Millions of immigrants, guest workers, students, and refugees came to Germany since 1989. Many arrive illegally, and some have connections to international criminal networks. Some are vibrant Christians, but most do not know the gospel. Germany’s generous openness (and need for a larger workforce) were most pronounced by the large numbers of migrants who arrived as a result of the migrant crisis of 2015 and thereafter. German society and government struggle to react well to this massive inflow of people, and some have reacted with violence or bitterness towards immigrants, especially in the east. Yet it is an amazing mission opportunity. Pray for:
- More churches among many foreign peoples (Asian, African, Latin American, European). German Christians must seize this opportunity of an open window to share the gospel! Pray also for immigrant churches to reach out cross-culturally to their host country and to other migrant neighbours.
- International students (250,000, the world’s 3rd-highest total). Many come to Germany with no understanding of the gospel or previous interactions with Christians.
- Muslims (more than 5 million, from over 40 nations). They often live in neighbourhoods with their own people, and do not integrate into German society. 4,000-5,000 come to faith in Christ each year (and increasing), but 1,000 or more ethnic Germans convert to Islam each year. Least-reached people groups. Pray for outreach to the 2.5 million Turks and up to 1 million Kurds. Pray also for the Iranians (100,000), North African Arabs and Berbers (300,000), and Bosnian Muslims (285,000). Syrian refugees make up most of the latest wave , and number in the hundreds of thousands as of 2016.
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.