Faithful Journey: Part 4

by Dr. Dave Coryell, Executive Director

On April 29th following ten days in Germany, I boarded a plane for Manchester, England. I met Harry Wedekind, Vice President for Christian Endeavor in Europe and the Middle East. Harry and I drove with videographer Nathan Robb to the Beechwood Courts Christian Endeavor Holiday Centre in Conwy, Wales. The car was a manual transmission that Harry needed to drive on the opposite side of the road. Harry did a great job but this added to the overall journey and adventure that was about to take place. The purpose for this trip was to gather with twelve people for the first European Leadership Academy.

After a meal of arguably the best fish and chips on the planet, we went to sleep anticipating several full days ahead. The next day everyone began arriving. Our group included people from England, Germany, Hungary, Romania and the US. The concerns around Brexit prevented anyone from Ireland attending. Interactive learning elements continue to be the teaching method that spans cultural boundaries. Learning activities with ropes, tent poles, tennis balls and dominoes all helped share leadership principles and reinforce transformational Biblical values.

The last evening we shared together, a gentleman from Hungary named Zsolt (I tried to pronounce this correctly for three days and failed miserably) started asking me deeper questions about Christian Endeavor. What I learned is that C.E. for many years has been a tool used to offer camps and conferences but few churches actually use the discipleship model to impact young people’s lives. He became more and more excited about the idea to translate the core Christian Endeavor equipping materials into his native language. He and his friends plan to work on this project during 2019 in hopes of equipping pastors and youth workers with the C.E. model in the years ahead.

Also on the last day, I spoke with Katrina from Germany. Katrina leads a small C.E. state union in western Germany. Her comments and insights were so valuable because she did not grow up in Christian Endeavor but has been learning the powerful impact it can make when properly used in churches.

Following three great equipping days, we enjoyed a morning driving around North Wales. The castles and scenery are truly a gift from God. The next day Harry flew to Ireland to visit with and encourage the Irish Endeavorers while Nathan and I flew to reconnect with our families. Sixteen total days were invested in speaking, teaching, networking, praying, listening, and growing. It was a great journey, and God was faithful through every step.

Faithful Journey: Part 3

by Dr. Dave Coryell, Executive Director

Following the intense five day “DC Tour” we boarded a train for western Germany. After a few hours we disembarked and were greeted by Simon Schuh, one of the leaders for C.E. Germany. Simon drove us to Flensunger Hof. Flensunger Hof is a camp where the 29th World Christian Endeavor convention will be held in July 2022.

Imagine young people coming together from at least thirty-three countries where C.E currently makes an impact. They will attend to make friends from around the world, participate in small group Bible studies to directly experience how different cultures react to various Scripture passages, be challenged by choosing one of several workshop tracks, and see the Holy Spirit impact lives through heartfelt worship with so many cultures involved. This will be the 29th time a gathering like this has taken place. God has certainly been faithful on the journey.

Simon Schuh, Bjorn Steinhilber, Nathan Robb and Dr. Dave Coryell.

Flensunger Hof director, Bjorn Steinhilber, provided a tour that showed us potential workshop areas, places for large group venues, fields for activities, as well as all the options available for housing. People will be able to have their own hotel style room with private bath, sleep in a tent while using public shower facilities or choose multiple options in between these two extremes. Over two hundred beds are available in camp buildings but the fields are large enough to have one thousand campers.

Three years from now we will gather at Flensunger Hof. The camp is close to one hour by car to Frankfurt, making it easily accessible for people from around the world to join this gathering. May God continue to guide us as we look forward to the 29th World Christian Endeavor convention in July 2022!

Faithful Journey: Part 2

by Dr. Dave Coryell, Executive Director

Following several intense days of speaking and connecting at the 2019 Osterkonferenz, we embarked on a five day “DC Tour” across Bavaria. The purpose of this tour was to meet with people to celebrate the 100th C.E. Anniversary in Bavaria while awakening people to God’s work through C.E. around the world.

Group of youth workers who showed
Dr. Dave and Nathan Robb around Augsburg.

