It had been four years since our last Study Day on the Continent, but our recent excursion across the Channel suggested it really ought not to be as long until we return for another. Though the British Bible School has a regular spot on the ABSS programme held at Gemünden in Germany each February, this was just the second time we had been invited to conduct an event like this.
The congregation in Deurne, Antwerp, in Belgium, were most gracious hosts as Patrick Boyns and Trevor Williams spent last weekend sharing as much of our Module on Mission Studies and other related material as was able to be squeezed into a single day. It was a rather intense period of study, but some two dozen came out from both the local area and a number of other congregations in Belgium and Holland.
The programme included an introduction to the mission of God, a brief history of Christian mission, a consideration of overcoming cultural barriers to sharing the message of Christ, along with some practical matters surrounding congregational growth and development. Perhaps the most critical matter affecting outreach today is the need for a renewal of a mind for mission, not only among those who publicly teach and preach, but among all of God’s people in all that we do.
Staying over to teach and preach on the Sunday, lessons were translated into Twi, a Ghanian language. One might have expected a translation into Flemish, being in the northern half of Belgium, but as has happened in many British and European cities, a growing number of African believers has led to significant changes in the composition of the local congregation. There is currently a Flemish assembly in the evening and, though there is a recognition that incomers have a need to speak the local language to be effective in mission wherever they are, many are still dependent on a translation into their home language. Such are some of the challenges of our present age.