Berlin is one of the great urban centers of the world; it’s a strategic, influential, multicultural city. Berlin is the largest city in Germany and, since German reunification in 1990, is re-establishing itself as one of the most influential cities in Europe-shaping the landscape of politics, arts and media, the culture, and academics throughout the continent. Yet the controversial history of Berlin continues to affect the vibe of the city. It forms a society of vast diversity, open tolerance, alternative lifestyles and an edginess that is uniquely Berlin.
Although Berlin has a very long and heavy history, it’s a city that’s still very much in its adolescence, changing rapidly. It’s a city in a country where the Reformation was born, and yet where most churches stand empty. As in many urban centers, Berlin is full of wonder and full of heartache. It is a place in need of the gospel.
Metro population: 3.3 million
Twelve governing burroughs with one hundred distinct neighborhoods within those burroughs.
Religion: Tolerance & Diversity. According to a 2012 University of Chicago study the former East Germany is one of the least religious places on the planet. Only 1.5% of the city’s population follows Christ.
60% of Christians in Berlin are over 50 years old.
It is a city of great diversity representing 190 nations from around the world.
It’s a lonely city; about one-third of Berlin’s residents live alone.
It is a city with high rates of poverty. One in three children in Berlin are on public assistance compared to one in nine for the rest of the country.
Our Call to Berlin
God has done an amazing thing. He has called us from beautiful rural, southwest Wisconsin to urban, Berlin Germany. And while this has been somewhat of a surprise to us, it is no surprise to God.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:16
We have joined ReachGlobal, the international mission of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as long term staff members of the Berlin City Team. We didn’t realize this at the time of our calling, but there is a concerted effort by ReachGlobal to reach the complex urban centers of the world. Why? In 2007, for the first time in recorded history, half of the world’s population lived in cities. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. Fulfilling the Great Commission will require reaching the urban centers of the world.
To that end, ReachGlobal wants to raise up 1,000,000 disciplemakers to influence 100,000,000 people around the world through 100 strategic Acts 19 cities. An Acts 19 city is a city of influence that affects an entire region for the Gospel. Berlin heads ReachGlobal’s list of strategic urban centers.
Additionally, ReachGlobal wants to see 20 families sent and planted in Berlin over the next 10 years. We’ve been swept up into something much bigger than ourselves.
Why should Christians in America care about the spiritual plight of Europe? Here’s why. Europe is the intellectual center of the world and the leading educator of the rest of the world. The fastest growing religion in the world, ‘unbelief’, finds its epicenter in Berlin, a city frequently referred to as the atheist capital of the world. The post-modern, post-Christian elixir fermenting in Berlin is being exported to the rest of the world and is having a profound effect on the cultural and religious landscape of the United States.
For more information about the strategic nature of Europe in world missions please read the white paper entitled “Why Invest in Europe?” by Dr. G.A. Pritchard.