The European Church Planting Network was designed to create synergy between various churches and organizations seeking to influence the development of the church across Europe. I attended the latest gathering this past week in Faro, Portugal. Well, I attended, even if my bag did not. See post below for a shocking revelation.
Along with 3 other men from Christian Associates, I met 70 believers from 14 organizations who share our heart for church planting. Most of these representatives were European believers; a true joy to see their passion to reach those in their own culture.
After 3 days together, I came away with the following thoughts:
1. In the shadow of empty European cathedrals, God is raising up new expressions of His body across this continent.
2. European models of this work tend to be more economical, more organic, lay-led, and truly grassroots. See the Jesus Freaks www.youtube.com and and search on jesusxfreaks to see what I mean.
3. We are not alone in this endeavor. Some of the most excited and dynamic works of the Lord are coming through organizations I've never heard of previously. The vibrant faith communities springing up around the world are a fulfillment of Hab 2:14 "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God, as the waters cover the sea."
4. Some of the most effective initiatives in communicating the gospel are those that visibly incarnate that message in a community. Our Serve the City initiative is so moving that even droves of non-Christians are coming out to join the effort to take responsibility and care for the neighborhood. It is truly missional in the sense that, even if people say "no" to following Jesus, they say "thank you for being here." Or, "What would our community do without you?" This is the kindness, generosity and care-taking of the Lord expressed in such a tangible form that people are drawn into fellowship and into the service effort before they come to understand the Christ-orientation that is the motivational driver behind it.
I'm glad to have any small role in this global effort. And regardless of geography, so do you...