Population: 61 million (2012)
Official language: Italian
Major religion: Roman Catholicism
IFES movement: Gruppi Biblici Universitari (GBU)
Italy is the country of poets, artists and sailors, and the great beauty of its cultural heritage is well known in the whole world. Yet the Italians’ present is uncertain because of the financial crisis. Being a Christian in Italy means finding a way to break though the misconceptions and static religious traditions to present Jesus Christ as a living reality.
- about 70 universities, 18 GBU groups
- 8 full-time staff, 2 part-time and 7 volunteers
- graduate ministry
- largest student group in Rome (30 students)
- several small groups (2-5 students)
The GBU is really encouraged by their training event for student leaders which happens in October. Student leaders are invited to take part in this event before activities start in the GBU groups throughout the country. Another event which is bearing fruit is the national outreach week organised every year in a different city. Yet it is sometimes a challenge to train young staff, to coach and disciple student leaders and to sustain the work in the current financial situation.
View from the inside
Johan Soderkvist is the General Secretary of GBU Italy. He says, ‘The GBU had a great impact on my life as a student both for my faith and for the way I live life. I now want every generation of students to have the same opportunity, if not a better one. I am still doing this work thanks to the enthusiasm I can see in our students’.
- for the national events (mission week and conferences): that God's Word may be proclaimed faithfully and effectively and that students can be properly equipped to share Jesus in the universities where they study;
- for the financial support of the new staff workers, that they can be encouraged in their ministry and encourage students to grow in their knowledge of Jesus;
- for the movement’s financial needs to be met.