The German Evangelical Alliance hosts a “Future Forum”
230 participants – committed Christians of the younger generation plus established leaders – came together in Hannover for prayer, lectures and creative workshops in the community centre of the Elim Church. More than 12 nationalities were among them, which means not only younger leaders, but also the migrant community was well represented. In very different formats – foundational lectures, practical examples, future lectures, bar camp sessions, prayer times, discussion rounds – the participants worked out a series of possible future projects in the fields of prayer, Bible, evangelism, social responsibility, unity and digitalization. What looked like a wild mix became tangible on the third day with 19 new strategies and projects, which are intended to strengthen the Alliance in Germany on the ground and in its networking function.
After the conclusion of the first Future Forum of the German Evangelical Alliance (DEA), its chairman Ekkehart Vetter said he was “very grateful”: “We have experienced that our alliance lives: not only organizationally, but that we advance Jesus’ cause together over all generations and denominations! We perceive the larger contexts: unity, prayer, Bible, evangelism, social responsibility and digitalization. His deputy Siegfried Winkler was pleased about “the unity experienced here, which shows the beauty of the alliance”. DEA General Secretary Reinhardt Schink is delighted: “Our heart’s desire to live Evangelical Alliance in the cities and towns has been greatly strengthened by the results!”
Jörg Dechert, Chairman of the Board of ERF Medien (a German Christian media company) and member of the DEA’s Executive Board, summarizes the focal points as follows:
Evangelism: There are more and more “clueless secular people” and more and more “unexpectant Christians”. Evangelism means showing people, who are increasingly overwhelmed with their definition of identity, their God-given identity and giving them a home.
Prayer: “Prayer is the beginning of a revolt against the disorder of the world” (Karl Barth). Prayer places itself within the authority of the Father and the Father changes the world through this prayer. But some have lost the value of prayer a bit, because we all like to be doers.
Bible: The majority of people will only know about the Bible what we Christians show them. But the relevance of the Bible that we only claim is less and less automatically accepted. We need to re-explore how people explore the relevance of the Bible on their own.
Social responsibility: Christian values in our society are slowly fading because they are decoupled from Christ. In this world we need mature, balanced and Christ-oriented personalities. Jesus came not only as Redeemer, but to restore the dominion of the Father. We can only be disciples of Jesus as learners. If we want to change society, we cannot NOT want to change ourselves.
Unity: Jesus said that His disciples should be one. May we decide ourselves whether we should make one with others, although Jesus has long since decided it?
The implementation of the 19 projects will start in the now established project groups, partly together with existing working groups. It was a truly cross-generational event and the implementation will be as well. This is very exciting.