The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Evi Rodemann gives details of the Mission-Net congress in December 2015. “Increasingly Europeans are aware that Europe has become a mission field again.”
Mission happens right where you are. More and more young people in Europe seem to have understood this idea in the last years. One of the movements which has been pushing in this direction is Mission-Net.
The European network “encourages and mobilises the young generation across Europe to live a missional lifestyle”. Their biggest event will happen again in Decembr 2015. 3,000 are expected in Offenburg (Germany) to meet Christians from all places and “taste God´s Kingdom and love for Europe and the World.”
“We raise the bar for Europe and beyond, encouraging the young Europeans to make a difference wherever God has placed them,” told Evi Rodemann, director of the Congress, to Evangelical Focus. “It could be Bible translation in Africa, church planting in Portugal or in becoming a politician. Whatever we do shall be according where God wants us, and keeping a local and global vision.”
There is a change happening in how Mission are seen in the continent. “As we have this paradigm shift in missions, increasingly Europeans are aware that Europe has become a mission field again,” says Rodemann.
“We will not look down on people having been called to places of influence which are not outside Europe but encourage everyone to make a stand and live for Christ, no matter what the costs involved”.
Evi gives an example of her own life: “I have kept my job in an aluminium company since 10 years, proving it is possible to be a Christian at your workplace and actually cause a change for good.”
EUROPE: 3 CHALLENGES FOR CHRISTIANS
Thinking of Europe, what challenges need to be addressed? Rodemann points out some.
A concern is that “the young generation is raised without spiritual fathers and mothers. We need to re-shift this so that a new generation will be raised, finds its place in church community and will stay in faith life-long.”
A second challenge is that “churches have only limited answers to the crisis in Europe”, a crisis which hits many countries “financially, sociologically, religiously and ecologically,” notices Evi. Christian communities should “be at the forefront of peacemaking, bridge-building and reconciliation in today´s society.”
A third problem, says Rodemann, is that “as Europe has lost its identity, so has the church.”
Mission-Net started in 2006 and has had 3 congresses so far. 53 countries are so far involved in the network, which include “European countries, ‘Stan-countries’ and Israel,” explains Rodemann.
Collaboration and networking are two key ideas. “We encourage existing youth networks to implement this on national and regional levels across Europe and where there is none, work with the locals to start one.”
And then there is the biennial youth mission congress. It happens “over New Year”, where “we bring young people across Europe together for mutual encouragement, teaching, training and mobilisation.”
“YOUNG PEOPLE ENGAGING WITH OLDER EVANGELICAL LEADERS”
How has God been using Mission-Net in these last years? Rodemann looks a “the hundreds of lives being changed and transformed through having attended a Mission-Net conference either on the European or national level. Each of them will again cause an impact”.
At the same time, there is a generation gap which is closing. “The young people have started to engage with the older Evangelical leaders and first mentoring takes place for our country coordinators.” This is especially exciting since Mission-Net aims “to raise the flag for discipleship as a process and not just programme”.
The movement also sees chances of “bridging nations, denominations and organizations, and help to develop a Kingdom perspective.”
WORKING MONTH BY MONTH
New initiatives do not only happen when thousands of people are together in the same place physically. Actions are happening month by month: “As the youth network under the European Evangelical Alliance and the European Evangelical Missions Association we seek to bring together and cast a vision for being a Christian wherever we are placed” and “explore how to live as a missional Christian daily.”
The work of giving vision and mentoring younger leaders will help, says Rodemann, to “engage with the local churches and support them as much as we can on national levels”. All this needs to be done “through relationships and trust”, Evi’s work involves much travelling.
THE 2015 CONGRESS
And what about th 2015 Congress? This year’s edition will explore the theme of “a missional lifestyle and its implications. Key aspects of the congress will be: Family Groups, Bible Study, Bible Teaching, Seminars and Workshops, Worship through the arts, and practical experience. And let’s not forget… living together for 5 days in rather extreme conditions (lots can be learned in this context as well).”
A wide range of people from across Europe and outside, coming from different spheres, will be represented on the main stage, people who will show that “living in today´s society is possible and transforming! The ordinaries doing the extraordinary.”
“Biblical truth, social justice issues and world needs will be applied to our lifestyles.” This vision includes “digging deeper into the Word of God and along the lines of the WEA to erase Bible poverty by 2020, we want to teach the inductive method of reading the word of God in the mornings.”
The Word can be central also in Evangelism, therefore “each participant will be challenged to read the Bible with his non-believing friend after the congress while using the excellent resources by IFES, ‘Uncover’.”
All this will not leave out other typical ingredients of a conference like this: “Time for making international friends, great worship times and celebrations”
Finally, Evi is asked about why one should attend the Mission-Net 2015 Congress. These are her 3 reasons to go:
To experience unique European youth from all sorts of nations, cultures and denominations come together and be united in their love and pursuit for God
To take another important step on discovering God´s dream for your life
To taste God´s Kingdom and love for Europe and the world