Country

Italy

"I used to think that people who say they had "met Jesus" were crazy fanatics or that the weird way they talk might be their odd way of describing a personal choice ... I did believe that way until a seemingly ordinary event set off a chain reaction in my life that caused me to understand that God not only knew I existed, but He has never not loved me."

Beppe - Baptized in 2015

THE NEED IN ITALY

Mostly untouched by the Protestant Reformation, many Italians have little acquaintance with the Gospel beyond what they vaguely remember from compulsory instruction in Catholic moral teaching during their childhood. Italians are increasingly:

  • disillusioned by the Roman Catholic Church and disbelieving
  • disenchanted with their government
  • depressed by a failing economy and stressful working conditions
  • disappointed by their broken family dynamics
  • distrusting of their neighbors
  • doubtful that God matters or could possibly be good or inclined to love them

A 2017 survey reveals that only 60% of Northern Italians even bother to identify as Roman Catholic anymore. Less than 10% practice that religion, and nationwide, less than 1% of Italy's 60 million people identify as Evangelical, a minority less even than many countries in the 10/40 Window. Christianity is disappearing in the West. How will missionary-sending and supporting churches respond to this crisis? How will you?

ABWE IN ITALY

Since ABWE arrived in Italy in 1990, the team has focused on establishing local churches through Bible studies, teaching theology, teaching English, coaching sports teams, and participating in local groups and clubs. We've learned that successful ministry in Italy requires a modern-day approach to relationship building, training, evangelism and discipleship.

Our newest ministry work, underway north of the city of Turin, is redefining how our missionaries attempt to impact mainstream society. Here, we have partnered with charitable ministries and are working to create more accessible and mobile-friendly gospel content to reach the Italian people. These initiatives are forging important connections with people and have led to multiple evangelistic Bible study groups.

OUR PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES

The ABWE Italy field team exists to serve with Italians in establishing and equipping regional church planting movements for the glory of Christ.

LIFT (Prayer)

Jesus Christ is the only one who can plant his church (Matthew 16:18). Since we can accomplish nothing except that which he accomplishes through us by his Spirit, we prioritize prayer as the principal means by which we lift our eyes to him in total reliance. We pray not just to prepare for our missionary work; rather, prayer is itself the most crucial aspect of that work.

LOVE (Pre-evangelism)

The gospel is the good news of God's love for the world revealed in Christ. Thus, we are called to share with Italians "not only the gospel of God but also our own selves" (I Thessalonians 2:8), loving them as God has first loved us. This leads us into an intentional lifestyle of building relationships, seeking opportunities to concretely demonstrate Christ's love to others and open doors to gospel witness.

LEAD (Evangelism, discipleship)

In terms of the Great Commission, our task among Italians is to make disciples of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20), leading them to new birth and full maturity in him. This means that we devote much of our time and energy to evangelism and discipleship, ministries that, while centered on the gospel, encompass a wide and adaptable range of specific approaches and activities.

LAUNCH (Training, releasing)

We are not content to increase the number of Italian churches merely by addition; we aim to help launch a church multiplication movement that will happen only when a critical mass of self-reproducing national churches capable of independently sustaining such a movement is reached. To this end, we ultimately desire to partner with mature Italian churches and leaders, serving alongside, or even under, them in a facilitating or supporting role that respects their local autonomy. In the absence of any viable national partners, we will work to raise them up through our own church-planting initiatives.

OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE

Irrespective of your pathway, the ABWE Italy team welcomes you to a practical and passionate introduction to grassroots church planting in a challenging field. We encourage people of varying gifts to discover how God can use them in Italy for their growth and His glory.

With the pressures of spiritual antagonism, widespread indifference, and an uninformed suspicion of Evangelicals as cult-members, the challenges in Italy are significant. We need missionaries that will commit to a path marked by increasing spiritual stamina, emotional maturity, and reliance on Christ to build his church and God to complete in each one of us the good work he has begun.

We’d love to get to know you and discuss how God is calling you.

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