At the beginning of February 2014, the Mission-Net Board evaluated the impact and results of the recent Congress in Germany. Based on that evaluation and the fact that the financial break-even point was reached plus much positive feedback it was decided to plan for a fourth Congress at the end of 2015. Certain needed changes in the organisational, network and staff levels will be taken. The 3rd Mission-Net Congress in Offenburg, Germany took place from 28th December 2013 to 2nd January 2014 and attracted a total of 2,781 participants and 508 day visitors from 55 nations (38 from Europe). 534 people of those registered were service team members or staff; 397 were exhibitors. Most people originated from Germany (730), Switzerland (434), Italy (392), France (168) and Austria (128). The awareness and success of Mission-Net at the national level depended on the efforts of National Motivators and their teams and these were highly active in 41 European countries. In addition, various mission organisations made much-needed workers available during the event.
Encouraging positive responses In response to three “calls to action”, hundreds of participants made a commitment to get serious with Jesus, to live a missional lifestyle and to consider short or long-term mission service. More than 1,000 people filled in a personality profile at the Mission Advice Centre and 500 more participated in a gifting exercise. 260 participants sought counsel from the Oasis staff and 80 people wrote down their life dreams and had someone pray with them. For the first time, Mission-Net offered mentoring which was accomplished by 60 talks over meal times. 113 exhibitors presented their ministry at the Global Market, the Mission-Net exhibition and 1300 went through the Global Village. This was a brief short-term experience at the Congress where young people were confronted with a variety of needs in the world. At the end they were challenged to commit themselves to get involved in the many opportunities. 1,300 participants signed a “Micah Challenge” card against corruption and this will be handed to the EU in conjunction with the EXPOSED campaign. As a result of offerings a total of 27,300€ was donated towards three different projects and food was also donated for social projects in Offenburg. 75 seminars and workshops were offered over three afternoons and together with the Evangelical Alliance Offenburg three different outreaches were organised, when more than 500 participants took part. The feedback from the city of Offenburg was positive; several people made a confession of faith in Christ and received prayer on the street. In spite of a shortfall of 70 service team members, the willingness of volunteers to go the extra mile and work two shifts at a time ensured the smooth running of the Congress. Even with the heavy workload, 90% of the volunteers were blessed by the event and indicated a willingness to help at the next Congress. One of the participants reflected: „God has totally shaken my concept about missions and has helped me with some of my beliefs and irrational excuses that I convinced myself of, in order to avoid my responsibility to be in front of people and share the gospel boldly and clearly. Jesus made it clear, when he said: ‘Go and make disciples…for I am with you’ not ‘Go and find excuses!’”
The way forward Despite the real threat of a financial deficit in the months leading up to the Offenburg Congress, the generosity of individuals and organisations ensured that Mission-Net emerged in the black. There were few, if any, serious unexpected problems before and during the Congress. A new and stable structure will be built to ensure smoother running of the next Congress and the focus will be placed on involving other organisations to partner with Mission-Net with their resources, knowledge and manpower and to build a solid foundation for the future. The decision was taken to plan for a fourth Congress over New Year 2015/16 (28 December 2015 – 2 January 2016). The location has not yet been decided. Evi Rodemann has agreed to continue as the CEO of Mission-Net e.V.