In a context of the war in Ukraine and after two online conference, participants saw the week in Wisla as a chance to renew the gospel vision for Europe.
After two online Forums in 2020 and 2021, hundres of evangelical leaders were able to safely gather in Wisla, Poland for the 2022 European Leadership Forum (ELF) conference.
Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, participants from 41 countries on 4 continents met at at ELF 2022. The Forum brought together evangelical Christian leaders from across Europe and around the world for specialised training, mentoring, resource sharing, and networking.
[photo_footer] Peter J. Williams had the Bible expositions at the 2022 ELF conference. / Photo: J. Forster
Participants attended 25 small communities called Networks, with each focusing on such diverse areas as youth ministry, apologetics, church planting and revitalisation, arts, discipleship, science, fundraising, media, counselling, evangelism and more.
Expert Christian leaders from various fields of study led over 300 individual sessions and workshops. The Forum was bookended by three Pre-Forum Conferences, five Pre-Forum Seminars, and three Post-Forum Seminars focused on everything from Bible teaching to believing in God in an age of science.
Monday’s Expo brought almost 20 Christian organisations together to meet with participants and build relationships. Relationships were also built through hundreds of mentoring sessions and, through the 2020-2021 season, through 21 Year-Round Mentoring initiatives with more than 150 participants.
There will be 25 Year-Round Mentoring strategies in 2022-2023, and registration is still happening now through September.
Speakers highlighted the war in Ukraine and the effect it has had, not just on the people of
Ukraine, but on all of Europe. Among them, Jaroslaw Lukasik, leader of the Eastern European Leadership Forum, about the work he and others are doing to support the people of Ukraine.
This year, the ELF livestreamed its plenary sessions through their YouTube channel and website. During the morning plenary sessions Peter J. Williams (CEO of Tyndale House, Cambridge) spoke on various parables of Jesus from the gospel of Luke. The evening plenary sessions were given by Emmanuel Tundrea (Associate Professor, Emanuel University), John Stevens (National Director, Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches), Stefan Gustavvson (Director of Apologia, Center for Christian Apologetics), and Dave Patty (President, Josiah Venture).
For many participants, the Forum’s annual meeting is a totally unique opportunity for connection and learning with other ministry leaders.
Timo Heimlich, leader of Church Planting Catalyst in Germany, said: “My first ELF was in 2019, followed by two years online. This year, it was fantastic to be back in person to meet old and new friends. Long talks in the evenings, meals and worship together, meeting not only new people but also their friends and colleagues – this is all something that has been missing for some years. While I appreciate the quality content from experienced trainers now as much as during the online ELFs, it was definitely good to again feel part of the three-dimensional body of Christ in Europe”.
[photo_footer] Many participants highlighted the chances to engage in conversations around mission in Europe. / Photo: ELF.
Maria Kamran, Co-Director of ACT in Pakistan, said: “If I say it was the best lifetime gift to be part of the ELF journey. What a wonderful door of knowledge and learning is opened for Pakistan and will be multiplied to equip other emerging leaders. The way I was welcomed and leaders invested their knowledge, experience and precious time to know more about my Ministry in Pakistan is incredible. Thank you ELF for giving me a clearer vision about my Ministry and an invaluable experience of learning. And especially my Mentor, Ann Blaser has just transformed my spiritual journey and sharing my heart with her has healed me in many ways. She is one of the most precious gems of ELF”.
Wojciech Kowalewski, President of Golden Apple Institute in Poland, said: “It is always good to come to ELF. It is so much more than just an excellent conference. ELF offers a community for like-minded leaders to network, engage with one another and get practical tools for growth in ministry. It is truly great to be back in person after 2 years online because of Covid. Meetings with other leaders from all over the world at ELF are truly enriching and it is such a blessing to be here. I am so grateful that I can lead one of the networks here to be part of this movement”.
ELF will announced its 2023 European Leadership Summit later this summer.
[title] Evangelical Focus at the ELF 2022
Evangelical Focus was present at the ELF 2022 in Wisla, near Krakow. Among other things, we talked to participants about our journalism platform for Europe at the conference's 'Expo'.
In the photo, Italian theologian and author Leonardo De Chirico (left), Spanish Evangelical Alliance general secretary Emilio Carmona (centre) and Evangelical Focus director Joel Forster.