In France, every ten days a church is planted


Western Europe


Photo AFP, Nicolas Tucat

Every ten days, a new evangelical church is planted in France. Such church growth does not exist in any other European country.

This says Daniel Liechti, who is president of the Church Planting Commission of the National Council of Evangelical Churches in France (CNEF). The magazine ‘Move’ from the free church Alliance Mission, an organisation which plants churches as well, interviewed him.

According to Liechti, who is Swiss by birth, the church in France is rapidly declining. “Just 40 years ago, in big churches in Alsace and southern France, 80 per cent of the children were baptised. Today, we are well under 50 per cent.” According to Liechti, secularisation has hugely impacted a single generation.

Therefore, according to Liechti, is it essential to spread the gospel actively. “When you look at Christians, we almost only see people who have been in contact with a Christian community for months or years”, says Liechti. “It is absolutely important to bring the gospel to the cities and the neighbourhoods.”


According to Liechti, who is Swiss by birth, there are 2,500 mostly evangelical congregations in France. There was one congregation for every 31,000 inhabitants in 2010; now, there is one for every 29,000 inhabitants.

Liechti thinks this number should be much lower. “When there is one congregation for every 10,000 inhabitants, anyone could find a church in a reasonable time frame.” Therefore, he started the church planting initiative ’1 pour 10,000’ (one for 10,000).

In the interview, Liechti describes the working method of the church planters. He uses an example from downtown Paris. “There, we have a team where the leader and a large part of his team –almost 20 people– are very good at gospel music. They started a gospel choir where believers and non-believers sing each week. (…) This is how friendships are made.”

Liechti describes how the planters set up a program with Bible study evenings in houses, with a service that is also structured gospel-like. “This church started with 20 team members, and after five or six years, it now has regularly 60 to 70 people in the service.”


According to the German press agency IDEA, there are no official data on the religious affiliation of the population in France because state and religious communities are strictly separated. According to the daily Le Monde, 51 per cent of France’s approximately 67 million inhabitants are Catholic. Three per cent of the French population identify themselves as Protestant, whereas 31 per cent do not belong to any religious community.



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