number of baptisms, particularly adult baptisms, throughout the continent. According to the Catholic Herald, the number of adult baptisms in France rose 21 percent compared to the previous year. In 16 dioceses, the number of converts doubled. Recently, the Evangelical Church of Germany received nearly 200,000 new members in a single year alone. And when you add the charismatic and Pentecostal numbers to bear on all of this; we’re seeing a steady growth of 6 percent in churches over the last two years. In Poland, the religion website Zenit.org reports that they’ve been seeing a “massive” surge in church participation across the country: they recently recorded a record 369,000 baptisms, 360,000 confirmations, and 270,000 first communions!
#3: Anglican Cathedral Attendance
There’s just something fantastical about cathedrals. According to the head of research and statistics for the Church of England, attendance levels at regular weekly services in Anglican cathedrals have surged an astonishing 30 percent since the turn of the millennium, which averages out to about a 3 percent growth per year. These figures are corroborated by a rise of attendance in virtually all of the Anglican church’s various services. Baptisms in cathedrals have increased by 10 percent, midweek service attendance is up; the number of volunteers in the mission and ministry of cathedrals has jumped by 24 percent over the last 10 years. Even Christmas Eve service attendance has reportedly gone up significantly!
#2: Christian Nationalism
There’s been a massive surge in Christian nationalist sentiments throughout the European continent. In 2016, Poland formally declared Jesus Christ as Lord and King over their nation in a ceremony in the presence of President Andrzej Duda. Viktor Orban of Hungary has recommitted his nation to reviving historic Christendom in its art and culture. The Russian Orthodox Church is currently exercising a political power and influence not seen since the days of the Czars and in the midst of this political shift, their respective populations are increasingly identifying themselves as Christian. In 1991, only 37 percent of Russians identified as Orthodox Christians. Now that number has risen to over 70 percent! Similarly, in 1991, only 39 percent of Ukrainians identified as Christian, today that number has reached 80 percent! And back in the 90’s about 60 percent of Bulgarians identified as Orthodox Christians, today it is 75 percent. The governments of all these nations have taken significant steps over the last several years to implement distinctively Christian social policy for their populations, and their populations are increasingly identifying themselves in relation to those policies.
#1: Church Plants
Perhaps the number one sign of Christian revival is the acceleration of church-planting efforts throughout the continent. Various networks, denominations, and mission agencies are actively involved in establishing new evangelical churches throughout Europe. In countries like France, the National Council of French Evangelicals (CNEF) has set a goal of having an evangelical church for every 10,000 people. The church planting movement in France has seen remarkable success, with an average of one church being planted every seven days. Additionally, there are fresh expressions of the church emerging in Europe. Migrant churches, particularly those initiated by Latin Americans, Chinese, and African communities, are playing a significant role in restoring faith in numerous European countries. These churches have planted thousands of congregations in countries like Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Their presence is so widespread that it is challenging to find a major European city without a sizable Spanish-speaking, Brazilian, or African-initiated Pentecostal congregation.
These signs of Christian revival in Europe offer hope amidst the complex and unique history that the continent has with the Christian faith. They show that God is actively at work, changing the narrative and rejuvenating Christianity in Europe. With an influx young people, increasing baptisms, surges in cathedral attendance, rising Christian nationalism, and massive church plants, the future of Christianity in Europe is bright indeed!
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