Under the title “Builders Wanted – Talent for the Kingdom of God”, this year’s EEA General Assembly took place from June 7-10, 2021. As in the previous year, the 2021 event was held online due to the ongoing pandemic situation and related travel restrictions. With over 100 registered participants from 27 countries, we were once again able to live up to our character as a continental network of the evangelical movement in Europe with the event.
During the four-day conference, different perspectives were taken on the building of the Kingdom of God in Europe – always with a focus on how to find builders who share in the great task. Different perspectives of diverse groups of people were discussed, among them young, old, highly educated and materially underprivileged people. Furthermore, the opportunities and challenges of building the Kingdom of God within and together with the diverse cultures and diaspora groups in Europe were highlighted in several sessions.
During the General Assembly, Yassir Eric, Director of the European Institute for Migration, Integration and Islam (EIMI) was awarded this year’s HOPE Award. The inscription on the award statue states: “For his courageous journey to Europe and tirelessly promoting hope while sacrificially serving migrant communities in Europe.”
The thematic orientation of this year’s General Assembly is related to the upcoming Hope for Europe IV Conference titled “Builders connected – Celebrating the Kingdom of God”, which will take place from October 5-9, 2022. The current plan is to hold the conference in Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina, but with numerous hybrid event formats, so that participants from all over Europe can take part in the conference in a cost-effective and uncomplicated way.
The content of this year’s General Assembly was framed by two keynote speeches at the beginning and end of the digital event. On the first day, Gavin Calver, CEO of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK, reminded that God is all powerful. He gave participants the challenge to stand up both with bravery and with kindness when sharing faith in Europe’s diverse societies. He also reminded everyone that Christianity cannot be swept away, and that this fact is part of what should make believers brave even in times of change and societal challenges.
The closing keynote address was held by Bishop Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General & CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), und Dr. Peirong Lin, WEA Deputy Secretary General for Operations. Both emphasised the different and amazing ways in which God involves different people in the building of his kingdom in Europe. They further encouraged participants not to wait for the perfect conditions or to lament inadequacies, but to advance the building of the Kingdom of God with joy and commitment in the midst of the present times.
This was a very fitting ending to the conference and an encouragement to be involved in looking for builders, equipping them and supporting them in their task to employ their God given talent in the building of his kingdom.
Looking back on the event, we are pleased to say that this was the most diverse conference we have ever hosted and we hope that it has empowered and inspired our members and friends in theory and practice to embrace and promote the full range of this diversity as a characteristic of the Kingdom of God in Europe.
Video recordings and several slide sets are now available for viewing on the EEA conference website.