Pizza. Pasta. Art. Football. Cars. Fashion. Gelato. There is much to love about Italy, a long mountainous peninsula that dominates the central Mediterranean.
With sixty million people, Italy is the fifth-most populous country in Europe. Despite being home to the New Testament “church at Rome” and various Anabaptist and Protestant groups throughout history, Italy is still a country that desperately needs the gospel.
The Roman Catholic Church has its headquarters in Rome and continues to exercise much influence over the Italian people. 74% of Italians identify as Roman Catholics, though some studies have shown that at most 15% faithfully practice Catholicism. Other belief systems such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satanism, and those with no religion abound.
Operation World estimates that only about 1.1% of the population are evangelical! The North American Mission Handbook records a drastic decline of Baptist missionaries from North America, from 57 in 2003 to only 16 in 2009!
Despite the challenges, Italy remains a strategic place for gospel outreach for the following the reasons:
- It’s shares land borders with several European countries and sea borders with many Africa and Middle Eastern nations.
- It is a world leader in culture, economy, military, and diplomacy.
- It has a growing number of immigrants from various countries (5 million in 2016).
Please pray for laborers to be ready like Paul “to preach the gospel to [the people] that are at Rome also” (Romans 1:16).
Pray for church planters to plant churches in the following urban areas in Italy:
- Milan – 5.1 million
- Rome – 4.4 million
- Naples – 3.4 million
- Turin – 2.3 million
- Palermo – 1.3 million
- Bari – 1.3 million
- Catania – 1.1 million
- Florence – 1 million
- Bolgna – 1 million
- Genoa – 841 thousand
- Venice – 853 thousand
- Messina – 626 thousand
- Calabria – 548 thousand
- Cagliari – 431 thousand
If you are interested in mission and church planting work in Europe, get in touch with Vision Baptist Missions.
(Much of the information in this article was taken from Wikipedia.)