Located on the Iberian Peninsula at the southwestern tip of Europe and bordered only by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal once had a powerful maritime economy and global influence because of its coveted geographical and economic position. Though Roman Catholicism was established as the state religion and has since been formally separated from the state, it maintains a very important role in traditional Portuguese culture and identity. With 93% of Portugal’s 10 million people identifying as Christian, 87% are Roman Catholic at least in name, and just 3.4% are evangelical believers.
The Portuguese have higher affiliation with belief in God than many of their European counterparts, and even though many Catholic congregants are no longer going to church regularly, there is still openness to spiritual topics. The evangelical church has faced some opposition as it focuses on gospel-centered teaching and relationship with Christ, and the need for believers to share Christ’s love through genuine relationship and dedicated investment is great.
The ease of travel between parts of Portugal and international hubs like Tangier also create opportunities for ministry in North Africa. A missionary based in Portugal could more easily navigate traveling in and out of Islamic cultures while training North African believers for ministry in their own contexts.
Pray for the people of Portugal to re-encounter Christ and leverage their unique culture and geography for ongoing mission.