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EMF conference addresses ‘spiritual climate change’

March 2020 | by Steve Bowers

EMF Conference Panel 2019
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Around 100 people gathered for the European Mission Fellowship’s conference last November, themed around current shifts in belief among Europeans.

Last year marked the 60th anniversary of the EMF. Mission Director Steven Bowers began the day by quoting from Five Minutes to Midnight, Omri Jenkins’s history of the charity. He reminded delegates of the founding objectives of EMF and their enduring relevance today.

Andrew Birch, who has been an EMF missionary in Palma, Spain, for 36 years, spoke on the topic of spiritual change in Europe. He addressed four questions: What’s changed? What about religion? What hasn’t changed? Finally, what’s needed?

He said, ‘There is a real danger of losing our nerve! We need to do what is right and biblical, and leave the outcome in the Lord’s sovereign hands. We are up against an almost total ignorance of real Christianity, of Jesus himself. Our great encouragement is the immutability of our triune God. He can turn dead bones into living worshippers of the living God!’

Besides smaller panel discussions, Steven Bowers chaired a plenary panel session. Speakers included Matt Hill (Spain), Xavi Patiño (Spain), Sandor Keleman (Romania), Vitaliy Maryash (Ukraine), and, by video link, Leonidas Kollaros (Greece).

Discussions focused on challenges to evangelism in Europe today: confronting Catholicism, Orthodoxy, secular humanism, and general indifference.

Robert Strivens (Bradford-on-Avon) closed the conference with a message from Hebrews 13:7-8. Like us, the first-century Hebrew believers lived at a time of change. The greatest need remains perseverance in the Christ who does not change. We were encouraged to submit to his unchanging teaching, his unchanging commands, and his unchanging person.

A bookstall and enjoyable lunch provided by our hosts (Welwyn Evangelical Church) capped a truly profitable day. Much of the conference will be available on EMF’s YouTube channel.

Steven Bowers