God’s faithfulness in France
Posted on: 16th November 2023
In the 1980s, a small group of students in Sydney began praying earnestly, laying the foundation for long-term gospel partnerships in France that continue to bear fruit.
The first CMS missionaries in France, Owen and Catherine Chadwick, who had been part of this prayer group, arrived in 1991. At the time, the evangelical church in France was growing, but there was a shortage of well-taught biblical leadership. In the student ministry, Groupes Bibliques Universitaires (GBU), the few staff lacked theological training, had limited understanding of the Bible, and a loose grasp of mission.
The impact of student ministry
Since the early 1990s, 21 individuals have served with CMS in France. Yohann Tourne, the General Secretary of GBU, says, “For over 30 years, CMS missionaries have helped grow the movement. They’ve helped clarify our mission and improved their approach to reading and studying the Bible. Generations of students have been trained, some have become staff members, and today, most of the team is French.”
Karina Brabham, a current CMS missionary in France serving with the GBU, says “student ministry provides a wonderful opportunity for young people to engage with the Bible and be discipled. My prayer is for GBU students to live counter-cultural lives for Christ, wholeheartedly serving and honouring God, whether in France or beyond.”
The impact of the GBU extends beyond student ministry, helping to prepare the next generation for leadership roles in churches. Another CMS missionary in France, Josh Apieczonek, says, “There are several leaders in our church planting network who came up through the GBU ministry. One in particular, Samuel Mandras, was a Relais trainee with (former CMS missionary) Paul King and is now serving as a pastor in a church and helping in church planting.”
Great kingdom potential
Today, we celebrate the growth of leaders for the student movement and the church in France, but there remains a substantial need. Many French people are searching for answers to existential and spiritual questions. Opportunities abound to introduce Jesus to those seeking. As Yohann explains “Each year, there are over two million students at university in France, and we only bring 1000 of them together around the Bible. We have plenty of room to grow!”
You can pray with us for God’s kingdom to grow in France and all over the world by signing up for CMS missionary prayer newsletters.
 Relais is a ministry apprenticeship program like Ministry Training Strategy in Australia.