Christians must model ethnic integration across Europe – that’s the message from the head of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA).
General Secretary Gordon Showell-Rogers gave the challenge in his address to the joint General Assembly of the EEA and the European Evangelical Mission Alliance (EEMA).
“In the EEA and EEMA, we model difference in intergenerational relationships, in gender relationships and more,” he said.
“At a time when the whole world is inevitably obsessed with economics, there is at least one other area in which we need to model difference and take a stronger lead – namely ethnic integration.”
He added that most European countries enjoy a rich ethnic diversity, that all over Europe the fastest Church growth is among ethnic ‘minorities’, and that many countries are also receiving growing numbers of missionaries from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“Integration is on the lips of many politicians and educators in our countries and at EU level. Everybody knows that it is vital.
“European Christians arguably have an almost unique selling point in this ‘niche market’: the ability to do what neither religion nor secular humanism can do – truly modelling integrated communities. Christ’s people genuinely celebrate unity in diversity, within the evangelical family.”
Mr Showell-Rogers said there are examples of this already all over Europe, such as in Belgium and France, where Christian rallies are very multi-ethnic.
He added that ways of building on this might include combined worship services, making sure that boards and committees in evangelical agencies and alliances are ethnically diverse and listening to ‘minorities’.
The EEA is now planning a targeted, Europe-wide consultation to enable those from ethnic ‘majorities’ and ethnic ‘minorities’ to learn from each other.
The EEA and EEMA General Assembly, attended by delegates from 38 countries, was held on April 21 to 24 in Tarragona, Spain.
The conference discussed issues affecting Europe and Central Asia– including several facing evangelicalism, such as representation in the EU, religious liberties, and evangelism. National Evangelical Alliances and pan-European mission agencies also considered how to resource one another and work together more effectively.
The Assembly finished by celebrating the EEMA slogan: “The church at the heart of mission, and mission at the heart of the church.”
The whole assembly rejoiced at the privilege of identifying with the EEA’s vision of transforming Europe and Eurasia by reflecting the Kingdom of God and committed itself to a number of shared initiatives – realistic small steps towards realising that vision in the EEA region and well beyond.
The acceptance of the Evangelical Alliances of Azerbaijan and Kosovo into EEA membership increases the number of national Alliances in the EEA to 36.