The Church in Europe
For more than a thousand years, Europe was the hot bed of Christianity. It was European missionaries who sailed the seven seas to tell the world about Jesus. John Owen, George Whitefield, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon are a few names among many in a catalogue of European Christians who have affected our world with the gospel.
Sadly, today “Reformation Europe” has flat-lined. “Christian” Europe has fewer evangelical believers than any other continent. Millions have turned their backs on God, and our part of the globe has plunged into deep spiritual darkness, moral confusion, and cultural secularization. The decline of faith in Europe has left Christianity here on the brink of extinction. Ancient church buildings are empty and in disrepair. Biblical truth is a forgotten relic from a bygone era.
The Purpose of God
Yet, as John 1:1–4 confidently reminds us, Jesus is “the light [that] shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Throughout the Scriptures, God has revealed his purpose to have a people for himself, to whom he will reveal his grace and glory and through whom he will display his grace and glory to the world.
According to the books of Acts and Ephesians, the church is God’s primary mission vehicle to reach the world, and church planting is the primary means by which the gospel will go forth globally.
It was true historically. It is still true today.
A Family of Churches Planting Together
As a small local church in Bristol, England, we are so pleased to be part of a family of churches where each local congregation is committed to the Great Commission (cf. Matt 28:16–20), and has come together with a common vision that transcends our own walls, city boundaries, and national borders.
Our own church, Grace Church, exists today because of the unmerited, sovereign grace of God, but also because of this shared value, having been planted eleven years ago through the equipping, training, support and care that comes through our partnership together. We’ve received so much grace over those years, and a major channel of that grace has been through the faithfulness to the great commission of our brothers and sisters in Sovereign Grace churches, linking arms together in gospel partnership. So thank you!
Looking to the future, we pray with hope, longing for God to raise up church planters and establish new churches so that there might be a powerful gospel reformation in Europe, North America, and across the globe.
The Value of Partnership
We believe that partnership allows us to punch above our weight, because we are stronger as churches together than we are apart. Therefore, we want to join with you to push back the darkness of our world by planting and establishing new churches: local, loving, living communities of believers, committed to Christ, committed to each other, and committed to the mission given to us by Jesus.
Together let us proclaim the good news of the gospel to people from every tribe, language, and nation, and pray to see the lives of countless people transformed by the power of Jesus, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God.
Nathan Smith is the lead pastor of Grace Church (Bristol, England). He is a 2001 graduate of the Pastors College and completed an 18-month church-planting internship at Christchurch (Newport, Wales) prior to leading the church-planting team to establish Grace Church in September of 2002. As the lead pastor, Nathan is primarily responsible for preaching and teaching, leadership development, and the evangelistic outreach of the church. Nathan married Clare in 2000, and they have triplet sons, two little girls, and a newborn son.