Population: 11.28 million (2012)
Official language: Greek
Major religion: Orthodox Christianity
Greece is a proud nation with strong links to the ancient past; however there are major economic and social difficulties. The future is uncertain for many. Virtually all Greeks consider themselves to be Orthodox Christians, though in reality Greece is in many ways quite secular, with a growing atheism. To be a follower of Christ but not in the Orthodox context often means you are considered an outsider, so many evangelical Christians feel a sense of isolation and marginalisation.
IFES in Greece
- about 35 tertiary institutions, 10 IFES groups in 8 cities
- 65-70 students
- 3 full-time staff seconded from the UK, 3 Greek part-time staff, volunteer GS
- largest student group: 20 in Athens
- smallest group: 3 in Komotini
The strength of the movement is the conviction and perseverance of its students that the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ should be at the very heart of their university. Although Greek universities are a challenging context in which to share Jesus, the students’ aim is to be more present and visible on campus. Christian students have very close relationships, many having been friends for much of their childhood, but much courage is needed in being open about their faith in the face of a sceptical atheism.
They spreading the gospel through Bible studies, the “Coffee & Cookies” relational evangelism programme, apologetics events, conferences, rallies, leadership training and evangelistic campaigns. The vision of the team is to bring the Greek movement into maturity, with a strong presence in all the major universities
View from the inside
Jonathan and Dawn Clark are InterAction workers leading the IFES ministry in Greece. ‘I am convinced of the potential to mobilise believers,’ shares Jonathan, ‘to train them in biblically robust and warm evangelism, to reach their fellow students with the gospel of grace and to produce leaders for the church of Christ in the whole nation and beyond.’ He is encouraged by the parable of the growing seed in Mark 4: 26-29. ‘The beginnings of IFES in England, plus my own student experience in Birmingham in the mid-90s inspires me, as I know the power of the gospel to inspire believers and to save unbelievers.’
- for vision and strategy to bring the gospel to the universities;
- that students would be filled with a passion to see God’s grace reach others, as the gospel is lived and spoken in daily life;
- for financial provision;
- for long-term Greek staff to join in the ministry.