France is definitely a challenge when it comes to making disciples and starting churches. When Karan and I came to France in 1978, there was only one evangelical church for every 65,000 people! Missionaries serving with TEAM and other Missions worked hard to bring the Gospel to cities and towns with no Gospel witness. By 2010, the number of evangelical churches in France had doubled, with one church for every 32,000 people. Better, but still a long way from the goal of giving every French person the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
Meanwhile, God was at work in forming a grass roots movement in the hearts of French believers. In 2001, French evangelical leaders from diverse branches of French evangelicalism met together to seek the Lord. They agreed that France would not be reached unless they work together. In 2003, the National Council of Evangelicals in France (NCEF) was formed with the purpose of creating a spirit of sharing, reflexion, partnership and prayer, with the desire to reinforce the unity and visibility of French evangelicalism, while still respecting diversity. Quite a task!
After much prayer and work, that goal became reality with the official organization of the NCEF in June 2010. Now it was time to move from theory to practice by getting the local churches on board. On January 26-27, 2012, over 900 delegates from all over France from all evangelical denominations met together for the first NCEF National Convention. Karan and I were there! What a joy to see all these French believers gathered together to express their love for Christ and for one another. Together they boldly pledged to work in unity. They unanimously adopted the goal to see the number of churches in France dramatically increased to 1 church for every 10,000 people (with the slogan "1 for 10,000"). That means tripling the number of churches in France! Can it be done? By God's grace, we believe it can, and TEAM missionaries are right in the center of this exciting project!
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