While the progress of the gospel during modern times has been slow in France and all of those nations that share its language and culture, we are happy to report that inroads have been forged by at least three generations of courageous and dedicated missionaries and Christian workers. A maturing has occurred and a new opportunity and challenge presents itself. How can we ratchet up the public preaching throughout the French speaking world and bring it into a fresh accountability of the gospel?
Throughout the ‘Christian’ French culture, less than ½ of a percent of the people profess to be born again believers. Most nominal Christians attend church rarely and many are practical/functional atheists. 10’s of millions of French speaking people in West Africa are Muslim and the number of Muslim’s in France has increased by 300% in the past ten years (now 9% of the population of France – about 20 times the number of evangelicals).
The Lord has burdened my wife, Anne, and me to partner with key men, real trench warriors for Christ, who have planted themselves for many years in perhaps one or two locations in order to establish a foot hold for the gospel ministry. Our purpose is to gather the resources of people, experience, materials, and expertise to press forward the work. We have identified three points of strength from which to draw these resources together. They are
In order to accomplish this, we recognize that we must be both creative, flexible, and mobile, often taking postures and engaging in projects that are outside the scope of what many might see as the traditional activity for missionaries. It will involve difficulties like forgoing the comfort of a regular home-place on the field and often living in conditions that are rugged and unfamiliar. But it will also involve the privilege of teaming with people, not only from our initial ‘points of strength’, but also with those whom we can disciple and enlist along the way. We believe these people will produce much fruit that only eternity will fully reveal. Our thanks go to those who both support this work and provide the necessary prayer, encouragement, and accountability that make it possible.
For biblical reference, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Apostle Paul travelled to at least 17 countries, preaching and establishing churches, all the while forming teams and leaving co-laborers behind to carry on the work that they began together. He ministered primarily within a single language and culture (Greek) and, as a matter of principle, began his ministry by preaching to and enlisting the support, if possible, of the minority of people who already professed to serve the one true God (the Jewish people).
All of this was done to reach a target audience (the Gentiles) who would be entrusted with the gospel and the Great Commission until the end of the age. We live in a different day, but we serve the same God. He who sent a man named John to prepare the way for the Savior’s coming and reversed the course of the church’s greatest human enemy has also sent forth laborers into the French speaking world and is calling still more to ‘come over … and help us’, perhaps in the closing hours before the second coming of Christ.