Two of our European church planting partners visited The Compass last weekend…Steffen Weil of Potsdam, Germany and Olivier Jonkers of Brussels, Belgium. Since they have common challenges and are our Global partners, I have been wanting them to meet each other for several years.
Last year, they just happened to “bump” into each other waiting to cross a street in Paris! As they struck up a conversation, the Compass Church was mentioned. They were leaving the “City to City” conference hosted by Tim Keller’s, Redeemer Presbyterian Church. While their interaction was brief, we began making plans to have the two of them visit together this year.
While they pastor growing churches in their respective countries, they both discussed how difficult it is to reach people with the gospel. Steffen likened it to trying to break down a boulder with a tiny hammer…”you have to keep chipping away at it”, but “little by little, pieces begin to crack off”.
Initially, they both thought that they could plant their churches by using a sledgehammer. But in post-Christian Europe, most of those they are trying to reach have no concept of God and strongly negative views of the church…any church.
So they have learned to “chip away” by building relationships and by being available to others in times of crisis. Olivier began entertaining others in his home by throwing “Matthew Parties” (Luke 5:27-32). He and his wife came up with a list of over 100 people that they knew through various connections. They sent out invitations…and over 40 came! They now host these every month…at one point having over 70 attend, all crammed into their small flat.
Before they left, I arranged a meeting with Stephen Chandra, the Asia Director of ReachGlobal. Stephen partners with us to plant churches through our “50/5” and “Vision 20/20” initiatives. Sitting at a Starbucks in Woodridge, IL discussing planting churches in Asia and Europe…go figure.
Chipping away, Matthew parties, building relationships, and being available to others in times of crisis…hmmm…sounds like something we should be doing.