Why France?

France has a divine calling

“Learn, my son, that the kingdom of France is predestined by God to defend the Church of Christ Our Lord. This kingdom will be great among all the kingdoms of the earth. In as much as it is loyal to its calling, it will be victorious. If it proves unfaithful in this, it will be punished harshly. Nevertheless, it will remain until the end of time.”

Saint Remy, Bishop of Reims, at Clovis’s baptism in 498 A-C.

The Gallic Church: The first centuries after Christ’s resurrection

In the first centuries of the Christian era, the church in Gaul was one of the strongest in the world and had many great leaders. Irenaeus, the church father and bishop of Lyon, played a significant role in defending the worldwide church against heresy. Martin of Tours established one of the first centers of missionary training in the Western world. In the following years, France sent out many missionaries to evangelize the surrounding nations. Germanus, a renowned healing evangelist, went to Britain. Patrick, who evangelized the Irish, was trained there.

In 496, Clovis I became the first French King to convert to Christianity.  This was a significant event that changed the entire course of the French nation.

Clovis became king of the Franks at the age of 15 and had to consolidate the Kingdom, beset by numerous attacks from other pagan clans. Widower of a first marriage, he became involved in a second marriage with the Christian princess Clotilde who shared the Gospel with him. In a stalemate during the battle of Tolbiac in 496 and not knowing how to escape defeat, he appealed to his wife’s God, promising to abandon his gods and surrender to Him, if He granted him victory. He would have cried out on the battlefield:

“Jesus Christ, son of the God of Clotilda, if you will give me victory over my enemies, I will be baptized in your name!”

The full story of his conversion is recounted by Gregory of Tours (539-594) in his work History of the Franks.

According to the book The Christian Trumpet by Gaudentius Rossi (1817-1891), St. Remigius gave this prophecy to Clovis on the day of his baptism:

“…the Kingdom of France is predestined by God for the defense of the Roman Church, which is the only true Church of Christ.  This kingdom shall one day be great among the kingdoms of the earth, and shall embrace all the limits of the Roman Empire, and shall submit all other kingdoms to its own scepter.  It shall last until the end of time.  It shall be victorious and prosperous as long as it will remain faithful to the Holy Roman See, and will not be guilty of those crimes which ruin nations; but it shall be rudely punished every time that it will become unfaithful to its vocation.”

We believe that God’s calling on France is to defend the true Church of Christ – all those who call on the name of the Lord and have given their lives to him – whether through the more outspoken Evangelical movements or through other Protestant and Catholic works.

Evangelicals In France

For the first time since the 1950s, French Protestants make up close to 3% of the population – driven largely by growth in the Evangelical population (representing 1.6% of the population). While churches are being planted at an increasing rate, as of 2023, there is still an average of just one Evangelical church for every 25,000 inhabitants in France.

The goal of most denominations is to see one church for every 10,000 inhabitants – making the Gospel accessible to all French people. For a complete breakdown of church statistics and information, please visit the CNEF website.

Evangelicals by Numbers
650,000

Regularly practice their faith (all ages).

3/4

Evangelical Protestants represent 1/3 of all Protestants but ¾ of those who regularly practice their faith.

10x

The number of Evangelical Protestants has increased ten times in the past 60 years (in 1950, there were 50,000 practicing Evangelicals).

70

Out of all the local churches that belong to a denomination, over 70% are affiliated with the CNEF.

45

The majority of local churches belong to one of 45 denominations.

10 days

A new local church is born every ten days – about 35 new churches annually.

2,521

There are 2,521 local churches in France, counting communities that offer at least 3 services/ mo. on the weekends (in 1970, there were 769). Additionally, there are 500 more houses of worship that meet less frequently.

Spirituality

Faith and Beliefs

53% of the country declares having no religion. Between 2009 and 2020, secularization has increased from 45% to 53% only in the 18-49 age bracket.

Catholicism remains the leading religion (29% of the population declare themselves Catholic) followed by Islam, declared by a growing number of followers (10%). Islam followers in France represent the largest Muslim population of Europe.

The number of people declaring another Christian religion (protestant, evangelical, etc.) is also rising, to 9%.

Occult sciences: On the contrary, according to a 2020 study, the occult is an increasingly popular phenomenon as 58% of the interviewed people said they believed in at least one of the “parascience” disciplines, namely:

  • astrology (41%)
  • palmistry (29%)
  • witchcraft (28%)
  • clairvoyance (26%)
  • numerology (26%)
  • and fortune-telling (23%)

It has also been steadily increasing for at least the last twenty years: belief in astrology and fortune-telling has risen by 8 points since 2000, reaching 41% and 26% respectively.
As a result, more than a quarter of French people have consulted a specialist (26%) at least once in their lives. 

Religious Practice

Only 8% of Catholics regularly attend a place of worship.

Just over 20% of other Christians, Muslims and Buddhists regularly attend a place of worship, and 34% of Jews.

69% of the population do not have a Bible.

Intergenerational transmission of faith

Intergenerational religious transmission processes shape the religious landscape over the long term:

91% of people raised in Muslim families follow their parents’ religion.

84% among Jews

67% among Catholics

69% among other Christians

There are 100,000 mediums in France and about 2,500 pastors (40 mediums for every 1 pastor).

The French spend 4 billion EUR every year on spiritism.

YET…

The number of evangelicals in France has multiplied by almost 15 in the last 70 years! Praise God!

From 50,000 in 1950, today, there are over 745,000 evangelicals of all ages with regular activity in 2,700 local churches (parishes) in metropolitan France. 

Evangelicals are currently in the majority within French Protestantism in terms of the number of regular churchgoers (they account for three-quarters) and the number of local churches.

35 additional local churches are established every year. That’s one every 10 days!
This phenomenon is not confined to major urban centers. It’s happening just about everywhere in France.

At this moment, there is in average 1 Evangelical Protestant church per 25,000 inhabitants in France. The members of the National Counsel of French Evangelicals have set themselves a target of 1 per 10,000.

Source : Conseil National des Évangéliques de France, Les Église Protestantes Évangéliques en France, Livret Cartographique et Statistique, 2023.

There are currently 45 known evangelical unions or denominations, 33 of which are members of the Conseil National des Évangéliques de France.

History of Christianity in France

Explore the fascinating history of Christianity in France, from its ancient roots to the present day. Uncover the struggles, triumphs, and transformations that have shaped the spiritual landscape of France.