Germany (MNN) — November 10 marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since that event 20 years ago, the entire landscape of Europe has changed, both politically and economically.
However, those are not the only changes Europe has seen. Since the end of communism, the Church in Europe has also seen its fair share of changes–both good and bad.
"With the fall of communism, a lot of the churches that were in existence prior to that time … were underground churches. Of course, with the wall coming down, that just really opened up the church in Eastern Europe," said Carey Holmquist, strategic developer of EurAsia with Greater Europe Mission.
With this newfound openness, the Church was still cautious with whom they spoke, after having been so protective for years. Holmquist said they slowly became less and less cautious, and religious freedom increased throughout Eastern and Western Europe for almost 20 years, as regulations loosened and few laws were made against religion.
"Now 20 years down the road, it's getting more and more difficult to be able to share your faith on the street. So we're seeing things closing down," Holmquist said.
In addition to more strict regulations, Holmquist said much of the church is still very conservative about with whom they share their faith and when. He said these people have great hearts and compassion for those in need of Christ; however, they need strength and boldness to be open with their faith, even in the face of persecution.
Now, GEM and other ministries throughout Europe must become more creative in their approach of sharing the Gospel.
In Germany, especially, Holmquist said he is seeing more interest among youth for the message of Christ.
One of the main avenue for reaching these searching youth is through musical groups. While they must be careful what they write in their songs, they first strive to reach the youth through building relationships.
Additionally, GEM is working with individuals interested in business opportunities, teaching English and other specialties where their unique gifts are used.
Ultimately, Holmquist said, "For all of us, we have to look at our lives and [say], ‘OK, where does God want me, and with the gifts and abilities that He has given me, how can I be used?'"
Pray for believers across Europe. Pray they will be bold, yet wise in their witness. Also, pray for the youth as they learn about Christ; pray that they will be contagious and passionate about their newfound faith. Pray that their zeal will spark a movement among the next generation of Europeans.
Click here to learn more about GEM and their ministries throughout Europe, as well as how you can get involved or donate.