The Belgian Evangelical Mission begins a new journey, Evangelical Focus

During the celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Evangelical Mission of Belgium (BEM) unveiled its new axes of evangelization.

After several years of rethinking the organization’s vision and praying intensively, the mission has launched a new strategy. In a rapidly changing world, the emphasis is less on bringing people to church, and more on bringing church to people.

Evangelism is seen as a journey, a road where people travel together, finding the Way to God.

In the 21st century, many people in the Western world seem to be indifferent to the gospel message. There has been a sharp decline in biblical values ​​in many parts of Europe, especially in Belgium.

The European Union – with the Belgian capital Brussels as its nerve center – offers economic prosperity to many people. Simultaneously, there is growing spiritual poverty in the continent which was once a stronghold of Christianity.

Spirituality has become an experience rather than a life-changing truth.

Or as the BEM puts it: “The rise of globalization has fostered many kinds of faiths and beliefs that can be picked up like items in a supermarket. In this great spiritual supermarket, we want to witness to our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We want others in Belgium to meet Him personally, so that they too can continue their life with Him”.

Pastor Henk Van Dorp, a church planter with BEM for over 30 years, has seen this development over the past few decades. He is convinced that evangelization needs to be rethought in depth.

“Society has changed and in some ways we need to change too. Our message remains unchanged, but our relationship to society changes. In the 70s and 80s, campaigns produced instant results. Nowadays, it takes much longer to see the results of our actions. We must do like Jesus when he accompanied the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He walked with them a long distance and we also have to travel with people on their spiritual journey.”

It is therefore no coincidence that one of the keywords used by the Belgian Evangelical Mission is ‘journey’.

INTEGRATION AND COMMUNITY

The answer to the question of how best to reach people with the gospel is constantly changing.

Van Dorp: “It takes time to discover the right strategy, and by the time you know it, it may already be out of date – and then you have to start all over again. Above all, we need the right people, visionaries, people who know what is happening in the world. We want BEM missionaries to be integrated into society. Otherwise, workers will focus only on people who already believe.”

The new approach to Mission demands integration: instead of trying to draw the people of the world into the church, Christians should leave their “fortresses” and go into the world and spread light and love there. of God.

It might involve a different way of worshiping, and it will certainly require different methods of evangelism. Christians should be where the people they are trying to reach are.

Often there is a great distance between believers and non-believers, which makes it difficult to convey the message. When Christians and non-Christians meet in the same room, they can interact with each other.

Jan Wisse, former head of Operation Mobilization Belgium, recently joined the BEM and played a key role in the transition of the mission. He underlines the importance of being a community.

“We are a family, eager to reflect the love of Jesus wherever we are. We want to be a community in our world and we want to be accessible to all. The unity in diversity within this family is a testament to this. strong. Based on trust and mutual involvement, we have the will to walk together. In this way we will be true disciples of Jesus”.

SPIRITUAL NEED

Kurt Maeyens, director of the Belgian Evangelical Mission, admits that there is a great spiritual need in Belgium. After all, less than 1% of the Belgian population visits an evangelical church on Sundays.

Kurt Maeyens, director of the Belgian Evangelical Mission.

Belgian society is rapidly becoming more and more liberal and secular. The results of this trend are visible in all areas of society. How will Christians respond to the many challenges of this enormous need?

This is the same question that was posed to the founders of the Belgian Evangelical Mission. Their world was Belgian society during and just after the First World War. Their response was a spiritual as well as a humanitarian commitment.

Their efforts have led to substantial growth in the evangelical movement over the years. Will more churches emerge now? Further growth will be the result of the work of the Holy Spirit, but it also requires the full commitment of God’s children.

After all, Jesus commanded his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. The Great Commission is as valid for Christians today as it was for his followers immediately after his resurrection.

Looking at the situation in Belgium, another passage of Scripture also applies: “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field. Kurt: “We are looking for motivated people who have experienced the call to share the gospel in a land that is lost. We pray for God’s blessing and look forward to what God will do in the future”.

The mission changed its name to 'ViaNova' (new way).

A NEW PATH

At the beginning of a new era of his ministry, the mission changed its name to ‘ViaNova’ (new way). The dream for the future is great: “We see a flourishing movement of Integrated Communities of Jesus’ disciples throughout Belgium”.

The collaborators of the Mission look forward to the realization of this dream.

You can learn more about ‘ViaNova’ here.

Barry F. Howard