“Europe needs hope”: Evangelical leaders reflected on challenges faced in the continent
More than 50 representatives from diverse backgrounds and regions met in Barcelona for an “open process, listening to God and listening to each other for what we feel is on God’s heart for Europe”.
BARCELONA · 28 SEPTEMBER 2016 · 09:54 CET
Leaders of evangelical churches and ministries from all over Europe participated in a gathering in Barcelona (Spain) to listen to each other and to God (September 12-14).
CHRISTIANS SHOULD GIVE ANSWERS TO “FEAR”
“Europe needs hope in all realms of society. In a time of fear of terrorism and insecurities in many areas of life this is even more prevalent. Therefore, we (the European Evangelical Alliance and the Lausanne Movement) call on you to join hands with us to pray and plan how Evangelical Christians can and should respond to this”.
The two days in Barcelona were designed to be an “open process, listening to God and listening to each other for what we feel is on God's heart for Europe and how we can best join him in being a further blessing to our continent”.
After two days of open discussions, these were some of the conclusions:
1. Europe has changed so much in the past few decades that one can talk about a New Europe (NEWrope). Re-evangelising is not enough. It needs new-evangelising.
2. Bear witness to Christ in NEWrope. There is a loss of confidence in the Gospel and the Bible. God's people across the continent therefore need help to regain this confidence and learn to bear witness in all areas of society.
3. In order to be strong witnesses we need deep, whole life discipleship. Making disciples is pivotal to the task.
4. Europeans are desperately searching for identity in all areas of life. The strongly individualistic lifestyle needs to be addressed and ways of living out community to be explored.
5. There is a disconnect in the Evangelical body between:
- Especially East and West but also South and North
- “Europeans” and their Roma, Orthodox and Migrant brothers and sisters.
COOPERATION AND CONFIDENCE IN THE GOSPEL
What should European Christians do to respond to these challenges millions of people in European countries are experiencing? The group came to the conclusion that efforts should include a:
a. Renewed ways for Christianity need to be explored in order to become more relevant and shape society and culture deeper.
b. Renewed confidence in the Gospel and the Bible resulting in bearing witness to Christ in all areas of life and society. This asks for a renewed understanding of NEWrope.
c. Renewed cooperation and unity across denominational and ethnical boundaries on the European level, setting an example of humility and repentance for nations and the local level.
d. Renewed whole life discipleship.
e. Renewed cooperation and empowerment between male and female and the different generations.
f. Renewed community (relational living) which shows the love of God's people so the world will see that we are HIS disciples.
A PAN-EUROPEAN EVENT TO UNITE EVANGELICALS?
The gathering also came to the conclusion that “a strong movement in all nations of Europe can be created and fuelled”, in which “denominations, organisations and networks join hands” to unite “Evangelicals of all backgrounds”. It is key, the group said, to understand that “the younger generation plays a significant role (this includes also people under 20)”.
The group discussed the possibility to organise a big pan-European event in 2019 to “create momentum” for this European movement.
The EEA-Lausanne Steering Group is made up by Thomas Bucher, Lindsay Brown, Frank Hinkelmann, Jean-Paul Rempp, Hester Zoutman and Ole-Magnus Olasfrud. Further people will join the group soon to help prepare resources and extend the network of participants.