Germany (MNN) — Werner Nachtigal grew up in the Lutheran Church. But as a boy, attending church was the most boring place on the planet. He dreamed of growing up and becoming a rock star. In fact, he even met KISS and OZZY; yet, these people he looked up to instead looked back with empty eyes.
“When I was young, I was 18, I thought, ‘What is the meaning of life? To make money? To have girls? Success?’ But then I met all these famous people and I saw the empty eyes. So, the next question — ‘What will come if I have to die tonight?’” Nachtigal recalls.
Fast forward to today and Nachtigal is a Christian leader in Germany. He is the President of Global Outreach Day, a catalyst movement where on a single day each year, Christ followers reach out to non-Christians in unison. However, his story of growing up in a church without the Gospel is not uncommon. In fact, one could argue it is the plight of post-evangelized Germany.
Germany is a European country with nine neighbors surrounding it. To the north is Denmark along with the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. On its Western borders are the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. To the south are Switzerland and Austria. Finally, on its eastern borders lay Czechia and Poland. However, Germany is also the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation in 1517.
“Germany is a beautiful country. Beautiful, I mean, we have a great social system [and] health care. I would say Germany is one of the best countries in the world, for sure. I mean, in the winter it is quite cold, but I would say to live in Germany is really a privilege…. It’s a peaceful country,” Nachtigal explains in an awe-inspiring tone.
However, challenges arise when the Bible’s teachings go against society’s grain. Some people are open to the Gospel, but not all. Political correctness is valued and having views opposing this category can be detrimental. Germany, while it is a free country, Nachtigal says it does not necessarily support free speech.
“I love my country…. I thought about moving to the U.S. because I like Santa Monica. No, because you have many Christians. [The United States has] so many ministries. You have more ministries in Colorado Springs probably than we have in Europe…. You are living in Disneyland if it comes to so many good churches and ministries. But, we have only one megachurch with over 4,000 people. That’s it,” Nachtigal says.
Bridging Gaps in Germany
For Nachtigal, there is no easy answer in bridging the disconnect between the Gospel and the Church’s seeming lack of fire for loving people, despite who they are or what society teaches. Not all congregations lack this fire, but it is prevalent.
“I’ve read in a book that a revival is when every believer is active, not only in a church shouting and dancing. But how to engage churches? I mean, we are really working on it for the last ten years. I know…how to spur [a] revival, besides the Holy Spirit. (Of course, we believe in the power [of the Holy Spirit.]) W-O-R-K. It’s work. It’s a process,” Nachtigal says.
For the typical Christian in Germany, it is not persecution they face, but lethargy and a lack of training. Nachtigal and many others are working on this through Global Outreach Day and by living evangelism as a way of life.
“It’s work and sometimes you’re frustrated and all these; yes, it is. But still, we’re not giving up. We are slowly [seeing] a development where we could influence quite a lot of churches and inspire a lot of Christians. But still, it’s a lot of work,” Nachtigal explains.
When it comes to prayer needs, Nachtigal asks for one thing — ask God to use you.
As he’s already said, it takes work in Germany to share Christ, live a life of evangelism, and persevere in a post-evangelized society. However, Nachtigal quotes Matthew 9:37.
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’.”
Ask God how He can use you. Pray for ways to serve and share of Christ’s love in your town. If you are not sure where to start, begin with a training program through organizations like Global Outreach Day or even e3 Partners. Use them to springboard into a life of sharing the Gospel and seeing lives changed because of it.