I have talked several times about why Europe is in need of missionaries and why I am going over there to do my part, but I thought it might help if I highlighted more specifically what is going on in each of the countries in Europe. So, my plan for the next year is to share some data with you all about one country in Europe every Monday. The data I will be getting will be from Operation World. Operation World is an evangelical Christian organization that is concerned about fulfilling the Great Commission. They have compiled information on every country in the world and I want to share it with you so you can be praying for Europe specifically. I will also be using a book put out by Greater Europe Mission called “Prayer for the Nations.” Inside the book it has a guide for each country that makes up Greater Europe. There is much more detail then I will share, but if you want a copy of the book for your own prayers please let me know and I will get you one.
Austria, the setting for the Sound of Music (which is how most people know this beautiful country) is home to 8,387,491 people, 6,925,551 (82.5%) Christians and a meager 40, 524 Evangelical Christians. According to Operation World, the total number of Christians is in decline every year by .4%, but the good news is that Evangelicals grow by 2.1% every year.
Pray that God will continue to use the Evangelikale Akademie, a ministry training school, to equip Austrians for church leadership. Pray for more Austrians to be drawn to this school so people will come to Christ and be discipled through them.
Pray for new initiatives to reach hundreds of thousands of unreached Austrian youth.
I have talked several times about why Europe is in need of missionaries and why I am going over there to do my part, but I thought it might help if I highlighted more specifically what is going on in each of the countries in Europe. So, my plan for the next year is to share some data with you all about one country in Europe every Monday. The data I will be getting will be from Operation World. Operation World is an evangelical Christian organization that is concerned about fulfilling the Great Commission. They have compiled information on every country in the world and I want to share it with you so you can be praying for Europe specifically.
There are two new things this week. The first you may have already noticed. The highlighted country for today, Armenia, is not a European country. It’s in Asia. Greater Europe Mission works in some Asian and African countries (they put the “er” in Greater). The second change you might not notice too much. Greater Europe Mission has put out their own book called “Prayer for the Nations.” Inside the book it has a guide for each country that makes up Greater Europe. There is much more detail then I will share, but if you want a copy of the book for your own prayers please let me know and I will get you one.
For a country i know very little about, it is a pretty populous country. There are 3,090,379 people in Armenia, 94% (2,918,245) of which are Christian. Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as the official religion in 301 AD. It is not a whole lot different than the other countries I have touched on so far though in that a small minority (268,186 or 8.7%) are evangelical. I don’t mean to be stressing so much about that, but honestly with Operation World’s definition of evangelical, they are the one’s trying to reach other’s for Christ. The Great Commission says that is what we need to be doing, so that is the number that I hope to see increased.
Some prayer insights for Armenia:
Pray that God will give Armenian believers wisdom, courage, and creativity to reach out to their people.
Pray for unity among the churches in Armenia.
Pray that young adults will become catalysts for renewal and spiritual awakening in the Armenian Apostolic Church.
I’m reading this book called Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey and while I am not done with it yet, I can highly recommend it. When I am done with the book I will discuss it a little bit more, but today I wanted to share with you about motives. Dave Harvey talks about ambition as being a good and Godly thing if the motives are right. This thought has been hitting me a lot recently.
Why do I write this blog? Why do I want to get in better shape? Why am I going to Germany as a missionary with Greater Europe Mission? Why do I do anything that I am doing? If my answer ever starts with the word I, I’m doing something wrong.
In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” If I am supposed to be eating and drinking for the glory of God, then how much more should I be blogging, exercising, and living all aspects of my life for the glory of God?
I’m going to be honest though, a good chunk of the time, my motives aren’t the right ones, I’m not ambitious for God’s glory, I am ambitious for my glory.
Why did I start this blog? The biggest reason was to share with people about my call to ministry, but I check the stats to see how many visitors I am getting and I try to increase those numbers. Pretty sure that has nothing to do with God’s glory.
Why do I want to get in better shape? That one is mostly for selfish reasons too. I was actually struggling to figure out Godly motives in this specific case until yesterday. My mom and I are in a personal record 5k running group with Dave’s Running shop and yesterday was speed training. After we were done we had the privilege of listening to Brandon Bethke, an Olympian hopeful who is also a follower of Christ. He talked about how he gets through the tough training times because he remembers that this gift he has (running ridiculously fast) is from God and Brandon wants to use it for His glory, not his glory.
His short talk reminded me that my motives are sometimes off and if I want anything to be successful then I need to check my motives at the door and start living all aspects of my life for Christ and through the Holy Spirit have my motives become His motives for His glory.
I want to take time today to show everyone just what GEM is doing in Europe. Often times when I talk to people about what I will be doing, I forget to get excited about what GEM is doing in Europe. I am completely excited about it, but too often I forget to convey that to others for one reason or another. It might be because I have told the story of what I will be doing about 3,965, 422 times (maybe a slight exaggeration) or it might be because I will be sitting at a computer most days, but either way I am excited and I want you all to know why.
First let me refer you to an article written by a GEM missionary and posted on GEM’s website. It is titled, “Europe is Ripe for the Gospel” and if that doesn’t get me and you excited then I am not sure what will. I encourage you to go read the full thing, but I will summarize it as well. Basically the author talks about a recent trip to four major cities in three different countries and the effects of their prayers during their 6 day trip. They prayer-walked (praying about an area while walking through it) for 8-12 hours and made a commitment to talk to interact in some way with 15-30 people each day. The author said he left the trip with four blisters on his feet. Their 6 day trip led to 8 people being led to a relationship with Christ. That is a pretty amazing average, two new relationships with Christ per blister!
What’s is so amazing is that is just one way God has been moving in Europe. Their are countless more stories from the other missionaries in GEM. Quarterly all of the missionaries in the field report back on what they have accomplished during the past three months. The graphic below shows the results of the survey that they filled out. Feel free to peruse the whole thing, but let me point out a few things. In addition to helping people start new relationships with Christ, GEM is also equipping others for ministry. The equipping and resourcing columns best represent what I will spend the majority of my time on. In 3 months GEM has equipped 1,491 people for ministry, Almost half of which were given reproducible ideas that could help them take their knowledge beyond themselves and 130 of those people definitely did share the tools GEM gave them. I think that is pretty cool and I can’t wait to help get that number even higher!