Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy and literature, and the Olympic Games. While 98 percent of Greeks consider themselves Orthodox, only two percent attend church regularly.
Greece occupies the south of the Balkan Peninsula; it is 80% mountainous, has 1400 islands and the tenth longest coastline in the world. To the north lie Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria, to the east, Turkey. Standing in this position at the edge of Europe, Greek culture has a strong Eastern influence, also due to Ottoman rule from 1453 until 1829. Greek life is noisy; loud conversations with lots of gestures, driving with one hand on the horn and late night partying are the norm. Despite some changes, the role of the family is still strong. Largely mono-cultural in the past, modern Greece is becoming much more multicultural, and the younger generation open to external influences and new ideas.
Tourism and shipping are major sectors of the economy; tourism provides 15% of Greek GDP and employs almost 17% of the workforce, directly or indirectly. Greeks are proud of their heritage from the ancient Greek civilisation, and the country boasts 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Greece is an EU member and a relatively affluent and materialistic society where image and status are very important. The current severe economic crisis has raised awareness of financial, moral and spiritual needs and hit the vulnerable in society especially hard.
Greece was the first European country to hear the Gospel; Paul journeyed to cities like Philippi, Thessaloniki, Athens and Corinth. The Greek state is defined as Eastern Orthodox by its constitution. Whilst 98% of Greeks call themselves Orthodox, only 2% go to church regularly. Just 0.2% of the population belong to evangelical churches which tend to be fairly traditional with strong leadership structures. Many small towns, villages and islands have little or no evangelical witness.
Vision Statement – “Partnering and serving the local church in witnessing Christ to the world.”
Implementing four main strategies to accomplish this vision:
Mobilising the church into world mission;
Facilitating training at appropriate levels for those in OM and the local church;
Resourcing and developing a strong OM team;
To serve and develop practical ministry with the local church.
There are several active Greek Evangelical churches serving their local areas in Athens. OM Greece partners alongside these churches supporting their on-going ministries. We work especially in the area of community projects, with Greeks but also with many immigrants and refugees– people from Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The team is currently working with three evangelical churches and other Greek organisations doing youth work, mercy ministries, discipleship, and ministry to prostitutes and refugees.
The current financial crisis has had a damaging effect on the social, political and economic stability of Greece. The poor are the hardest hit and OM seeks to meet their rising needs in Athens. OM Greece prays that the current crisis will encourage people to search for a lasting hope in Christ and provide opportunities to meet not just physical, but spiritual needs.
OM Greece also seeks to inspire and mobilise Greek believers to pray, give and send workers to other parts of the world.
For more information, please contact us at [email protected]