Europe's young Christians encouraged to have missional lifestyle
Between December 28 and January 2, more than 2,700 young people from across Europe met in Offenburg, Germany, for the bi-annual Mission-Net conference.
Primarily aimed at people ages between 16 and 30, the conference and its network encourage a Christian missional lifestyle that links spiritual expressions of faith with practical outworkings.
Mission-Net is commissioned and supported by the European Evangelical Mission Association and the European Evangelical Alliance.
The theme of the five-day conference was 'Work in Progress'. Around 75 theologians and speakers shared their thoughts on the topic through large-scale meetings as well as interactive seminars.
Main speaker Karin Ramachandra spoke from the book of Nehemiah on the opening night, in which she stressed that all things are possible with God, regardless of how large our own shortcomings are.
"No matter how weak you think you are, God can make everything possible," she said.
The second day of the conference focussed on living out a missional lifestyle and challenged the thousands of young people to consider what gives their lives meaning.
Guest speaker pastor Cristian Barosu from Romania asserted: "Choosing Jesus is not one out of many possible ways, it is the only way.
"Even if there might be a variety of possible ways, there is only one truth," he added, before encouraging his audience to renew their commitment to God.
The conference encourages creativity and alternative expressions of faith. An art zone was set up and a worship concert was held with Andy Flannagan. Counsellors were available for one-to-one meetings and opportunities were also given to get involved with overseas missions organisations.
Delegates had the chance to live out what they had been learning about mission by connecting with residents of Offenburg through a variety of activities. Community festivals, free coffee giveaways, dance programmes and open games were just some of the ways the young people engaged with locals and shared their faith.
The organisers of Mission-Net hope that it will encourage young people to hold similar events and initiatives in their own home towns, engage with issues of social injustice and believe that they can make a real difference in their communities as followers of Christ.