by Steve Henderson
On Monday, October 23, over thirty participants converged in Teisendorf, Germany for the 2017 ICC Pastors’ Retreat. We are praying for our pastors (and their wives, some of whom are in attendance) to be filled with refreshment, joy in God’s truth, encouragement, and renewed vision and hope. These pastors are serving in English-speaking international churches in France, Germany, Georgia, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, England and the U.S.
We opened Monday night with a preview of the week. Our keynote speaker, Glen Scrivener, took us through the first two of five messages on his "3-2-1" method—how the gospel demonstrates and declares the overflowing and spreading love of the Father for the Son in the fulness of the Spirit.
One of the highlights of each conference is hearing news from the field, and Tuesday we enjoyed four updates: three from France (Bordeaux, Nice and Marseille) and one from Germany (Stuttgart).
Join us in praying for the international pastors and wives, and for the workshop presenters this week. You can download audio from Glen's sessions and other helpful resources HERE.
Session 01: “From the Overflow” - Glen Scrivener
Reflections by Steve Henderson, Pastor of MICC
Download the audio HERE
Starting in Matthew 23:15, Glen challenged us to rethink our engagement in the process of evangelism. A painful reality in the churches is that so many of us, both in the pulpit and the pew, don’t know God and don’t know the gospel. The Pharisees had a false-gospel message which only made their hearers twice a child of hell. The true dynamic is revealed in Matthew 23:34.
Thus we we are challenged to get the message right about God and the true and authentic good news.
Peter’s first letter gives us a context in which the gospel is good news: in suffering. 1 Peter is “pastoral evangelism” shepherding people in suffering and pointing them to the goodness of Christ. And really, evangelism is the application of the pastoral task to unbelievers.
The brilliance of God’s love is seen in him as the lover, and not us as the beloved. Speaking to those elect exiles—the scattered and suffering internationals, in-country nationals, and immigrants of the first century—Peter declares that they are objects of God’s love and mercy.
Glen reminded us that God does not love us instead of the nations, but for the sake of the nations.
As God moves to reach the nations, the Church is God’s evangelistic strategy. One UK observer remarked to Glen, “The church is dead; it is so bound in death that I’m afraid that the church will miss the next great move of God.” What can we say in response to this? We can only echo the scriptural declaration that the Church is the next move of God!
Glen encouraged us to steer wide of the trap that says: if we could be the cool, competent, attractive Christian, the best performer on the team, then people would ask us what makes us so great.
Instead of this performance trap, embrace the kind of life in Christ through which hope and love overflow. One cricketer, when reflecting on his relationships with teammates, remarked, “They didn’t come to me because I was the best bowler. They came to me because I was they guy they could trust with their suffering.” We can be the kind of people who know how to suffer well because we cling to Christ.
Steve Henderson is a member of the ICC Euro team and has been the Pastor of Munich International Community Church since 1999. He is a native of the US, raised in Cincinnati, and graduated from Vanderbilt University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Robin, have five daughters: Betsy, Katie, Abby, Emily and Claire. Previously he pastored churches in Houston, Texas and Greenville, South Carolina, and was the administrator for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Just prior to his ministry in Munich, he established a new private Christian school in South Carolina and served as its administrator for five years.