The work of GLO began in Australia in 1965 when a visionary young Christian, Colin Tilsley, began to mobilise teams to go to strategic cities and engage in widespread evangelism. The very first team consisted of 10 members who went to Madras for two years and distributed half a million gospel packages. Colin continued to mobilise Australian Christians, but moved to New Zealand in 1967 to repeat the process, before coming to the UK in 1971 where he established the work of GLO in Europe. GLO Europe, which is based in Motherwell, Scotland, is a pan- European work tasked with reaching this most needy of continents.
What is GLO Europe?
GLO’s strapline sums it all up. GLO is about ‘growing mission focussed churches in Europe’. Its desire is to mobilise and motivate Christians all over Europe to share the good news about Jesus so that the Church can become strong and vibrant and replicate itself all over the continent.
Europe is one of the most spiritually needy places on earth and the only continent in the world where the Church has shrunk over the past 50 years. Indeed there are 10 times more African evangelicals than European and a country like Slovenia has fewer evangelicals than even Saudi Arabia. Europe is a hard place to do evangelism and most Europeans have never had a meaningful conversation with any Christian about beliefs or spiritual realities. This is why the evangelisation of Europe is one of the great mission priorities of our age.
What does GLO do?
Four words sum up what the GLO strategy for Europe is all about. These are:
EVANGELISE – GLO wants to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus Christ, using every appropriate method.
ESTABLISH – GLO wants to plant local churches and strengthen existing ones, so as to extend God’s Kingdom.
TRAIN – GLO wants to equip Christians to be more effective in sharing their faith and serving their community, as well as leading effectively in the Church.
RESOURCE – GLO wants to resource mission all over Europe and provide Christians with the tools for effective service.
These objectives are accomplished in a variety of ways. GLO tends to do church planting by sending resident teams to strategic locations where they engage in a range of evangelistic activity which will, in time and with much prayer, see a church come into fruition. Once the church is planted local leaders take over so that every church plant becomes a fully-fledged independent church. The work of the resident teams is supported by short term mission teams, typically lasting from a few days to two weeks. In a typical summer GLO would send around 30 short term teams (6-10 in size) to locations across Europe where team members can share their faith and bring the gospel to spiritually needy people.
GLO is also committed to training, both through the work of Tilsley College (GLO’s training wing) and also through church-based training across the UK and also into Europe.