Predominant Religion: Secular state with freedom of religion. 67% Roman Catholic.
Government: Democratic Republic
Peoples: Indigenous and immigrant ethnic minority figures are approximate due to naturalization, assimilation, illegal immigration and intense anti-foreign propaganda obscuring the issue.
BRIEF HISTORY OF FRANCE
Politics – Democratic republic with strong executive presidency. A core member of the EU, but torn between being a good European state and retaining it’s own unique identity and culture. Economy: Stability and growth leading to a high standard of living. The fifth largest economy in the world with a strong industrial and agricultural base. Danger signs: bloated bureaucracy, heavy state involvement in industry and commerce and an over-generous social welfare system resulting in high taxation (54% of all income) and persistent unemployment (11%).
CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER
There are major spiritual strongholds that hinder acceptance of the Gospel:
a). The brutal persecutions of the Huguenots (French Protestants) in the 16 th and 17 th Centuries is a dark stain on the soul of France. Many were slaughtered and 200,000 fled to other lands – to their enrichment and France’s impoverishment. Yet Calvin, the great reformer and theologian, produced the only authentically French theological expression of Christianity. The loss of it’s biblical Christian population was a contributing factor leading to the explosion of the French Revolution.
b). The French Revolution in 1789-1801 was one of the defining moments of world history. While some good came from this upheaval, it also spawned much violence, desires for world domination, the deification of humanism and ultimately the ideologies that distorted world history for 200 years and only ended with the collapse of European Communism in 1989. The effects of that cataclysm still deeply affect French attitudes to themselves, other nations and to Christianity itself.
c). The insensitivity of the Anglophone nations, especially England and the USA. Evangelical Christianity is seen as an Anglo-Saxon imposition on France together with the cultural, linguistic and economic ‘imperialisms’ perceived to be eroding the French way of life.
d). The surprisingly widespread involvement with occult practices. The 50,000 full-time practitioners of these black arts outnumber the 35,000 known Christian workers. Every level of society is involved, with its inevitable spiritual impact.
France is at a crossroads. Like the national comic hero, Asterix, there is a brave fight against globalization, the need for radical reforms of the bloated welfare state, and state involvement in industry. The government needs courage to take painful decisions which are right for the country but resisted by those with vested interests.
The unreached sectors of French society are many, such as :
1. The nearly 50 million French people who have no real link with a Christian church.
2. The many large cities with few evangelical churches – Nancy has 3 and Nantes, 8.
3. Of the 38,000 communes, around 35,000 have no resident evangelical witness. Many rural communes are quite traditional and resistant to change.
4. The Basques in the southwest who are virtually without an evangelical witness in their language.
5. The Loire Valley, Brittany, Picardy, Limousine, Champagne- Ardennes and Calais which are particularly lacking in evangelical congregations.
6. The island of Corsica. Birthplace of Napoleon. It is renowned for its violent nationalism. In the population of 260,000, there are 12 small groups with 250 evangelical believers.
(Operation World, 21 st Century Edition, WEC International)
GFF will consider any creative means in order to initiate church planting movements among any unreached people group (UPG). We offer career, short term and summer opportunities to be directly involved in reaching UPGs. We are open to going to any UPG if there are no fundamental ministries trying to reach them and there is a team of people who feel God leading them to go with GFF to get the job done.
2. Church Planters
G.F.F. is looking for men and women who are called of God to serve on the mission field. G.F.F. has competent, experienced leadership and is willing to assist new missionaries in becoming successful missionaries for God’s glory.