My heart is moved by Paris! Here are some reasons why:
Paris is a city of 12 million people which includes 2.5 million immigrants and internationals.
Twelve. Million. People. Twice the population of Indiana in one city. Paris has about 55,000 people per square mile. That’s a lot of humanity packed into not a lot of space. A lot of opportunity to meet people and affect people’s lives forever. And a lot of opportunity for changed people to share Jesus with their colleagues, neighbors, and families.
Less than 1% of people in Paris are Evangelical Christians.
[pullquote]As to the question, “Is God disappearing?”, I can only think that French Christianity is indeed fading because it is upheld by families whose hearts are not deeply committed to it as part of their heritage. – Jessica Reed, The Guardian UK[/pullquote]
While almost half of the French population describes themselves as Catholic, half of the French Catholics say that they do not even believe in God. There are people who practice other religions as well, the most prevalent being Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. But the overwhelming sense in France is lack of any faith system whatsoever. How can I turn away from a city with 12 million people where a very small percentage has a relationship with God? How can they know unless we tell them?
The world is coming to Paris.
20% of the population of Paris are immigrants and internationals. People from all over the world come to Paris to work, study, or create. There are people coming to Paris from countries where we are not allowed to send missionaries. There are people coming to Paris from unreached people groups, which means entire cultures of people that have never, in the history of their culture, heard about Jesus. What an opportunity we have to reach them!
Paris is a strategic place to do ministry because the internationals in Paris won’t stay there forever. They will go to other places or they will go home and become the best possible avenue for their families and home cultures to know the love of Christ. Many of them are in Paris for a short time and I believe that the transformations we see in people’s lives will carry over into lives being changed across the globe!
Parisian believers are desperate for community.
Faith is a very private thing to the French. Which means that people don’t often engage in conversation or debate about faith or religious beliefs with people they are not very close with. Because of this, often French Christians feel very alone and they need Christian community to find encouragement, discipleship, and prayer.
And it’s not just the Christians! Even though there are masses of people everywhere, people are often quite lonely in this beautiful city. We have had several people come to The Bridge because they longed for friendships, and they ended up choosing to commit their lives to Christ!