I see a generation, rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith
I see a near revival, stirring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees
We’re on our knees
The words to the song above began running through my mind and my heart last Monday night as hundreds of young leaders from over 14 countries poured in to Malenovice in the Czech Republic for Josiah Venture’s Fall Conference.
I didn’t write anything for a week other than taking notes in sessions. I didn’t even journal. I was entirely overwhelmed by the movement of God in this event.
Josiah Venture’s vision is to see “a movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe that finds its home in the local church and transforms society”, but there is something radically different between hearing about movement, and witnessing movement firsthand. It might take me a few posts here to sort out all that God showed me about Himself, Josiah Venture and my own heart, but I thought I would start by just telling you about the week.
My time at Malenovice started a few days before Fall Conference at Camp Meetings.
Isn’t it a beautiful place? This is a hotel that God provided for Josiah Venture to use as a retreat/ conference center many years ago. The story behind how God provided this place is so fun (but for another time…)
All of the events of this week were “firsts” for me, but a part of the JV year for almost everyone else. Camp Meetings happen every fall just before Fall Conference. The leaders of camp ministry and interns come from all of the Josiah Venture countries and meetings are held to review the previous summer ministry and to plan ahead for what is to come. It was a great time for countries to network about what they had done during the summer and to share about the incredible ways God moved in young lives. It was also a time to look forward to, and plan for next summer. The theme and logo for next year were revealed (love them!) and it was a fun time of getting excited for all that will be.
It was also a time for me to propose some of the changes we are making (and hoping to make) to the intern program for next year. As you all know, I’m not a big fan of up-front time, but everything I spoke about was well received and it was good to get info out to a lot of people (from a lot of places!) all at once.
Camp meeting ended on Monday morning, and that afternoon saw the arrival of young believers from all over Eastern and Central Europe for the official beginning of Fall Conference.
The theme was “Unstuck- Keeping the Move in Movement”, and as a tidal wave of youth flooded all of the buildings of Malenovice, I kept thinking about fruit. These young lives are fruit from years of ministry in these countries. Years of faithful sharing, discipleship and love. Years of God blessing those things and increasing them.
What I didn’t understand that first night, was exactly who these young people are.
To me, it felt like a youth retreat, but it was not.
I was sitting at lunch with one of the intern leaders I work with from Latvia, and he introduced me to the young man sitting with him. I introduced myself and in my mind thought- “Oh, he must be a part of David’s ministry in Latvia”. He was young- 20 at the most- and I asked him why he had decided to come to Fall Conference. He smiled and explained that he wanted to be better equipped in ministry to young people in Latvia. I asked him what ministry he was involved in and he explained that he is in charge of a ministry that uses music to reach young people for Christ. He asked if I would pray for the retreat he is planning and holding later in October.He expects over 800 students.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that each of the 300-plus young people at Fall Conference are not just young people coming to a retreat. They are young leaders, strategically chosen to be a part of this week of intensive equipping in ministry. Each of them have a sphere of influence- a group of others- they are investing in.
That night, as I worshipped together with everyone, I got that feeling I sometimes get when I look up into a starry sky and realize how big God is and how vast his power and creativity and love are. Each life in this room is wanting to grow and be further equipped to reach other lives in dark places.
This is God moving. I can see it, hear it and feel it deep in my heart. I feel myself caught up in it and moved along with it, going wherever He takes us.
There were times of teaching, times of discussion, and times of application. There were also personal stories. I never tire of hearing what God is doing in individual lives and circumstances.
One of the stories that really touched my heart was told by a young man from Albania. He explained how God had put it into his heart to reach the lost of his city for Christ and how he and a few friends began to meet and pray. They began to share about God’s love with others in this mainly Muslim nation, and God has grown this group of four into a group of 60. He shared about how hard it is to be a Christian among Muslims and then said this~ but we know that if God is for us, who can ever be against us!
One of the evening sessions spoke of calling and cost. What has God called us to do in his kingdom? What is the cost of that calling? The speaker had us think about these things and then she asked us to share some of our costs with the person sitting next to us. I turned to a sweet girl from Czech who told me that her cost was losing her family. When she became a Christian they disowned her.
I am so humbled by the faith, sacrifice and passion these young people have for reaching the world with God’s love.
Pray for them with me. They are facing things in daily life that many of us have never faced, with bold and unswerving faith. I think that is one of the reasons God is moving so powerfully among them.
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity