Christ for Europe Initiative Highlights Commitment to Reaching the Lost

Multiple outreach and evangelistic initiatives across the continent are leading the way.

David Neal, Trans-European Division
Christ for Europe Initiative Highlights Commitment to Reaching the Lost
Albanian Mission president Delmar Reis baptizes Razie Matraxhiu. This is just one of the many stories tedNEWS has shared during the 2023 Christ for Europe initiative. [Photo: Trans-European Division News]

Not a one-off event, not a program, not a quick campaign, Christ for Europe is a renewed emphasis by the General Conference (GC) of Seventh-day Adventists, in partnership with the three major European church regions — the Euro-Asia Division (ESD), the Inter-European Division (EUD), and the Trans-European Division (TED), to sharing the good news about Christ with today’s European people. Over the last 12 months, TED has hosted numerous projects headed by GC personnel and other local pastors/evangelists. Many projects took place during the late spring, with more following during the summer and, most recently, during October and November.

Preaching with Boldness and Cultural Intelligence

When TED Adventist Mission director Anthony WagenerSmith shared the initiative in his February 24 tedNEWS newsletter report, he described the region’s territory as “an incredibly diverse mix of European cultures from post-Christian urban areas to Orthodox-dominant countries.” It is a reality we’ve known for quite a while and are committed to grow in our understanding of.

As a result, every pastor and evangelist preaches and teaches with what WagenerSmith describes as “both boldness and cultural intelligence.” Again, we’ve been sensitive for quite a while and have sought to practice it, but it is definitely a work in progress.

Take, for example, the 2013-2015 Dublin City of Hope mission emphasis. This was no one-off event but a coordinated and collaborative plan to seek spiritual revival, train members for witness, connect with the community, and run multiple outreach/evangelistic events. With the support of GC evangelist Mark Finley (who gave three months of his time and talent over those three years), the Irish Mission’s long-term legacy continues to grow deep and wide.

A Renewed Concern and Christlike Love for Others

That’s what happens whenever there is a renewed emphasis on mission. The church grows deep, as members on their discipleship journey find a renewed concern and Christlike love for each other and lost people.

Be assured the previous sentence is no loose soundbite! It isn’t because there is enough evidence to show that an incredible mind shift occurs when we recognize that “the church,” “our church,” exists to serve others above and beyond ourselves. The “fortress” mindset so often practiced (it’s all about us) gets demolished as the church is transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit into a genuine open-door community (we exist to serve others). Through the discovery of spiritual gifts, members engage in building up the church. And naturally, or indeed supernaturally, the church grows wide as members share Christ in word and deed.

Reflecting Hope in the British Union Conference

In response to the GC’s Christ for Europe emphasis, a current example of a coordinated and collaborative plan is underway, led by the British Union Conference (BUC) leadership, to create a climate where being engaged in mission is spontaneous and natural. Reflecting Hope was launched at the beginning of 2023, with 62 pilot congregations throughout the territory participating in the plan. Described as “a contemporary, lay-led, clergy-engaged, locality-appropriate evangelistic initiative supported by Adventist World Radio,” several outreach/evangelistic activities have been held throughout 2023.

Over the weekend of November 3-5, 250 representatives from throughout the BUC met to reflect and evaluate the pilot projects, train for further ministry, and develop plans for the Reflecting Hope initiative 2024 and 2025.

And if you’ve reached this point without looking at the tedNEWS video report, we trust it will further encourage you about what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do through the Christ for Europe initiative.

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.

David Neal, Trans-European Division