Archive for the ‘evangelism’ category

Vista 15: On reflection

October 30, 2013

on reflectonThe last edition of Vista highlighted that one person’s viewpoint alone however well informed, can never give a true picture of what is happening; particularly in a continent as diverse as Europe. What is needed are thoughtful and perceptive insights into the realities of mission practice across Europe – from those engaged in mission. In other words, Europe needs “reflective practitioners”.

This term was coined by Donald Schön as recently as 1983. He defined reflective practice as “the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning” (Schön). Other educationalists have observed that, consciously or not, learning often takes place through a series of stages. The Kolb Learning Cycle, for example, isolates these as concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation.

kolb_cycleThe key insight was that we don’t automatically learn from our experiences. Reflection on experience is fundamental in order to obtain generalisations which might then be applied to new situations. And this is no less true for Christian mission.

Mission in Europe doesn’t need gurus; it needs reflective practitioners who have been equipped with the tools to think deeply about their own immediate context and mission practice. That has certainly been the ethos of the MA in European Mission at Redcliffe College. And Vista is one forum for highlighting examples of good reflective practice.

The articles in this issue of Vista are all written by practitioners who are combining their work with a period of academic study. James Cochrane, who has lived and worked in Portugal for a number of years, researches the relevance of the missiological conversation for Portuguese church.  Redcliffe MA student, Rosemary Caudwell brings an understanding of the workings of the European Parliament to her refection on the churches’ engagement with the EU.

David Roche, also a Redcliffe student, as well as a policeman in London, writes about how London City Mission is approaching the issue of homelessness amongst migrants, balancing practical care with sharing the Gospel with this growing population.  And Australian pastor James Sutherland compares three very different ministries he encountered on a study tour of Europe this summer with Darrell Jackson & Mike Frost.

The concept of missio Dei reminds us that “the missionary initiative comes from God alone” (Bosch). It is God’s mission, not ours. And yet, not only in active participation in the experience of mission but also in the acts of reflection, conceptualization and experimentation, “the marvel is that God invites us to join in” (Wright)

Vista 15 October 2013

Dreams and the Church in Turkey

November 16, 2011

The website of the European Baptist Federation http://www.ebf.org carried the following story  on Tuesday 15 November. Authored by Klaus Rösler

In Turkey, more and more Muslims are becoming Christians because they have dreamed about Jesus Christ. Recently, the pastor of the evangelical Agape Church in Samsun, on the Black Sea, Orhan Picaklar, reported such a case.
A young woman became a Christian after Jesus Christ appeared to her in a dream. But that’s not all: after she had been attending worship services, she brought her mother and her younger sister along with her in the mid-October. This is quite extraordinary, since in general, the families of converts are extremely critical of them. In a prayer letter, Picaklar wrote that after the worship service, the mother even promised to tell her husband that his daughter was now a Christian “at the right time”, so that he would not have a negative reaction.
Again and again, there are unexpected meetings with interested people. For example, at the market, Picaklar offers free Bibles and invites those interested to come and see his church. Recently, a woman came by. She told him that she had taken eight Bibles from the market and had given them to women in her neighborhood. She was delighted to have a Christian church in her neighborhood, although she herself was not a Christian. She urged Picaklar to make sure that the church remained in its current place, although there are no plans to move.
The church was planted in 2003. A short while ago, there was a baptism ceremony where four people were baptized. About 50 attend worship services each Sunday. The Agape Church is the only  evangelical church in the Samsun Region, which has a population of 1.2 million. It is in close contact with the European Baptist Federation (EBF). Picaklar is a former Muslim who became a Christian through reading the Gospel of John.

A recently published EU survey explores online language usage

May 12, 2011

Eurobarometer has published results which will be of interest to Christian individuals and organisations which make significant investments in online presence. The survey may also have broader application to all Christian Media organisations with an interest in Europe.

Across all 27 EU countries, 54% said they had gone online several times a day and 30% said it had been about once a day. 80% of Internet users said they had used the Internet on a daily basis in the four weeks prior to the survey

A slim majority (55%) of Internet users in the EU said that they used at least one language other than their own to read or watch content on the Web; from 50% in Hungary to 90%-93% in Greece, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus.

In Italy, the Czech Republic, Ireland and the UK, a majority of Internet users said that they only used their own language to read and watch content on the Internet (between 52% and 85%).

English was by far the most frequently used language, other than respondents’ own, when going online: 48% of Internet users in the EU mentioned using English for reading or watching content on the Internet and 29% said the same for writing on the Internet. Internet users, who used a language other than their own when going online, carried out several Internet activities in this language. For example, 81% of these respondents said they at least occasionally used another language when browsing to get information, or when reading or watching the news.

Although 9 in 10 Internet users in the EU said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language, a slim majority (53%) would accept using an English version of a website if it was not available in their own language. Internet users in Cyprus and Malta were the most willing to use an English language website if this website was not available in their language (90% and 97%, respectively). Other countries with a high proportion of respondents willing to use an English language website were Slovenia (81%), Greece and Sweden (both 85%).

About 8 in 10 (81%) interviewees thought that all websites produced in their country should also have versions available in other languages. The proportion of respondents who agreed with this statement ranged from 50% in Finland to 96% in Greece.

Finally, more than 4 in 10 (44%) Internet users in the EU thought they missed interesting information because websites were not available in a language they understood.

Source: Flash Eurobarometer No 313: User language preferences online Available for free download at http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_313_en.pdf

Redcliffe students innovating new forms of mission

May 4, 2011

One of our placement students is currently working alongside ‘Serve the City’ in Leuven and is already managing to encourage innovation in the way that the Belgian teams engages on the streets. She shared her experience of weekly placement with the Gloucester ‘Street Pastors’ project and her transferrable skills and knowledge are proving a real asset to the Belgian team. She writes

‘After talking about my experience of Street Pastors in Gloucester, my supervisor really liked the idea and decided he would like to do that in Leuven! So they have asked that while I am here I will help them set up their own version of Street Pastors! Although it probably won’t be running by the time I leave, I am so excited about being involved and have a meeting with the leadership team next week to explain to them in more detail how it works and how we can get things going.’

Beer and Bible

January 25, 2011

A Danish pastor has a fairly unique approach to taking the Bible into places not normally known for being centres of preaching.

Pastor Flemming Kloster Poulsen told the Danish Lutheran Chruch’s news service, interchurch.dk, ‘I’m a pastor and I’ve been telling stories for many years – in vicarages, libraries, festivals, and schools. Since 2003 I’ve run the Storytelling Cafe in Randers.

His biblical storytelling has not only been limited to pubs abd clubs however. In addition he’s visited hospitals, prison, business leaders, politicians, and the mentally disabled. His website carries video links to examples of his stroy-telling craft.

Pastor Poulsen has named his project, ‘The story behind the word – bible stories on all levels’. You can read more about it by following the links or by visiting his website http://www.flemmingklosterpoulsen.dk/.