A "Phenomenon" -
Third World Missionaries Flock to Europe to Evangelize the "Enlightened"

Kevin Sullivan/TN and Breaking Christian News, June 13, 2007

Britain's largest church, run by a Nigerian pastor in London attracts
up to 12,000 people over three services every Sunday

(Copenhagen)—The Washington Post has published an article addressing the increasing phenomenon of foreign missionaries from developing nations coming to Western Europe to plant churches. For centuries, notes reporter Kevin Sullivan, when Europe was the global center of Christianity, millions of European missionaries traveled to other continents to spread their faith by establishing schools and churches. Now, he says, with European church attendance at all-time lows and a dearth of preachers in the pulpits, thousands of "reverse missionaries" are flocking back.

For example, officials from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a Pentecostal church based in Nigeria, are quoted as saying they have 250 churches in Britian now and plan to create 100 more this year. Indeed, notes Sullivan, Britain's largest church, run by a Nigerian pastor in London attracts up to 12,000 people over three services every Sunday.

In Denmark, continues Sullivan, on a typical Sunday morning most of Denmark's 2,100 parish churches are lucky to attract 20 worshipers each. But now, with the influx of foreign missionaries, things are changing. Karsten Nissen, one of the Denmark's 10 Lutheran bishops, is quoted as saying that a quarter to a third of all people in church in Copenhagen any given Sunday morning are attending a foreign-run service. "These churches are a gift to our Danish Lutheran Church," Nissen said. "They open our eyes to a more human way of being Christians. It's the way we were Christians 100 years ago—a very simple way, a good way, a more pious way and a more open and happy way of worship."

"This is a Christian country, but the population has forgotten what that means," said Bess Serner-Pedersen, who runs Alpha Denmark. She blames the 18th century Enlightenment for placing reason over the divine. "Our population is looking for churches that are more alive," she said. "We need these immigrant churches because they are bringing a message that we have forgotten."

One Dane, Ib Johansen, said European government leaders were partly to blame for Europe's waning religious life. He is quoted as saying governments have zealously promoted the secular while regarding religious faith as a bit backward: "We're told, 'Grow up, man. Leave that behind. We are doing well now, we don't need God anymore.'"

Source: The Washington Post


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