Europe is politically, culturally and religiously highly diverse. As a continent it is facing crises at all levels:
- economic: despite small signs of economic recovery, there is still high youth and graduate unemployment (especially in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain)
- political: extreme right and left parties are gaining more ground
- social: society is becoming increasingly individualist and consumerist, with people living more isolated lives and the gap between rich and poor continues to widen
- environmental: the continent is struggling to meet consumer demands while at the same time caring for the world
- religious: Europe is turning ever further away from the Judeo-Christian worldview which was pivotal to the formation of its culture and society. Secularism and atheism are strong voices which can cause believers to be afraid to speak up about Jesus.
Student ministry in Europe
Igors Rautmanis is the Interim Regional Secretary for Europe and he heads up a small team who support the 46 movements in the region. Their vision is to see students built into communities of disciples, transformed by the gospel and impacting the university, the church and society for the glory of God.
Within Europe there are founder IFES movements, pioneering situations and everything in between.
UCCF Britain is by far the largest movement, but most European countries have established student movements. Luxemburg and Malta are being pioneered as we speak and the movements in Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia and GBU Belgium are currently small and fragile.
The greatest strength of students in Europe is their resourcefulness and readiness to engage with student culture. Students are uniquely placed to bring light and hope to their fellow students by sharing the compelling message of the gospel and embodying the love of Christ in authentic student communities. A recent development is the huge influx of international students, which is providing amazing opportunities to reach students from countries which have been closed to the gospel for many years.
Images of Europe
At a recent gathering for General Secretaries across the continent, Jeff Fountain from Hope for Europe shared three images of Europe with us:
Cut off from our Judeo-Christian roots, the continent is dying out at both ends with high levels of abortion, increasing euthanasia and with birth rates well below sustainability.
A field of rocks
Seed cannot grow in a field which has nothing but junk and old roots. The field needs to be ploughed up.
Living in a house without paying the rent: our freedoms are taken for granted.
Do join us in praying for the student movements in Europe, as they share a message of hope in Christ, transformation through the Spirit and a life lived with purpose for the Kingdom of God.
- for the movements, to be light and salt in some challenging contexts;
- for creative ways to reach out to the campuses;
- for more lives to be touched and changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.