70% of the world's art is in Italy.
We know the Renaissance began in Italy and spread throughout Europe. But did you know the word 'renaissance' means 'rebirth' or that it began in Florence? This is our vision - a Gospel renaissance in Italy.
Our hope is twofold. First, we hope to love our neighbors and our community well, with the gospel central in all we do as we live our lives and build relationships in Florence. I will be working toward a Master's degree in painting and drawing, while Amelie will be in school, growing in her gifts, and developing friendships.
Secondly, we desire to see Christ glorified with and through the fine arts to Italians, students and even tourists, that produces a sustainable fellowship of Italian saints creatively pushing the Gospel forward in an increasingly visual, post-Christian culture.
Specifics will become more clear once on the ground, but for now I see everything from Bible Studies to outreaches, embracing the many ways to talk about art in this city, to inviting gap year students who love the Lord to study and love our city with the transformative power of the gospel.
One thing I find remarkable about my story is that God made me a creative on purpose, and whether I chose to recognize his part in that or not, it was still true. In my life there were always those people to whom I was attracted, but couldn't understand. They were Christians, and I wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Later I came to understand this was God, the one whom I refused, calling me to himself, because he knew me.
This is, with honesty and humility, what we desire to walk out in Florence as a family, particularly among it's creatives, and in doing that, I know the LORD will be faithful.
FACTS about Italy
- Less than 1% of 61 million people in Italy are Bible believing Christians (that's less than Germany).
- Italy has never seen revival as the Reformation never crossed the Alps.
- 80% of Italians claim Catholicism, but only 3% are active (attend mass at least once per year). It's like living in the Bible Belt of the American south - but worse. Hearts are much harder.
- Most missionaries only last two years.
- Religion is compartmentalized and prosperity gospel has caused much confusion and damage.
- Churches are empty, but full of relics and dead religion. There is no room for the Bible, or the gospel of being saved by grace alone through faith alone.
- There are few resources to disciple and train believers in Italy; many want to share their faith but don't know how.
- There is a great need for unity among evangelicals in Italy. Small churches are suspicious of outsiders.
- Research shows that over half of the Italian population lives in locations with less than 50,000 inhabitants, 35% with less than 15,000 inhabitants and 15% with less than 5000. Most are without a gospel witness. Cities are key to train leaders.
- Florence is a city of roughly 400,000 people. 80% are Italian; the rest are from all over the world, mainly students.
- During the summer months, Florence swells to a city of 1.5 million, all there to see art.
The country faces a national crisis under the weight of humanitarian aid when it is struggling to care for it's own. As of 2/2017, Italy receives 4,100 refugees per week. Southern Italy and Sicily are most particularly affected. If you would like to be involved, please contact us, and we can connect you.