The Lausanne Movement Europe Diaspora and Refugee Forum in Germany 2016
It was held in Haiger, Germany, from May 30 to 2nd June 2016, a Consultation with the leaders of churches, ministries and organizations from the Diaspora in Europe. This Forum followed and replaced the Europe Diaspora Leaders Roundtable from 2014 and following. In addition, it was called upon to lead the enlargement of the Europe Diaspora Churches and ministries leaders Roundtable to a discussion to address the crucial issues of training on Disapora and refugees.
This encounter was hosted and sustained by Interlink, a German NGO actively engaged in the refugees’ ministry in Herbstein, ARILAC (Asian Research Institute for Language and Argiculture), the Graduate School of Global Development and Entrepreneurship (GSGDE), and the Han Dong Global University of Korea in collaboration Korean Research Institute for Diaspora, Oxford and Wycliffe Gobal Alliance, Europe.
This Forum particularly focused on a long term strategy on the sustainability of training Disapora and Refugees in Europe with many experts in this arena. In fact, Europe is experiencing an unprecedented phase of history in terms of demography and socio-cultural dynamics as well as inter-dialogues among other faiths. Therefore it is our time to reconsider our mission issues and reconnect with each other for partnership and re-create refreshing mind-set for the mission that we are facing in Europe together for our missional engagement for the future of Global Mission.
Every participant was invited to speak in order to share his expriences and his oragnisation’s perspectives. Before this consultation, I had asked to be receiced, as MANI Coordinator for the African Disapora, by the Association of Churches of African expression in Alsace, in order to hear their voices and to be able to express their needs, espeialy in terms of training.
The main concern encountered is recognition among brothers of indigenious Churches: there are some blockages in relation to local Churches. Relations with historical Protestant Churches are more than difficult or non-existant: they have been attempts of collaboration, especially as regard meeting rooms: these churches that are emptying have many unoccupied premises that could be an opportunity for the emerging diaspora churches. The problem is that most of the indigenous churches want the integration of ethnic churches in their midst. Hence collaboration is made difficult and it is impossible to chare premises especially where the Mosaic Project has failed.
Besides, the African religious leaders think they are dispised because of their lack of training, even among the Evangelicals, and the questions they raised are: what to do? Should we go through training? Shall we be recognised for that? Annual general training? How to do? They were even not convinced that if they followed any training process this would make them better considered, and they gave the example of Switzerland:
The Swiss model: the attitudes of Swiss churches are very different from those of churches in France: a collaboration exists in the sens that Swiss Churches have found faith and commitment among the African Churches and they have decided to take charge of their pastors to allow them to be trained without having to care for their livelihood while devoting time to their churches, in ordre for them to seek excellence.
In France the diploma is asked first and you are not considered if you don’t have any when in Switzerland everything happens differently. They find among African church leaders a real commitment and engagement to God’s work, boldness, and they help them improve and find excellence for God. Difficulty encountered in France is to make a secular job in order to support the family and the ministry. This is the situation of almost all of them.
Most of the Diaspora Ministires in Europe faced the same situation solved differently. But we came to the conclusion that:
Fraternal communion at the local level is necessary. They should work in communion considering that the churches and ministries established by the Diaspora in Europe are stakeholders of Europe evangelism.
The Diaspora Ministries are often highly dynamic, but they are aware of their need for training for most of their leaders. Many would like to involve in the reception of refugees. As immigrant themselves, they are aware that they have much to contribute, but they do not have means for this policy, which requires good training in this area and funds.
The Great Commission must be a collective effort that requires the cooperation of the whole body of Christ. Building bridges for cultural interpenetration, that can only enrich God’s work in Europe. Both ingigenous and diaspora ministries have to integrate their differencies for a better life together for the advancement of the Kingdom of God in Europe.