The story of our world is the story of God bringing the knowledge of his Son to every nation, tribe, people group, and language on the earth. One day that story will be completed, and Jesus will return to make a new world where he will be worshipped and adored by people from every corner of this globe. At The Crowded House, we love Jesus. Therefore, we want to take our place in that story for His glory.
So we want to be a network of churches that generously gives people, time, and resources away to see gospel-centred churches established in other countries. We particularly want to invest in those countries where the gospel has not yet made a significant impact. To do this effectively, we have identified four ‘International Gospel Priority Areas’ (iGPAs):
The people of the Middle East are no more resistant to the Gospel than those in the West. If we take the claims of scripture seriously then we should never presume that some regions of the world are beyond the reach of Christ.
In one particular area of the Middle East, the church is being established among predominantly Muslim communities. The church is small, with only a few believers meeting in cities the size of Adelaide, Philadelphia or Liverpool. However local believers and other gospel workers report that people are showing a relative openness to consider the Gospel.
Local church leaders have given an invitation for gospel workers to plant churches in their country. Members of TCH have already spent time (2 years) living in the region, learning the language and building relationships with local believers. We are currently recruiting for and training a longer-term (10 years) team, of at least 6 adults, to return to the region within the next 4 years. This is the first step.
Knowing that it might take ‘a 100 years to see the church established’ we, as TCH, plan on sending additional teams and workers. We pray that our church’s commitment to this country outlives this current generation. We are looking for people to join us who want to invest their lives in seeing the Gospel take root in the Middle East. To consider if this might be you, we invite you to serve with us in the UK among the same Middle Eastern people group. Could this be your first step?
For more specific information on how you can get involved please email iGPA Middle East.
- It is estimated that 0.25-0.4% of the population are evangelical Christians (that’s about 20 times less than the UK).
- More than half of these Christians are ethnic minorities, so there are very few indigenous Italian believers.
- Among the evangelical churches that do exist, there is little gospel partnership and suspicion between churches is common.
- There is little theological education available to non-English speaking Italians.
Over the years, The Crowded House has naturally developed a relationship with churches in Italy through Porterbrook Learning and Acts 29. In the context of this growing relationship, our aim is to strengthen the work of Acts 29 churches in Italy through regular prayer, encouragement, and trying to respond to practical needs as they arise. We also aim to contribute towards the theological development of church leaders and church planters within the Acts 29 Italy network where possible.
France: a gospel priority area
- In France there are over 250 towns of over 10,000 people which have no gospel-preaching church at all
- In some ‘départements’ in France (= UK counties) there are only 2 evangelical churches of any description.
- Of the 36,664 local communities in France, approximately 34,500 have no resident evangelical witness
- In France about 10 million people pay around £20 billion every year for occult consultations: three times the amount paid to their family doctors
- There are over 30,000 registered mediums and spiritual healers in France
France needs the gospel. And France needs gospel workers.
At the same time…
- In France today there are 9 times the number of evangelical Christians there were in 1950!
- Over the past 42 years, more than 1,300 evangelical churches have been planted in France.
God is at work in France. And at TCH, we’re passionate about getting involved with what he’s doing there.
That’s why we’re working in partnership with Acts 29 Europe and the Evangelical Baptist Association to help see churches planted in the parts of France where there is currently no evangelical witness.
By God’s grace, we’ll be sending our first missionaries there in 2015. Over the next 20 years, we want to send scores of people to France to get involved in planting churches like l’Eglise du Val d’Europe. And not just church-planters and pastors, but ordinary Jesus-loving Christians of every sort. To find out more, contact email iGPA France.
Why would a church planting network like the Crowded House focus on Bible translation as a Gospel Priority Area?
There are 7 billion people in the world speaking almost 7000 languages. All of them need to hear that the one true God speaks to them, where they are, in their sin, with words of hope, forgiveness and life. How will they hear and respond at a heart level if churches planting into these people groups don’t have God’s word in the language of their hearts?
2000 years after Christ most languages in the world do not have even a fragment of the Bible. As you can see on the chart below most of the world’s population do have access to a Bible because some languages like English are widely spoken. However there are hundreds of millions of people who do not have access. The task remaining is enormous! Yet, our partner, Wycliffe Bible Translators, have staff currently involved in 1,500 active language programmes with additional work being undertaken by other organisations in a further 500 languages. If the world’s churches rise to the challenge, by God’s grace we can start work in the remaining languages in this generation.
The following chart shows access to the Bible from the perspective of the world’s languages and the world’s population. Work still needs to start in about half of the groups without scripture (1,967 languages spoken by 209 million people).
How can we play our part?
The Crowded House have sent two people out to help with this task:
- Hazel Gray from Sheffield to Tanzania (via a Masters in African Linguistics in Leiden, Netherlands). She is helping the team there to develop writing systems and analyse the grammar of the Manda & Kisi languages.
- Tim Kempton is helping to develop alphabets to enable bible translation in Nigeria. Over the next year he will be living in a village in Kaduna state to learn the local language and assist the bible translation team there. “
Over the next few years, we’re looking to build teams in partnership with Wycliffe. The work of Bible translation is made up of many parts: from aviation mechanics to primary school teachers, finance managers to software engineers, and of course translators and linguists. If you think your skills can’t be used, ask us. To find out more, email iGPA Bible Translation.