April 2021 Conversation


This month's Conversation provides two complementary perspectives on church planting in Europe today. We will hear from a dynamic Norwegian church planter who has helped to catalyse the planting of hundreds of churches across Europe. But we will also read about how God took a young South Sudanese student from a prison cell to planting an intercultural Baptist church in Bucharest, Romania. Both stories are incredibly powerful so this month's Conversation and Impact Groups will be very stimulating.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at conversation@lausanneeurope.org

And if you are just starting your Impact Group, or are confused about what they are about, then check out the introduction pages to the Conversation and Impact Groups to find out more.
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Podcast: A Vision for Church Planting in Europe Today

Our principal resource for this month’s Conversation is a podcast with Øivind Augland. Øivind is the founder of M4, a church planting training process which began in Norway but which is now present in 15 European countries. M4 works across denominational and theological boundaries to see new communities of faith formed that will display the goodness of God to the people around them. The interview is 35 mins long but is full of wisdom and insight so make sure you listen to the end!
Podcast and Transcript

An African Perspective on Church Planting in Europe

The most active church planters in Europe over the past thirty years have been Africans, Latin Americans, and Asians. Their experience and their voice is vital as we seek to understand what God is doing in Europe today. Peter Rong is one such voice a South Sudanese church planter working in Romania.

1. Introductions and Prayer

Give time for everyone to introduce themselves if this is your first Impact Group. Ask someone to pray that God would speak to us as we meet together.

2. A Vision for Church Planting in Europe Today

After listening to the podcast interview with Øivind we would now like you to discuss in your Impact Group the following questions:
  1. In regard to the role of pastors and denominational leaders in encouraging a culture of church planting, Øivind said: “I believe they have to understand that church planting, or multiplying and reproducing the gospel, disciples, leaders, and new churches, will be the key for the future”. Do you agree, and if so, what should we be doing about it?
  2. The podcast introduced us to two young people, Elias and Bendik who are living in a Discipleship House next door to Øivind and his wife. They talked about the joy of making home with other Christians, having opportunities to read the Bible and pray together, but also of the importance of developing rhythms of discipleship and community, of expectations and accountability. What can we learn from this example of simple Christian community? How would it look if you were to do something similar?
  3. Øivind had a message to all those who are discouraged or disappointed with church ministry: “My message to these people is relax, it's not your church, it's not your ministry. It's God's. Enjoy God in your personal life, live with God, be close to him. If you lose the joy of God in your personal life, you lose the joy of God in the ministry." What can we learn from that advice?
  4. Another issue that was mentioned in the podcast is the importance of inter-generational relationships. How can we encourage mentoring relationships between generations within our organisations and churches?
  5. Were there any other insights from the podcast that you found particularly challenging or encouraging?
To find out more about M4 Europe and their training process you can visit the website here below.

3. An African Perspective on Church Planting in Europe

After reading Peter Rong's article we would like you to discuss the following questions together.
  1. Peter Rong’s story of how he came to Europe and how God used a time in prison to call him to ministry sounds like something out of the New Testament. How has God used extraordinary events to change the course of your life to fulfil His purposes?
  2. Peter's story of church planting is one of responding in faith to an opportunities and challenges rather than strategic planning. What does this teach us about the practice of church planting? What opportunities are there in your local context that you could respond to?
  3. What impacted you on reading Peter’s diagnosis of the weakness of the European Church? Do you agree with his observations?
  4. What do you think European church leaders need to hear or learn from church leaders from the Majority World who witness alongside us in Europe today?

4. Prayer

Always make sure that you leave enough time to pray together every time you meet. Here are the prayer points for this month’s Conversation:
  1. A prayer of thanksgiving for the churches that have been planted across Europe during this pandemic. Also, pray for continued encouragement and growth for these church communities and their leadership teams.
  2. A prayer of repentance- May we deeply and urgently repent of our complacency and dividedness as the Body of Christ in Europe. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us (The Church) on the path of reconciliation and restored unity in Christ.
  3. Pray for Christian leaders who will be willing to mentor and disciple the next generation of young people who have a call and a passion for Church Planting.
  4. Pray for God to pour out His Spirit and revive the Church in Europe with a vision for an 'Acts 2' Church.

5. Make Your Contribution to the Conversation

We really want to hear back from your Impact Group after each session. Please find a few minutes to summarise what you hear from God, the highlights of the discussion, and any questions that were raised, in the comments box immediately below.