Prayer Focus: Muslims in Europe
May 4, 2014
Each of the six geographical regions of AGWM has selected a specific area or people group for focused prayer during the next two years. Randy Hurst, AGWM Communications director, recently spoke with Regional Director Paul Trementozzi regarding Muslims, the unreached people group focus for Europe.
Hurst: How are missionaries to Europe responding to the region’s growing Muslim population?
Trementozzi: Actually, there is more going on than a person might see at first glance. For example, in Western Europe, a missionary serving in Great Britain is reaching out to Iranian immigrants, and a number of them have accepted Christ. In Amsterdam, Netherlands, a missionary has been working alongside the national church in forming a department focused on ministry to Muslims. This is the first national church fellowship in Europe to have this type of designated outreach. Still another missionary is working with the Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship of Europe to help every national fellowship in the region establish a specific plan to reach Muslims.
Recently I learned that a Muslim background believer from North Africa now lives in Germany. This believer has identified more than 100 Arab-language Christian groups meeting across Germany. All of these congregations are made up of Muslim background believers.
Other exciting things are taking place in Southern Europe. Leaders of the Italy AG are sensing God’s call to minister in Albania and other Balkan nations of Europe. Italy has a huge population of Albanians, the majority of whom are Muslim. Italian believers have been effective in reaching many of these immigrants, and they are sensing God’s direction to send missionaries to reach Albanians in their homeland. In neighboring Greece, a missionary couple leads an outreach to Syrian war refugees, and many people have received Christ as a result.
Hurst: What are some of the ways missionaries in Europe are preparing for even greater ministry among Muslims?
Trementozzi: We are partnering with Global Initiative in starting Institutes of Islamic Studies at various locations throughout Europe to train missionaries and national believers in engaging and winning Muslims to Christ. These institutes will serve as training hubs for ministry, not only within a Muslim context but also for planting international churches throughout Europe. Because a large number of emigrants to Europe are coming from countries in the Eurasia region, we have asked missionaries to Eurasia to assist us in this effort. They know the culture and can give us helpful insight.
We are also looking for U.S. pastors who would be interested in giving a few years of their ministry to help us plant international churches in key locations throughout Europe. Services at the churches would be held in English, which eliminates the need to become fluent in another language. The ultimate purpose of these churches is to reach unreached people groups and provide bases for training centers.
Hurst: You have been a missionary to Europe for 22 years. How is the focus among new missionaries changing the face of missions in the region?
Trementozzi: New missionaries coming to Europe have a “sell-it-all, give-it-all” attitude and are willing to go into areas that we have not yet engaged. They want to go to the hard places, but no support systems exist in these areas to help them. These new missionaries represent one of the reasons the training center initiative is so important. From these centers we can develop teams to work together. The team approach opens up all kinds of opportunities for outreach.
Hurst: In the midst of these opportunities, what do you hear the Holy Spirit saying about ministry in Europe?
Trementozzi: The movement of all these Muslim people groups into Europe has changed the whole face of ministry in our region. I feel a sense of urgency, as if the Holy Spirit were saying, “Now is the time.” If we don’t do something now to reach Muslims in Europe, we may never have another opportunity. We have to seize the moment. A missionary to Europe told me that our region is underselling itself because there are many opportunities to minister to Muslims, and we need to be making the most of them. We are going to miss our opportunity if we don’t get seriously engaged.
Hurst: How can believers pray about the needs of the unreached in Europe?
Trementozzi: Pray that we will use what God has put into our hands. In Genesis 4:1-5, God was speaking to Moses about standing before Pharoah in Egypt. He asked Moses what was in his hand and told him to throw it down so He could use it.
All the members of the AGWM leadership team in Europe are gripped with a sense of urgency in reaching Muslim immigrants. We feel compelled to look at what God has put in our hand, throw it down in submission, and let Him use it in this critical hour. This is our opportunity, and we don’t want to miss it.
Paul Trementozzi is Europe regional director for AGWM.
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