Darcy and I spent the last week in Poland speaking at the European Leadership Forum (aka ELF). ELF is the lovechild of some Oxford and Cambridge University brainiacs who wanted to create an outlet for Europe’s leading Christian voices, thinkers, and people of influence to get advanced training. ELF offers twenty-four Networks in a vast array of spiritual/theological disciplines. All of these Networks are sponsored and overseen by Europeans … except one.
Several years ago, our ministry, Family Matters, was approached by the leadership of ELF to create the European Marriage & Family Network. Up to that point, ELF offered nothing in this area. Three years ago we established that Network for them and for these past three years Darcy and I have teamed with our friends Kory and Gail Schuknecht to teach a theology of marriage and family that launches from the heart of the gospel message–how to have marriages and create homes that are guided by God’s truth while simultaneously tempered (defined) by His grace. This year’s M&F Network had over thirty leaders from 15 different countries. We spoke to many more leaders through workshops we offered in addition to the Network training. All told, we got to minister to some of the finest and precious Christian leaders of greater Europe representing over twenty different countries.
What you see here is a few pictures from the ELF event and our specific Network. We started each morning in a huge plenary event where the 750 attendees gathered together to worship God through singing and Bible study … led this year by John Piper. We did the Network training and optional workshops during the rest of the day.
On one of the evenings we gathered for “Network Night” to have some fun playing a couple of minute-to-win-it games, getting to hear each person’s personal story, and then spending time in small groups doing what we called “high/low” — which is where each person in the group shares the highest point of their past year and the lowest one. We concluded the evening by praying in our groups for each other.
These are wonderful people trying to do frontline Kingdom work against enormous odds. Marriages and parent/child relationships have taken a devastating hit in Europe–especially in Eastern Europe among the former communist block nations. The churches have been equally devastated in this area and have struggled to provide a meaningful voice to marriage & family issues. We were humbled and grateful to be be able to help them reclaim the strategic role of the Christian home in their countries by giving them a theological/biblical framework that is a direct extension of God’s gracious heart.