The boot-shaped Italian peninsula dominates the Mediterranean Sea. Italy also includes the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Italy's three millennia of history and culture have probably had more influence over the development of the western world than any other nation - through its language, art, law, politics and of course, the Roman Empire (the largest the world has ever seen). In recent decades Italian leaders have developed a reputation for scandal and corruption. The infamous Sicilian Mafia and Neapolitan Camorra control much of the country's wealth and have influence in every level of society. Of course, Vatican City in Italy is the home and head of the world-wide Catholic Church.
Millions of refugees use Italy's coastline as an easy entry point for the rest of Europe.
The Pentecostal movement has grown mainly through the immigration of believers from Africa and South America. The bigger and fastest growing Pentecostal churches are in the south of Italy while in the north the ethnic churches are multiplying - but they are not mixing with locals and have the service in their own language. The central of Italy (known in history as the Vatican kingdom) has only small churches and divided. In Rome we count 150 Evangelical Churches but they are divided in many denominations and groups. The biggest churches in Rome are the Ethnic Churches while Italian speaking Churches are small. Attendance in the Catholic Churches in Italy has gone down from 59% in the 2000 to 47% in 2010 and in the Pope has decreased from 77% to 46%.
There are growing numbers of Christians in some parts of Italy - Calabria, Sicily and Naples. Churches are beginning to work together more to reach people in Italy and abroad.
The Catholic Church is in crisis - with less people coming to church and falling numbers of priests. At the same time the number of charismatic Catholic churches is growing. Pray that millions of Italians would have a living, exciting and life changing relationship with Jesus, instead of dead tradition. Occultism and Satanism are widespread in Italy, one the main global centres is in Turin. 100,000 full-time magicians in Italy out-number Catholic priests three to one! Pray for godly, humble and compassionate leaders in Italy who can be an example in their lifestyle as much as their words and inspire people to follow Jesus and love Him more. There are few churches in the richer, northern cities of Venice, Milan, Turin and Bologna.
Many of the churches remain small and the challenge is discipleship. This year the church started a Saturday Bible School with a few students but unfortunately it has not continued due to deterioration in attendance. However there have been some great testimonies this year.