Reaching the Unreached
One of the three focuses of Grace's approach to missions is being a part of planting churches in unreached areas of the world. To be categorized as an unreached people group, there must be less than 2% of the people group or country who would identify themselves as an evangelical Christian. While we are committed to supporting many different efforts across the world reaching the unreached, we have prayerfully decided to make Italy our primary target.
Italy, according to Operation World is 1.1 % protestant. The IMB places this number at 0.9%. Most on the ground in Italy would say that this number is too high. Many at this point would ask, but isn't the rest of the country Roman Catholic? No. According to the last Italian census less than 2% of Italians go to any kind of church (protestant or catholic) more than 3 times in a year. Italy is a post Christian, unreached culture.
The Lord has been working for some time to stir the hearts of those at Grace for this country. Through leaders in this church, hundreds have gone on mission trips there over the past eight years. We have a group of people currently learning Italian in the hopes of moving there.
We are currently working with a number of church planters over there as well as other ministries, but have a formal partnership with Chiesa Nuova Vita. Chiesa Nuova Vita is an Acts 29 church plant some of our members helped to start and pastored by Justin Valiquette. We are also working with Italian theologians to develop seminary level training both in a campus environment as well as bringing seminary into churches and homes. Very little good theological material exists in the Italian language which has hindered theological development there. Our hope is to help fund the development of these materials and help train pastors ourselves via short term trips and Skype.
We are also excited to partner with Franco Bosio and Agape Italia as they work to reach students and families with the gospel. Franco has become a dear friend of this church and we are thankful for his leadership in that country.
These are young, but exciting partnerships. Our hope is that the Lord will establish churches, train pastors and lead us onto other places in the country we can be of help. If you are interested in a short-term opportunity, in a pastoral internship with this church or want to contribute financially to this effort, contact Drew Narmour.