Population: 82 million (2012)
Official language: German
Major religion: Christianity
IFES movement: Studentenmission in Deutschland (SMD)
Germany is a widely secularized country with strong, long-standing Protestant and Roman Catholic church traditions. There is a small but lively evangelical community, spread amongst the mainline churches and in a variety of free churches and movements.
- 420 Universities with 2.4 million students, 245,000 of them international students
- 70 student groups most of about 20 - 50 members
- 12 full-time staff, 9 regional and 1 in international student ministry, many graduate volunteers; 1 part-time university evangelist
- high school ministry: 10 staff, 650 bible study groups
- graduate ministry: 5 part-time and full-time staff, 10 regional groups, 12 faculty groups
- largest group: about 120
- smallest group: quite a few groups of 5
SMD students are highly capable: they run their programmes by themselves, with staff members only needed for group support, and the training and mentoring of individuals. In many cases student programmes are highly creative.
There are two main challenges the movement faces. One is an increasing hostility on campus from atheist groups and individuals. The second is the failure in churches to provide strong biblical teaching or to model a missional lifestyle. This has meant that many students who come from churches no longer bring either biblical knowledge or a zeal for mission when they join a student group.
One of the most exciting things for SMD in the last years has been the performance of the Mark Drama in many universities. An average of 100 to 200 people attended each performance, many of them non-Christians. The Mark Drama has also been started for graduates in local churches.
In 2014-2015 SMD will start a national wide evangelistic campaign with the Uncover-programme developed by the British movement. There will be several training events to equip students to use the gospel of Luke to reach out to their non-Christian friends.
View from the inside
Gernot Spies is SMD’s General Secretary and is driven by these words from 1 Peter 3:15: ‘But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’
- for SMD’s bi-annual student conferences of around 1000 participants, the next will take place during Easter 2015;
- for the Uncover gospel of Luke outreach;
- for a deeper biblical knowledge within students’ lives.