Last week, a unique Future Forum 2019 of the Evangelical Alliance in Germany took place.
Nearly 3 days spent with 240 people from all across Germany who followed the invitation. Denominational leaders, pastors of networks and influential churches, migrant pastors, leaders from city networks, organizational representatives, people passionate about the future of the Evangelical Alliance… About 40% were younger leaders.
The forum was intended to look at the status quo and then dream into the future for the Evangelical Alliance around these 5 core topics of unity, prayer, Bible, evangelism, societal responsibility, including digitalization this time.
We started off with TED talk style messages (for about 24h) on these core topics where afterwards up to 5 people could share their best practices along the same line. We then listened to 6 future talks predicting and envisioning. Afterwards we moved on to holding a barcamp for 24 hours (like an un-conference where everyone could contribute with ideas and topics). Nineteen projects came out of this brainstorming phase and we left with some concrete steps to be taken in each. It was then finished off with a fishbowl discussion and prayer. You can watch this short video for some impressions: https://youtu.be/m86dsrm_N4E
Some of the speakers discussed concrete possible actions into the future. Especially the future talk on digitalization was hitting hard. The acronym of VUCA describing the world today filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity is also very much reflected in the church and how church is influenced.
Twice we stopped using methodology and reacted to what God was doing in the room. These were holy moments where he heard God speak and direct. It meant adjusting but how cool that we did. For some it was the first time ever to be willing to stop and seek God in a planned programme.
It will be really interesting to see the wonderful positive energy in the room transfer into actions run by passionate people and owned by the community. It certainly breathes life into the Evangelical Alliance. We celebrate what was done so far and work eagerly into the future building God´s Kingdom together in Germany and beyond. Also praying for Reinhardt Schink as he leads into the future having recently been appointed to be the new General Secretary.
Last year in April 2018, we kicked this process off with a Young Leaders Forum with 150 people. Mainly with young ones and the board of the Evangelical Alliance. That was a highly inspirational time and leaders met face to face and spoke eye to eye. The young felt really listened to by the senior leaders. I was back than asked to deliver one of the 12 Pecha Kucha talks (Japanese format) and I remember feeling privileged to have been asked but I tried hard to suggest others as I was feeling far too overwhelmed speaking in front of such an important crowd. Really, I was fighting the fear of men. Glad I did not give in to my fear. And it was not too bad! 🙂
Dr. Stefan Lingott (http://www.in-flux.eu/) led this process last time and it was incredible. Interactive methodology all around, so much buzz in the air. As I was trained by Tom McGehee on facilitating learning communities, this was my favourite cup of tea! I loved it and am sold out to such a learning environment. So I was more than excited being asked by Stefan this year to co-moderate this future forum alongside him. Learning from one of the best and being close enough to understand and watch has been fantastic. I was totally wrecked after these 3 days and missed having time with any of my friends in the room, but loved engaging and working into the future.
The church we met in is a Pentecostal church in Hannover, the Elim Hannover, and I could not have been more grateful for them. Incredible hospitality displayed. Such generous people with a fun spirit. Loved meeting Johannes Justus, senior pastor who heads up the Pentecostal network in Germany. His church pastor Albert Stein with his team were simply the best. I have never experienced before such a servant attitude by a lead pastor. Albert even made sure I got my daily dose of Earl Grey tea, especially when sometimes we were too busy to eat.