The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
“If the message is not understandable, no matter how important it is – it will not reach the people”, says Valeria Esteban, a graduate of the training programme started in Spain.
Young evangelists aged 18 to 35 are connecting across Spain to work on their calling to proclaim the gospel to their culture.
After witnessing initiatives which inspire and equip evangelists in other European countries, pastor and evangelist Hélder Favarin thought it was time to start “something specific for young evangelists in Spain”. The vision, he told Evangelical Focus, was to “serve the church in this country with a programme that is relevant and contextualised”.
In 2014, a group of evangelists serving in different parts of the country came together to launch the ‘Timothy Network’ (in Spanish, ‘Red Timoteo’), including the before mentioned Favarin, Martin Durham and Andy Wickham
The platform should “recognise and connect young evangelists”, men and women who have a “passion for preaching the gospel in events, media, churches, universities, streets or other contexts”.
So far, around 70 people have been involved in the course. In 2015, the three first ‘graduates’ finished the programme. A few weeks ago, the 11th gathering saw four new young evangelists close the cycle.
Experienced speakers and mentors are invited to the ‘Timothy Network’ 4-day gatherings to share and give practical advice about of how to connect the gospel message to today’s culture.
A maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend to make sure there is space for small group discussions, personal sharing and prayer.
The ‘Timothy Network’ course is built around four pillars: Calling (“What is an evangelist? “The Holy Spirit in the ministry of an evangelist”…), Context (“Understanding the culture”, “Predominant worldviews in our society”…), Communication (“Articulating the gospel today”, “Developing evangelistic preaching nowadays”), and Church (“The relationship of the evangelist and the local church”, “Forming work teams”).
A “Timothy library” and scholarships are available for those who need it, thanks to funds raised by partners.
Valeria Esteban is one of the evangelists that has finished the ‘Timothy Network’ programme.
Question. What kind of people would you encourage to do join the Timothy Network?
Answer. I would recommend it to all those who have the calling of an evangelist or are asking themselves if this may be their calling. This is for people who are already presenting the gospel to non-believers in whatever context, and thinking: “How can I better grow in this vocation?”
Q. What central idea do you take home after these years of training?
A. I will never forget the talks given by a French evangelist about the importance of “being” and how we are forged through a series of challenges of all types – all of which build the character of the evangelist. This “being” is what us to the actions of “doing”.
Q. Why is it important to have young people trained in preaching the good news to today’s society
A. It is indispensable to contextualise our evangelism. If the message is not understandable, no matter how important it is – it will not reach the people. Nevertheless, I am sure that it is the Holy Spirit who trains those who he calls. God promises to do so, and He prepares His body for the task.
Q. How important are personal relationships among people from different cities and church contexts when it comes to encourage and inspire each other in the evangelisation?
A. In my experience it has been fundamental to see the passion, love and burden that God has put on in others who are also sharing the good news. To see this in so many young people at the same time leads me to thank God and enjoy seeing His sovereign work all over Spain.
More information about ‘Timothy Network’ here (Spanish).