Area: 338,145 sq km
This northern country is 70% forest, 10% lake, 8% arable land.
Population: 5,345,826 Annual Growth: 0.38%
Official language: Finnish, Swedish, Saami, sign language Languages: 23 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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The heritage of sending missionaries is under threat. The strength of mission sending has largely been through parachurch agencies or independent movements within the larger Lutheran framework. The churches need to catch a missions vision and become more involved in the sending process, rather than relying totally on agencies. But an over-centralization of mission-sending structures, under the rubric of the Lutheran Church, could drastically stunt missions as it could effectively isolate mission sending from the congregations altogether. The disconnectedness of many Finns from local churches doesnt help the situation. Specific mission-mobilizing events have helped bring together different agencies and raise the profile of missions. Pray for more workers as well as more supporters.
Particularly needy sectors of society include:
a) Immigrant minority groups. Although Finland has one of Europes lower immigration rates, there are still many minority groups to reach. The number of foreign university students is growing; many of these are from other faiths. Very few churches are actively reaching out to unreached immigrant groups. Pray that foreigners in Finland might have the chance to encounter Jesus in a real and attractive way. Praise God that, at the same time, much of the immigrant population is from a Christian background bringing a vibrant church life to their newfound host country.
b) Indigenous minorities are small in number but unique in culture. The Saami people of Lapland are Europes last truly nomadic people group, and number over 100,000 across the Nordic countries. They are nominally Lutheran, but with an underlying animistic worldview. Pray for the ministries working with them. Pray also for a flourishing of culturally relevant expressions of Christian faith in their midst.
c) Mens ministry is a real need in Finland. Discipling men is difficult in a highly passive and private culture. Pray for ministries that will be able to call Finns into relationships that involve pastoring, mentoring and accountability.
For an additional 5 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Finland.