Today it rained all morning, stopped for a short while, and has continued on now into the night. I love it. Imagine a faint, cool breeze and quiet except for the sound of rain on the trees. Maybe one of the reasons we all slept 12 hours last night (unprecedented but obviously needed) is because it’s actually a bit dark even during the daylight hours. The Black Hills back home are called “black” because the pines look so dark from a distance. Here they call this the Black Forest because the trees are so tall and so close together it’s very dark underneath them.
Most of the day today was spent with Pastor Desmond Frey sitting here at the dining room table discussing the formation of a confederation of related church-planting-churches here – a sister expression of the Association of Related Churches of which I’m a part back in the states. There will be much more on this later as this is one of the main assignments that has brought me here. I’m here, about one-third of my time here anyway, to wash the feet of Desmond and put on paper a model which he envisions to plant life-giving local churches all over Europe. During the weeks I’m here he has invited key church leaders from other European countries to meet with us and talk strategy and relationship. And we will pray. Those of you who’ve know a few Steve-isms regarding church planting know I teach church planters to plant churches on their knees. We are asking God to give us his heart for places and people and strategies to reach them with his love.
Several years ago in Amsterdam, Billy Graham surveyed Europeans asking this question – Would you like to know more about God? 98% said YES. His follow up question was – Would you like to know more about God through the Church? 98% said NO.
Desmond told me today he doesn’t even use the word “pastor” to describe himself. It’s like Erwin McManus says, “Telling someone you are a pastor is like saying, ‘I’m a cannibal, do you want to have lunch.'” The dialog is over because, in part, for so long the Church has been an embarrassment to Jesus. Desmond tells people he’s a life coach. When they ask what a life coach does he tells them he helps people find fulfilment and happiness and walks them through life stuff like relationships, finances, purpose, calling, meaning, and spirituality, etc. When they ask where to find a life coach, he tells them new churches are being led by folks who are basically life coaches. The people then say they’d go to a church led by people who are there to help them through life.
Europe is long overdue for the fresh rains of a new reformation and renewal. The beautiful cathedrals here are dry dusty museums that lack life. Yet, spiritually hungry people here in Europe are encountering God through new expressions of the ancient faith.
Tonight as a family we watched the movie Luther and paused it numerous times to hash it out and talk about what Reformation sites we plan to visit next week.
Kaitlyn has put a couple posts on her blog but mainly is loading her millions of pictures on Facebook. Thomas has a couple new posts. Kristen put up a little bit yesterday on jet lag. Nothing from Caleb yet in terms on online commentary. Here’s the trailer for the Luther movie – rent it if you haven’t seen it, or read this classic.