Conference Summary Letter

Post a Comment » Written on May 8th, 2007     
Filed under: News
BERLIN, GERMANY (May 8, 2007) – Following is the text of a summary letter prepared by conference participants, edited for length.

Dear Leaders and Friends of IFFEC,

From April 16-20, 85 participants from 18 countries gathered in Berlin, Germany, for a very important conference entitled “Joining Hands for Mission in Europe.”

The focus was the evangelization of Europe in a holistic way, through a renewed commitment to church planting. We studied the Bible together, gathered in worship, addressed important issues through lectures and discussion groups, explored models and case studies from many European countries, made important connections, and prayed for one another. We leave convinced more than ever of the importance of furthering Christ’s mission in Europe through the planting of new churches.

Summary of Challenges

The conference recognized that Europe as a whole is an extremely challenging place for church planting. In addition, each country has its own particular contextual issues. Detailed presentations were made on the following topics by expert lecturers:
•    The Urban Challenge by Dr. Stephen Beck
•    The Social Challenge by Dr. Johannes Reimer
•    The Secular Challenge by Dr. Ingrid Eskilt
•    The Immigration Challenge by Rev. Krister Gunnarsson
•    The Cooperation Challenge by Rev. Darrell Jackson
•    International Missions in Europe by Rev. Rick Burke

While these are significant challenges, there is determination to move forward with confidence and courage. There are many hopeful reasons for this. For example, each federation church has a firm commitment to advancing church planting. There are signs of increasing spiritual interest throughout Europe as secularism fails to address the spiritual yearnings of the heart. Many recent immigrants come with more openness to the gospel. There is a desire for increased communication and collaboration throughout the federation and with other Christian groups as we recognize that the need is so large that no one group can address it alone.

Common Affirmations and Commitments

Several common affirmations emerged from this event:
•    We affirm that our hearts are deeply burdened for the multitudes in Europe, particularly the non-Christian, the nominal Christian, and the newcomers to Europe.
•    We affirm that although church planting will be difficult, it is absolutely essential if we are to move forward in reaching our own countries in particular and Europe in general.
•    We affirm that approaches to church planting must be contextualized for Europe and for each country.
•    We affirm that within these approaches, we must authentically join evangelism and compassion holistically, knowing that God both wants lost people found and hurting people helped.
•    We affirm that we desire to find improved ways to cooperate and collaborate with one another.

From these affirmations, we commit to these four things: to Europe, to church planting, to joining hands for mission, and to respecting differences in the process.

On-Going Planning Issues

The hope of the conference is that each member church/federation will prayerfully and carefully examine church planting in its context. While each member church/federation will need to study these matters according to its context, these are common themes for study within each group:
1)    How do we raise the vision for church planting among our own congregations and pastors/leaders?
2)    How do we identify potential church planters?
3)    How can church-planting be financed in our church/federation?
4)    How do we provide on-going training and support for our new churches?
5)    What is the role of “revitalizing” in existing congregations?
6)    What does it mean to partner with other churches/federations or mission organizations interested in planting churches in our country?
7)    If another IFFEC member church/federation wants to do missions by church planting in our country, how do we cooperate in these matters?
8)    What can be our role/support/input in church planting in Europe outside our own country?


It has been said that the local church is God’s basic unit of mission and ministry in the world. We honor and respect the faithful mission and ministry of all of our currently existing churches. We pray for their strengthening, and are committed to making them healthy and vital. However, if we believe we need more of mission work in our own countries and in all of Europe, then quite simply we need more churches. We emphasize our sense of the great importance of church planting, and commend to you a deep and earnest seeking of God’s leading on these matters.

In Christ,

The Participants at “Joining Hands for Mission in Europe”
Berlin, Germany, 20 April, 2007

Editor’s note: This summary letter, drafted by the IFFEC committee, was edited by Bertil Svensson, mission director for the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden.

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