Posts Tagged ‘germany’
Deutsche Welle had an interesting article up, “Ghanaian pastor seeks to ‘re-Christianize’ Germany”. An evangelical Christian is trying to convert Germans but finding little success beyond the immigrant sector.
In just a decade, the number of evangelical Christians in Germany has doubled – and Ghana-born evangelical Rev. Edmund Sackey Brown has grand plans to ride this new wave. In 2011 he purchased a former Edeka supermarket in Mülheim an der Ruhr, in the heartland of Germany’s industrial region, and converted it into an evangelical house of worship: The House of Solution.
He is convinced that within 10 years his 600-member congregation, comprised mostly of African immigrants from the surrounding areas, will swell to 5,000. He has pledged his commitment on the number plate of his Mercedes “MH FJ 5000″ (Mülheim for Jesus 5000). “Centuries ago, Europeans came to Africa with the word of God. But these days Europe is a godless center. It needs redeeming,” says Sackey Brown, “My mission is to re-Christianize Europe.”
According to Sackey Brown’s vision, Christianity’s sweeping re-embrace of Europe will not come from an increase in African immigration, but from first-generation African-Germans spreading the word of God to their peers. “Hope is with the new generation. They can be disciples of God,” he says. But the children of African immigrants are a minority group within a minority group – hardly the catalyst for a near-future boom – and the fact that the church’s weekly youth service has been scaled back to every other week is a signal that things are not going to plan.
[. . .]
German-born Jan Sickinger, now the coordinator for community outreach programs at The House of Solution, is the son of a Protestant pastor. As he came of age, he grew wary of Protestantism’s increasingly “liberal social theology” and craved a closer connection to the Gospel. So he found salvation as a born-again believer, married an African evangelical and started working at
Despite handing out thousands of advertising pamphlets and organizing expensive stage productions in the city center, Sickinger has struggled to bring outsiders to the church. “I don’t think there’s any church in Germany that is actually growing at the moment,” he says, defending his own church’s sagging numbers more than lamenting the larger situation in Germany. “I mean, the first German missions to Africa and South America didn’t change things overnight.”
But in the greater historical context, The House of Solution’s plan for radical growth in just 10 years is ambitious. Other German evangelical churches, however, are enjoying steady growth. Though evangelicals account for only about 3 percent of the German population, they are an relatively devout group; the number of those who attend church regularly is comparable with the Protestants, one of Germany’s two major faith groups, together with Catholics.
This reminded me of a 2005 post where I noted that evangelical Christianity in France tended to be dominated by immigrants, whether from the French Caribbean or eastern Europe or elsewhere.
Territory like this has been explored elsewhere, by Philip Jenkins among other scholars. I’m skeptical as to whether or not missionary endeavours in multiethnic societies will actually take off. Different religions, and irreligions (non-practice of a dominant religion is not the same as practising nothing), can plausibly survive for quite some time.