Saturday, January 20   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Evangelical Focus is three years old
When was the first time you visited Evangelical Focus?




ELF 2016: Christians called to “unity in love and a life of fearlessness”

More than 700 participants at the European Leadership Forum conference in Poland. Networks, seminaries and plenary sessions gave biblical perspectives on current issues. John Piper: “Prayer is central, the world does not need more Christians with powerless ministries”.

AUTHOR Joel Forster , Evangelical Focus WISLA (POLAND) 02 JUNE 2016 16:12 h GMT+1
john piper, european leadership forum, 2016 John Piper in one of the 2016 European Leadership Forum plenary sessions. / FOCL

More than 700 participants from across Europe took part in the 2016 European Leadership Forum conference (21-26 May) in Wisla, Poland.

Experienced leaders in many areas led dozens of sessions in a very rich programme which aimed to “promote, unify and strengthen evangelical Christianity in Europe; and provide biblical, intellectual, and spiritual resources to feed and encourage Christian leaders.”


Discussions in groups during one of the networks. / FOCL



Theologian and author John Piper led the Bible expositions in the mornings, speaking from the letter to the Philippians. “Every part of creation, every star and every human being in the world displays God’s glory”, Piper said, “God even exalted Christ for the Father’s glory”.

“All over the Bible, God is ultimately committed to the glory of God”. This is “a stumbling block for many”, he admitted, and quoted the opinions of people like Oprah Winfrey or Brad Pitt and others who see the God of Biblical Christianity as an “egomaniac.”

But the reality, Piper argued from the teaching of the apostle Paul, is that God’s glory is the answer to what people need. Not pointing to Him stops mission: “If you glorify yourself, you distract people from what can satisfy their souls.”

“Christ is magnified in you when he is more precious and more satisfying than all what life can offer and all that death can take”, the theologian said. “Christ will be most magnified in Europe when Europe is most satisfied in Him.”

To live a “life worthy of the gospel”, as the apostle Paul described it, means to “have unity in love for the cause of the gospel; and a life of fearlessness, even when the odds are against you in Europe.”



“Europe is not impressed”, he continued, “and doesn’t care about Christian organisations, about our buildings or congresses”, Piper said. “What is impressive is when Christians give their life for others. People want to know if we care for one another, the world is aching for love.”

He also called for a a life of real humility, in which Christians leaders look for the interest of others (“the family, health, reputation, education, success, happiness, salvation... of others”) as much as for their own.


John Piper preached from Philippians. / FOCL

“To count others more significant than ourselves is to stop assessing whether someone deserves your ministry. You regard them as deserving. We are counted righteous because of Christ.” The model to follow is Jesus: “Christ loved me, died for me, forgave me, justified me… when He owed me nothing.”



In a following session, Piper argued that justification by faith alone is central to Biblical Christianity. The theologian described “five distortions” which threaten the understanding of this doctrine: “The blurring of the line between the evangelical understanding and the Roman Catholic teaching; the claim that the doctrine of imputation is not biblical; the ‘new perspective’ on Paul; merging faith and the fruit of faith in obedience; and the redefinition of righteousness, only seen as a virtue”.

“The Reformation is not over”, Piper said. “We need to preach Catholics justification through faith alone. If you focus on thousands of things you have in common with them, and do not touch on this difference, then how will they meet Jesus?”



Piper spoke about the need of prayer in his last session. “Prayer is the visible engine that drives the work. Is prayer central in your life, your family and ministry?” he challenged the ELF participants. “Prayer is the means by which God gives us supernatural help. Without it, we cannot accomplish anything of what the letter  to the Philippians calls us to do.”


Participants in a coffe break. / FOCL

“The world does not need more Christians with powerless ministries”, Piper continued. Success is not measured in numbers, he added_ “In the USA you can build a church of 30,000 without God. It’s easy!”

“Prayer speaks volumes of the nature of God”, Piper suggested, and added: “Paul makes the success of his ministry dependant of the prayers of new believers.”

Prayer brings a peace which “reasoning” cannot bring, and depending on Him in everything “makes Christ look magnificent. This is why your family and you ministry exist.” So, “how can we make prayer peripheral?”



Every day, the plenary sessions in the mornings (which included times of worship) were followed by 16 simultaneous networks. Each participant had chosen to be in the two daily workshops related to his area of ministry: Academic Leaders, Apologetics, Bible Teachers and Preachers, Church Planters, Counsellors, Disciple-Making Leaders, Evangelism, Leaders of Christian Organisations, Marriage and Family, Media Communicators, Mission Leaders, Organisational Development and Fundraising, Politics and Society, Scientists, Theologians and Youth Ministry Leaders.


Dozens of speakers share from their experience in seminaries. / FOCL

After lunch, a wide variety of seminaries were offered in which all kind of topics were addressed. Some of them were: “How to keep a growing church theologically solid”, “The effects of ISIS on Europe”, “Understanding and evaluating the Roman Catholic view of Mary”, “The four theological mistakes that evangelicals are making today”, “Grace-filled sex”, “What kids need most from their Dad – especially if he is in ministry” or “Media engagement in youth ministry: The Disney universe as a case of study”.

A bookstore and special off-programme meetings and discussions made the whole programme even richer. The main hall of the hotel was a meeting point in the evenings, while many used free time to enjoy the good weather walking nearby the river.

As in other editions, the Forum Expo booth was a place in which ministries and participants could connect (Evangelical Focus had one of the stands). 



Every day closed with an evening session on burning social issues. These were led by Terry Virgo (“Paul’s aim and method in ministry”), Stefan Gustavsson (on the gender debate), Ken Sande (“Life, family, ministry and witnessing are all about relationships”) and Dave Patty (“Seeing what Jesus sees: two views of Europe”).

An open discussion about the case of the Bodnariu family, in Norway, was another interesting highlight one of the nights (an article about this discusssion will be published soon).


Many volunteers made the conference possible. / FOCL



During the conference, participants accessed their outlines and connected with other participants through a special mobile app. Many also used the social media to share their impressions using the #2016ELF hashtag


You can read the brochure of the 2016 ELF conference or visit the ELF website

All sessions were recorded and will be available at the Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL) website. Follow the FOCL on Facebook and Twitter

Listen to an interview with European Leadership Forum Director Greg Pritchard here

More pictures of the this year's conference:




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - ELF 2016: Christians called to “unity in love and a life of fearlessness”
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

He is... He is...

A video about Colossians 1:15-20.

Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

“It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation” “It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation”

In creation care, “we need more people who lead by example”, says well-known Brazilian politician and activist Marina Silva. 

Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.