City to City Europe recently hosted their latest conference in Kraków, Poland. City to City Europe focuses on church planting, with the aim of renewing the cities in Europe, and gathering resources for leaders who want to bring the power of the gospel to every part of life. They seek to catalyze and serve a Europe-wide movement of leaders who create new churches, new ventures, and new expressions of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the common good. Though we are not church planters, one of OMS Hungary’s main ministry focuses is to assist churches with discipleship. Because of that, attending this conference was an invaluable experience, even though it did not directly relate to our work.
City to City Europe – Why?
We define discipleship as a process where a believer practices spiritual disciplines to strengthen their faith while actively sharing their faith with others as well. The goal is creating more disciples. Our philosophy is that churches aren’t multiplying currently, because many people attending church remain in the believer phase of faith and don’t progress beyond it. We feel this lack of progression is the cause of stunted church growth and results in a lack of church multiplication. Therefore, we believe that discipleship is a precursor to church planting.
There were two reasons that attracted the team to attend the City to City conference. The first reason is that City to City Europe represented a sizable cross section of Europe as a whole. Thirty-two countries were represented. In order to be able to work with churches and try and meet them where they are, it is beneficial to get a perspective from as wide of a sample as possible. The second reason is we that knew Hungary would be strongly represented at the conference. However, we did not realize that Hungary would be the country with the most members in attendance. The conference naturally encouraged networking during breaks in presentations and an atmosphere of people looking to grow and interested in learning and sharing ideas.
City to City Europe – The Good Stuff
City to City’s founder, Tim Keller, was the keynote speaker for the event. The theme for the event was the Word of God creating a movement within us, our church, our city, and our world. When we discussed the conference afterward, we noted that Tim’s overall point was that a movement starts from within and works its way out.
In addition to Tim’s sessions, there were TED style talks that focused on telling the stories of ministry, faith in the workplace, and the importance of coaching for church planters. Panels of church planters were interviewed to share their triumphs and struggles. This was an effective way of demonstrating that there are no easy paths to founding and growing a church but, if we follow God’s call and persevere, we can accomplish more than we thought we could. The last major component of the conference was the breakout seminars which discussed a wide range of topics helpful to those planting churches.
Outside of sessions, talks, and seminars, each day began with a Gospel exposition and a time of worship. Beginning in this way kept our focus on God and the people we are trying to reach for Him. During the break times, we were able to network and facilitate meetings with church leaders from Hungary that would have taken months to do on our own.
City to City Europe – The Afterward
Since City to City, the team has begun strengthening established partnerships and met to explore creating new partnerships. We are looking at opportunities for new English clubs and partnerships in the area of discipleship.
One of the resounding encouragements from City to City was how excited pastors and leaders were to hear about discipleship curriculum and how often it was mentioned during conversations and the sessions throughout the time we were there. One of the breakout seminars’ topic was specifically on Urban Discipleship. Coming out of the conference, we are strongly encouraged in the direction we feel God has given us and we are excited about the doors that God has opened from being a part of the conference. We look forward to our current partnerships blossoming and the future ones we have yet to forge!
– By Josh Woeckener, OMS Hungary Team Member