The decline of Christianity in Germany continues into the 21st century. West Germany was 97% Christian in 1960, but Germany is now less than 60% Christian, and that percentage decreases every year. Church attendance for all denominations is low, and many churches have shut down. Christians divide between Protestants and Catholics, liberals and conservatives, and conservative evangelicals and Pentecostal/charismatic groups. However, we can thank God that this decline has drawn some believers together in new ways. Prayer movements formed and spread, and churches now work together across some cities or regions for evangelism, outreach, and mission.
Much of the German population is effectively unreached. Five centuries after the Reformation finds the land of Luther a spiritual wasteland in many parts. German churches as well as increasing numbers of mission agencies attempt to spread the light and plant new churches in the areas of greatest need:
- Those in the east must first overcome three generations of imposed atheism before the Church can flourish. About 80% are effectively unevangelized, and 65% are agnostic or atheist. Eastern Germany remains, for the most part, both economically and spiritually unregenerated. But there is a solid, core group of believers standing firm for Christ.
- Whole areas of western Germany, while superficially Christianized over a thousand years ago, have never really been evangelized. Despite the influence of the Reformation and the Pietist revival movement, many are almost devoid of a live evangelical witness - the northern plains, Bavaria and the Eifel area are examples.
- Many cities have become extremely secular and spiritually needy. Pray especially for Berlin, where 65% have no link with a church and only 3% regularly attend. Together for Berlin is a network promoting unity and cooperation among churches.
- The churchless towns of Germany. A significant proportion of Germany's towns (of more than 5,000 population) do not have an evangelical church. Many new congregations have been planted by independent groups and the Free Church denominations; pray for these small congregations to have a growing impact.
Ministry amongst minorities:
- The exciting increase of diaspora churches. Among many foreign peoples - Asian, African, Latin American and European - there is great openness and rapid church growth. Pray for this window of opportunity to be seized, and for immigrant churches to, in turn, reach out cross-culturally to their hosts and neighbours.
- The AMIN (Arbeitskreis für Migration und Integration) is a fellowship of mission groups seeking to evangelize through a wide variety of ethnic ministries. A number of local congregations also seek to reach these groups.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.