eMove seeks Revival in Western Europe
Throughout the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ is expanding at an exponential rate. There are numerous church-planting and other Christ-centered movements being reported globally. The only place this is not happening is Western Europe. Dr. Mark Wagner, IMB missionary in Germany, is determined to find out why and help change that trend.
“The cradle of Christianity is struggling to grow at even an incremental rate,” he says. “There is no question. Europe is in need of a spiritual awakening. “
In light of this, Mark has formed a research center. EMove—European Institute for Missional Movements—was formed to serve as a catalyst for new strategies and visions to reach the lost of Europe.
“God is going to work in Europe,” Mark said. “But there are current structures in place that hinder God’s movement and we want to help figure out how to tear those down and provide an environment where God is free to work.”
The biggest barrier to churches growing and spreading is the traditional church structure and the traditional mindset of bringing people in, instead of the church going out. Mark encourages new leaders and groups to work parallel with old structures so they can implement change without destroying the foundation.
The center will provide resources, translate books that help churches become movement-oriented, provide training, consultation and coaching for churches, conduct leadership training, and serve as a think-tank for nationals and internationals to answer the question, “What will it take to see church movements in Europe?”
Mark has observed over the years that one reason church planters don’t succeed in Europe is burn-out.
“There is a high investment of untrained people (in church planting). We can grow a church to about 30 people but it is hard to move beyond that because leaders get burned out,” he said.
For that reason, Mark works closely with seminaries in Germany—the Bonn Bible School (BSB) in Bonn and the AGM seminary in Wiedenest. Both are training young pastors and have a huge heart for world missions. BSB has 80 home missionaries in different parts of Germany and foreign missionaries in several countries including Malawi, Thailand and Brazil. AGM seminary offers a masters program through the University of South Africa.
Mark is seeing glimpses of hope on the horizon. International and multi-cultural churches are beginning to make a real impact, city-to-city mentoring is being done through Redeemer Church in New York, bigger churches are growing with some even reaching 1000 members and multi-site churches are seeing a response. Mark rejoices in the success of both big and small churches and believes both are necessary in Europe.
“House church movements will reach the masses and mega churches will shape public image of evangelicals. We need some flagship places like this to lead the way,” he says.
In March of 2013 eMove will host a T4T (Training for Trainers) conference. This is a significant conference in the European context because typically leaders in this part of the world prefer knowledge-based learning to obedience-based learning. They like to learn for the sake of knowledge. T4T teaches to learn and do. Mark is hopeful that this will be a springboard for some radical new practices among European church planters.
Posted by Karen Pearce on Jun 26, 2012