German Pastors Explore Church Planting with Detroit Churches

Post a Comment » Written on August 5th, 2008     
Filed under: News
DETROIT, MI (August 5, 2008) – When doing evangelism in Germany, “We have to start from scratch,” says René Mühe, one of 28 pastors from that country who recently spent two weeks visiting Evangelical Covenant churches here to learn more about church planting.

Mühe and several other members of the group are pastors of churches in the Stuttgart area that have been largely supported by Detroit area churches, especially Faith Covenant Church in Farmington Hills, Michigan, as well as Christ Covenant Church (C3) in Novi, Michigan. On Saturday night, all of the churches in the area as well as the German pastors gathered for a worship service at Messiah Covenant in Detroit.

Although Germany was the home of Christian thinkers such as Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, most people have little understanding about the faith, says Mühe, whose congregation is in the Rems-Murr suburb of Stuttgart. “They don’t know who Jesus is or how to use the Bible.”

The church won’t have the chance to explain without first building relationships, he adds, especially since Germans do not trust the Christian church. “People think the church is out for power and is manipulative. They think the church just wants your money.”

Mühe says his church alternates Sundays between regular worship services and events such as hiking and barbecues. Following a recent hike, one guest said, “I can’t believe how many nice people I’ve met.”

While in the United States, the pastors learned more about how to build those relationships. Several worked on a Habitat for Humanity project while many others worked alongside the non-sectarian Motor City Blight Busters.

In 2005, C3 began exploring the idea of planting the churches overseas because a number of Germans who came to Detroit to work in the auto industry had made commitments to Christ and returned to work at the auto companies in Stuttgart. Christ Covenant was planted in 2002 with the help of Faith Covenant. Many of the people from Faith Covenant who formed the core group were from Germany. In time, their friends also came to the church.

The Covenant congregations along with the Great Lakes Conference have worked with a Stuttgart church to plant Mühe’s congregation as well as one in the suburb of Renningen, which is pastored by Hans-Georg Runzheimer. Runzheimer also is pastor of the mother church in Stuttgart.

All of the pastors serve congregations in the Free Evangelical Church in Germany (FEG), which has been a partner with the Covenant in the past.

For a previous story on the Detroit and Stuttgart congregations, see World Cup.

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