This April, over 250 leaders from across Europe gathered in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon for a three-day meeting hosted by a local church. In an effort to strengthen the network and draw more people into connection with our work, City to City (CTC) Europe hosts a gathering in a different major European city every 18 months. Thus, holding the conference in Lisbon served to catalyze efforts in cities across Portugal and Spain in new and exciting ways. Three years ago, there were a mere 30 leaders from the Iberian Peninsula at a similar network gathering. This year, we had over 100 leaders from the region, which continues to show that hosting gatherings in geographically diverse locations helps draw people into the movement who may not have been connected at all.
Church planters from Europe led both the plenary talks and the breakout workshops for the gathering, which provided a wealth of perspectives and material for all in attendance. The main sessions addressed developing a theological vision and challenging the cultural narratives of a city. Workshops covered topics ranging from how to develop training programs to examining your prayer life and urban discipleship. For many, the opportunity to network with other church planters from similar contexts was the most valuable part. It is a joy for us to witness the way that co-laborers in Christ have been drawn together over the years through CTC Europe.
In many ways, this gathering has revealed CTC Europe’s new horizon. What was once a small network centered on a few specific individuals has grown to include second and third generation church planters. These planters have joined the network through a church planting friend, mentor, or colleague. The over 100 new participants we met this year confirmed our thoughts that CTC Europe is now seeing a new generation of leaders rising up across the great cities of the region. We are excited to see the network enter a new phase, where there is continued ownership by leaders in Europe, and excitement about church planting extending far beyond our reach.
The talks on the conference are really helpful, because they touched on the discussion we are having right now about the future of our church. I also saw that people in different cities have the same issues, that a movement is more and more becoming reality. A lot of plants are now 5+ years old and have different questions, so it was a good mixture of gospel churches between plants and grown up churches.
– Dennis Viehoff, Hamburgprojekt in Hamburg, Germany