Gospel Encouragement from the Church in Europe

Gospel Encouragement from the Church in Europe

More than 600 church workers gathered in Poland for the 2022 European Leadership Forum in May. The evangelical church in Europe may be small, but it serves a great God.

The European Leadership Forum (ELF) was held recently in Wisla, Poland. John Stevens, Adrian Reynolds, and I attended; two of us were involved in leading seminars and workshops.

It was the first time I had attended - it was only last year that I became aware of ELF - and I was able to absorb the atmosphere, teaching, and fellowship that was available in abundance. More than 600 church workers attended - plus volunteers - from 41 countries on four continents.

I trust I gave something back in the numerous conversations I was able to have with believers from several countries across Europe and much further beyond. It is certainly my desire and prayer to be able to contribute in a more meaningful way in future years.

The mission of ELF is to “unite, equip and resource evangelical leaders to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe”. Their desire is for different evangelical groups to work together to achieve more than any single organisation can on its own. Each year, the Forum holds around 800 events, strategies, and partnerships, organised by Forum attendees in their countries.

Encouraged by European churches

I counted it a wonderful privilege to be there this year – the first time meeting together since 2019. It was a blessing and encouragement to my soul to be able to spend time and pray with brothers and sisters in Christ from around Europe, who are seeking to serve the Lord as I trust we all are here in the UK.

We’ve all read of the church in various European countries, but to spend time talking to and praying with those who serve in evangelical churches across the continent makes everything so much more real.

In particular, it was humbling for us all to hear of how the churches in countries bordering Ukraine are seeking to support the numerous refugees fleeing that land - some who, of course, are Christians.

One church reported an increase of over 50% (80 new people) now attending the church. They are now seeking to find accommodation for these people as well as supporting them spiritually after the trials they have experienced.

Evangelical minority

We may bemoan the minority that the evangelical church is in the UK, but many of our brothers and sisters in Christ across Europe are relatively minuscule in number in their respective countries. They also lack so many of the resources we all too often take for granted.

It’s been wonderful that since my return to the UK I have already been able to get back in contact with a number of those I met at the Forum to support them.

Reaching Europe for Christ

I was struck and encouraged by how much the different strands of the evangelical church across Europe are willing to work together for the sake of men, women, boys, and girls hearing the gospel message.

I fully appreciate and wholly adhere to the importance of maintaining doctrinal purity on key matters. However, I was challenged as to whether I’ve contributed to erecting unnecessary barriers to working together with other evangelical believers in the past, simply to protect my view on a secondary matter or even worse a personal preference.

Pray for the church in Europe

I hope as you read this you are encouraged that, although the evangelical Christian community is a small minority in Europe, many of these believers are passionate to share the gospel, have a real conviction that God is able and willing to save, and have deep compassion for and longing that those apart from Christ would have the opportunity to hear of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I trust that it will be our desire to pray for them, to encourage them where we have the opportunity, and - if we have the gifts - to help equip our fellow servants as they seek to be instruments in the Lord, building his church.

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