Zech 4:10 “Do not despise the small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin”.
What a great encouragement for me that we should never despise small beginnings. I often want things big and immediately, but actually they start small. Some stay small, some develop further. I believe this is often how our calling develops. We sense something from God, have dreams and ideas and take action. For me often it is not about how big something turns out, but how I have kept faithful to God and my personal calling? God rejoices when work begins. Surely this includes mistakes, falling down, getting up again and adjusting my crown.
As I was hosting another webinar on “How to lead events with impact?” last week, I was reminded of my own feeble beginnings. One of the beginnings is an event.
Today I would like to encourage you to think back of beginnings and maybe you will also see a common thread in yours? Maybe the opportunity arises again to start small and develop it?
Let me share with you my feeble beginnings:
My life was changed when I accepted to follow Jesus in 1981 right in the Olympic stadium in Berlin where more than 30,000 people gathered. It was indeed an impactful event and I regularly think back to this start with Jesus. Amazing!
When I was sixteen, I attended Love Europe in 1989, a conference organised by OM International where 6000 young people gathered with short-term trips afterwards. It confirmed my missions calling, I fell in love with international people …
Later this year I attended my first European youth mission congress in the Netherlands, organized by TEMA. I was hooked, I was called! And was desperate to improve my English.
A year later with 17 years, I led my first outreach and called it Love Buchholz, doing it in my own little town. Family was gone so my twin and I invited everyone from the youth group to stay in our home for a week. Completely messy but extremely wonderful. I knew I wanted to organize events, gather people and rally them around the same cause.
Through the years, I had many opportunities to organise, lead, partake in small and huge events, enjoying and learning.
In my role as the Evangelical Alliance youth coordinator in Hamburg, with incredible teams I organized two prayer congresses over a weekend and this led later to leading JesusHouse in Hamburg where in 2007 over 5 days more than 12,000 young people gathered in the famous fish auction hall at the harbour to understand Jesus better and were invited to follow him. I thought it could not get better than this. This was huge and I felt my feet could hardly fit the oversized shoes. But I did it!
I then realized it might be good to actually pursue an official paper as an event manager and after 6 month in October 2007, I received my official certificate from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.
Straight after JesusHouse, I was asked to join the new leadership team which set up Mission-Net and had the privilege of leading four European congresses with overall 12,500 people partaking. I so loved it. Events, missions and young people. My cup overflew!
In 2016 then I finished my Masters on European Mission (dpt. theology) and wrote my dissertation on event impact, analysing the four Mission-Net conferences. I loved the results and was now addicted to find out more. Soon after I enrolled for a PhD (dpt. theology/missiology) to discern possibilities for event impact and spirituality.
As the response to the completion of my MA, the European Leadership Forum asked me to start giving workshops on event impact and it was such a thrill. Since 2017, I have done about 6. Then the Forum had the idea of me offering year round mentoring for Christian event organisers. I recycled my experiences, my certificate as an event manager and my many experiences of events I had led or attended. I have just finished the 4th year of event mentoring and I love the impact it has on these event organisers.
Meanwhile I had joined the Lausanne Movement and the new initiative Younger Leaders Generation and started to help younger leaders organise their own national or regional events. In 2019, with a friend we wrote a manual on how to do such gatherings.
In April 2020, I published my first academic article and guess what, on event impact and missions conferences.
I am not sharing these things to show off. I am far too conscious of my own failings and weaknesses, but I celebrate this journey God has led me on. I am so excited to find out what the future holds.
Yeah, never despise the small beginnings. You might be surprised!