Whenever you hear a missionary or someone who has toiled the spiritually infertile soil of France talk about statistics, they usually all use the same one: less than 1% of the population know Jesus Christ. While it is impossible to say how accurate this truly is, it’s certainly somewhere between one and three percent. Having traveled to the US many times in recent years to preach and share what God is doing in France, I had to do some investigating of my own. What I found was truly staggering.
More pastors need to be raised within France
Here are some bullet points.
- France is slightly smaller than Texas. Population 68 million.
- Half the population believes in faith healers.
- One-quarter of the population put their faith in astrology.
- An estimated 10 million people pay around $45 billion for occult consultations—three times the amount paid to their family doctors.
You get the picture. The occult is huge in France. But it was this last statistic that sent sadness trundling up from my gut. There are 30,000 registered Mediums and Spiritual Healers currently active in France, which means there are more occult workers than registered pastors. Take a pause and think about it for a second.
A country that puts a huge emphasis on spirits does not have an adequate number of pastors to tell them about the actual Spirit that reigns over all.
In my experience of working with both visiting missionaries and the national church, it is clear that more pastors need to be raised within France. I am not saying there hasn’t been or continues to be fruitful partnerships between missionaries and nationals, but there must come a time when the paradigm shifts to looking within French churches to see the next generation raised up.
As a recent graduate of LEAD who now serves in a pastoral role in Paris, we are seeing the model change ever so slightly in how to approach educating and equipping future generations in France for God’s glory. My vision, hope, and fervent prayer is that new partnerships can be forged for lasting Kingdom impact in the French-speaking world.