The promise and the plans are in place: the conference site in Tallinn where the EEA Hope for Europe Event took place will be renovated very soon. The General Secretaries’ network-track was held in a room on the top floor of that building and on the days it rained there was the constant dripping of water in the middle of the room. There are a few lessons to be learned from that situation.
Do not get distracted
At first there were some eye brows raised and some irritation due to the growing wet spot on the floor. But soon the participants focused in on the topic which was The Potential of Networks for National Evangelical Alliances. So often in everyday life we get distracted by issues which are not important but drip in anyway. They influence our thinking and our (re)actions and can, if we allow them to, hinder us from concentrating on the main topic.
Not everything which serves is perfect
The room where we met was fine. It was warm, had big windows with a wonderful view of the colourful autumn trees and nobody needed to sit under or even sit close to the drip. It wasn’t perfect but it more than met our needs. In our lives and ministries we so often wait until things are perfect. We delay action because not everything is lined up exactly as we wanted it to be yet. But actually, the conditions would be fine except that little drip. So even in a room where there was a little bit of dripping water, the gathering encouraged participants to move ahead and start giving networks their rightful place on the platform of their EAs despite imperfect circumstances.
Opening up new perspectives
A leaking roof among other things can be viewed as a threat, distraction or possibly as an opportunity for new ways of thinking and acting in order to fix some things that aren’t going so well. It all depends on your perspective. The topic was Networking. There was excellent input by Helen Sworn on how to do networking. There were also inspiring examples shared by National EAs. All together 9 Networks presented their specific work to a large group of General Secretaries. All of this caused the group to assess where they were in their national EAs and work through the threats, the distractions and where they needed to get things fixed. In short, it opened up wonderful new perspectives that we are now able to work on.
Believing in and acting upon the promise
National EAs are all at very different points in their journey with networks. There is a lot which waits for renovation, mending and action in order to improve and have much more potential. You can either get disheartened by the task or embrace it as an opportunity. It was wonderful to realise how National EAs caught on and realised how much more can be done through networks to build the kingdom of God in Europe and beyond. Figuratively speaking it is going to help in the mending of the roof of National EAs. They understood that there is so much more, networks can contribute to the National EAs work.
More to …
There are probably even more lessons to be learned from this picture. But I leave this to your imagination and the Holy Spirit’s inspiration because it is about networking which means each of us is contributing. Looking forward to hearing from you, Thomas Bucher EEA General Secretary PS A dripping roof can even help you to water your plants. But don’t leave it for too long! PPS Let us trust in God’s promise to not only fix Europe’s dripping roof but its foundations as well. There is Hope for Europe!