How Can One Find and Implement Visions?
E l s t a l – How Can One Find and Implement Visions? That was the central question of an “International Baptist Leadership Course” which took place from 1 to 8 April for the first time on the campus of the Elstal Baptist Education Centre near Berlin. Thirty-five people from 14 nations aged 17 to 40 participated in the sessions evolving from the earlier International Bible School.
It was stated that formulating a vision requires considering one’s own personality, faith, capabilities and group. Practical matters such as the development of a strategic plan also should not be neglected.
Pastor Christoph Haus, Director of Germany’s “Church Youth Programme” (Gemeindejugendwerk), stated: “Before discovering a vision for my life and work, I must know: What are my values, what are my principles, what is my understanding of the Gospel?” Jeff Carter (Prague), Youth Coordinator for the European Baptist Federation (EBF), referred on the matter of implementing visions to the Old Testament prophet Jonah: “Those acquainted with Jonah’s feeling of being swallowed know: If I have recognised a vision for my life, then I must pursue that vision, for otherwise my life will be without meaning.” Other speakers included Bente Sandtorp (Oslo), Bible School director for the Baptist Union of Norway, the Dutch youth director Nico Wever (Schoenloo) and the former EBM missionary Kristina Hasenpusch (Hanover).
A tour of Berlin, an evening international culture session, and discussion groups were also part of the programme. The participants also had the opportunity for frequent prayer. They promised to remain in contact with each other in the future.
Tjorven Hetzger, a student at the Elstal Bible School’s one-year programme, concluded: „Most pleasant of all was that a completely relaxed and natural form of interchange was possible despite differing cultures. We are united by our faith in Jesus Christ – that was evident in a truly dramatic way.” Christoph Haus was impressed how “Serbs and Croats, Lebanese, an Israeli and Egyptian jointly prepared and led meditations and services. Their mutual discipleship overcame political differences and divides.”
The International Baptist Leadership Course is offered by the Church Youth Programme of Germany’s Union of Evangelical Free Churches (Baptists) and the European Baptist Federation. It is to take place on an annual basis.