We want to see more students in Europe coming to faith, and students equipped to join in with God’s mission in the world.
In April 2017, IFES Europe held its 10th European Student Evangelism Conference, themed PRESENCE. We wanted to remember God’s presence with us, and think about the ways in which His presence with us affects our presence at university.
With more than 1,700 students, we
PRESENCE WAS ABOUT GOD’S STORY AND OUR STORIES
At Presence we studied the book of Jonah, and learnt that God is ‘a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity’ (Jonah 4:2). God longs for people to know Him. As Michael Ramsden said, 'God is in charge of all missionary activity, and He invites you to be part of what He is doing in the world'.
PRESENCE WAS ABOUT GOOD NEWS
In the evening sessions with Sarah Breuel, Michael Ots, Glynn Harrison and Jamil, we looked at how the gospel is Good News for our Friends, our Universities, our Culture and our World. Remember how we were encouraged to ‘sing a better song?’ How we were encouraged to ‘release the lion of the gospel’? All these talks can be watched again on the IFES Europe You Tube channel.
Students were also encouraged to go deeper and think about how we can use our skills and passions to share the love of Jesus through the seminar tracks, and passion and response groups.
PRESENCE WAS ABOUT BEING TOGETHER
In the final conference session, the worship leader Tom De Craene said, ‘Sharing our stories is an act of worship’. Students shared stories from the stage, across the dinner table, in their dorms… Stories of God’s faithfulness in hard times, in discipleship, in seeing friends start a journey of faith, in befriending international students with incredible openness to the Gospel. Presence17 was students united by a love for Christ and a desire to share the good news in universities across Europe.
LIFE BEYOND PRESENCE
So much has been happening in Europe since Presence. At the conference, students received training and shared ideas for running a mission week at the university. Since then, students and staff have shared stories of how God has helped them in mission week events in a variety of university cities: Tblisi, Georgia; Linz, Austria; Göttingen and Münster, Germany; Timisoara, Romania and Leuven, Belgium.
Ruth is a student leader from Ichtus Belgium and she was in Leuven to help with their mission week. Before the mission, she asked everyone for prayer. Afterwards, this is what she said, ‘It has been amazing! About 30 people decided to come to the follow-up. A lot were interested. Some didn't want to come to the next talk because they said they would become a Christian if they'd come. Some became Christians. Some want to come to the IFES movement. We had lots and lots of good conversations. During the week we got so many financial gifts that we could give the books for free to the non-Christians. God really guided us and used us.’
CYFES Cyprus sent two representatives to Presence. In the weeks following the conference, the leaders met daily so that the two students who attended could share what they learned. They are familiarising themselves with 'Uncover', a Bible study tool to study a gospel with non-Christian friends. They are not alone. Tony, a student in Nuremburg, Germany is already studying Uncover with a friend, as are Corinne in Delft, Netherlands and InterAction volunteer Deb in Beer Sheva, Israel.
STAY IN TOUCH
In three years’ time we will see the next European Student Evangelism Conference. Would you consider making a gift now to support us as we make it happen in the next student generation? Or would you consider supporting IFES on a monthly basis, as we seek to support the national movements across Europe? You can make a gift or set up a regular standing order here.
With thanks for your partnership in the gospel!