Witness to Following Jesus in Athens, Greece

John Thompson

Abstract


Though the Orthodox Church is still the official religion of the Greece and most Greeks have a deep cultural attachment to Orthodox Christianity, the Greek people are becoming increasingly secular and unengaged in the religion of their nation. Active participation in the Orthodox Church is in decline even though a majority of Greeks believe in God. In this environment dominated by nominal Christianity, the small minority of Evangelical Protestants desire their fellow Greeks to experience a vibrant personal faith in Jesus. In addition to the decline of religious practices among Orthodox Christians, Athens has been in the throes of both the ongoing Greek economic crisis and the European refugee crisis. In light of these present social, economic and religious realities, qualitative data was gathered from a sample of Protestant pastors and para-church leaders in Athens in May 2017 on the subject of witness in their city. The purpose was to explore what God might be doing evangelistically in Athens given these particular environmental factors. Based on the data gathered, three observable trends in the witness of Protestants in the capital city of Greece appear to be taking place presently. First, there is a shift from hit-and-run evangelism to compassion ministry that is facilitating authentic relational witness. Second, migration over the past decade has fueled church growth among Protestants. Third, secularization among Greeks in this Orthodox nation seems to be opening hearts to new birth experiences in Christ.

Keywords


Evangelism; Missions; Evangelical; Orthodox

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References


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