France (MNN) — The number of Muslims in France has risen exponentially over the past 30 years, now peaking at about 5 to 6 million people. Meanwhile the number of evangelical Christians remains around 500,000.
According to International Mission Board, only 80 percent of the French have even touched a Bible.
There are several reasons for this dramatic shift — some clear factors and others speculations. Many of the Muslims in France are immigrants who either previously practiced Islam or found unity in converting. One West African immigrant born into a Christian family converted to Islam after concluding that that was the only way for him to find acceptance amongst other West African immigrants.
Another factor in the movement away from Christianity seems to be the general French attraction to intellectual conversation and debate. Christians who are unwilling to join in these dialogues are unlikely to gain much credibility in France.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the lull in evangelical Christians, however, stems from the absence of willing missionaries. Missionary Gracie Couloir has been in France for 17 years and argues, "We really do have fields that are ready for the harvest here. We just don't have the harvesters."
Having multiple "harvesters" is absolutely crucial at this point in time for the French. Younger generations are beginning to question the traditions set by their Muslim parents but have not been introduced to Jesus as an alternative. IMB is confident that with enough devoted Christ-followers on the field, believers could begin to impact and transform France and all of Europe.
If you think God may be calling you to step into the mission field in Europe, or if you know someone who may be interested, click here.