International (MNN) — Europe's Christian growth rate over the last century is the lowest in the world. European nations dominate the top ten in a category called "Least responsive megapeoples."
In short, they are the toughest people on earth to reach with the Gospel. And it is with this challenge that Greater Europe Mission moves forward. Their mission is to help people in Europe find faith in Jesus Christ and grow in that faith.
Their strategy is to share their lives with people, helping them discover the message of the Bible for themselves through Bible study groups, church meetings, street theater, puppetry, sports, music, teaching, and more.
Since 1992, Ted Noble has provided leadership and vision for GEM as president. He was mentored by Bob Evans, who founded the ministry in 1949. However, Noble announced his intention to step aside in May 2006 after 15 years at the helm, telling staffers he felt he had completed his work at GEM.
So the search for a new leader began. GEM has named Henry L. Deneen of Columbia, S.C., as the agency's president. He'll succeed Ted Noble on September 1rst.
Deneen brings 27 years of experience in pastoral ministry, missions, and law. The transition comes at a strategic time for the ministry because the rate of Christian growth in Europe is one of the lowest worldwide; the continent is recognized as a "priority mission field."
Moreover, his passion for international evangelistic work is contagious. In the late 90's and early 2000, Deneen spent several years ministering to a people group in North Africa. He also served in France for four years, leading efforts to reach a spiritually impoverished and isolated country in North Africa.
Two years ago, he brought some of that experience back to his home. He and former Governor David Beasley founded the Center for Global Strategies (CGS) in Columbia, South Carolina.
GEM has more than 444 staff members serving in 27 European nations.