Each place that we visited had both beautiful sites and amazing people. Everyone thought their city was the finest in Germany. On the first day we stayed near the city of Kempten. Kempten is Germany’s oldest city being founded by the Roman Empire. The gathering at this church was the smallest of the five days but had an excellent group of people. The fifteen people represented Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, Italy, and Syria. The next four nights we traveled to Munich, Augsburg, Ingolstadt and Nuremberg. The groups seemed to get larger every day ranging between forty in Munich to eighty on the last two nights.

The actual window where
Martin Luther was standing as he was handed the letter with the ultimatum of recant or stand trial.

One moment on this journey that gripped my heart was when we toured Augsburg. At one point we were taken to the Fuggerei. The Fuggerei is a mansion for the Fugger family as well as a home for children. Jakob Fugger was essentially the Bill Gates of the 1500’s in this region. He hosted significant dignitaries when they traveled through Augsburg. Martin Luther was staying with the Fugger’s when he received the letter asking him to either recant his views from the famous 95 Thesis he had nailed to the Wittenberg door or stand trial at the Diet of Worms. Luther did not know his decision would start the Reformation. He had no idea what path the Lord would take him down. It was just one more step on the journey where God would display His faithfulness. I had the opportunity to challenge people to see how God was faithfully working in and through Christian Endeavor to prepare us for His next Reformation.

One exciting component of the trainings was sharing about the strategic objectives God is carrying out through C.E. Being able to explain how these steps forward are changing lives awakens people to the real work God does through C.E. I opened each workshop by having people turn to their neighbor and check their shirt tag for the manufacturing country. The group was broken into teams and quickly wrote all of their countries on a white board. Following this exercise I explained how many of the countries have C.E. operating in them. Next, I led the group in an exercise to pray for the person who made their shirts. Imagine meeting a person in heaven someday that introduces him or herself and says, “I was waiting for you. I am the one who made your shirt!” This interactive beginning helps start the workshop, but it also helps establish how the workshop will end. The last activity we did was to break into two teams and at my signal have a team representative begin writing all of the countries in the world where team members knew someone well enough to have a conversation with them. One night sixty countries were listed, another night forty-nine countries were listed. The largest night over eighty countries were listed. I closed by challenging the group. God has used C.E to impact their lives and grow them as His disciples. Yet, they have connections literally all over the world but they have not shared about Christian Endeavor with them. God used this moment to challenge people to consider the next steps that could be taken.

I am not sure how God is going to build His Kingdom. I believe He plans to continue using Christian Endeavor in this process through the strengthening and growth of this ministry. We are trusting Him to have another five people start C.E. in their countries this year (at least Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Puerto Rico and Rwanda). I even learned about C.E. in Brazil from a German pastor that was a missionary in that country for two years. God is strengthening our network and growing it in His timing. I do know this, God will be faithful on this journey.

Faithful Journey: Part 1

by Dr. Dave Coryell, Executive Director

The title of this blog does not refer to my own faithfulness. It refers to God and the trust we can place in Him. I will tell of my journey to Germany and Wales in four parts.

On April 18th I flew to Munich, Germany. I was then transported to Gunzenhausen for the annual Osterkonferenz (Easter Conference) where I was the keynote speaker. Osterkonferenz began decades ago when numerous small Christian Endeavor churches decided to come together for a conference on Easter weekend including workshops, worship and fellowship. It began small and eventually grew. Today nearly four thousand people attend the events that include a large exhibit hall, children’s programming, a traditional worship track, numerous workshops on relevant topics, scores of food trucks, and large venue worship times that are live-streamed to people watching around the globe. Pretty solid work by forty-eight small C.E. churches in Bavaria. God is faithful!

The first message I delivered spoke to this faithfulness. The conference theme was “The Whale, Jesus, and You” and had the aim of using the book of Jonah to deliver a relevant message for today. Jonah means “dove” in Hebrew. He was the son of Amittai which interestingly means “faithful.” Jonah was literally the faithful dove. I explained how God has an intricate database. This database includes all the skills, talents, personality traits, and experiences for each person alive. This database includes all of our strengths and deficiencies. He then chooses people suited to carry out His various tasks. There was no greater match to take words of warning to the Ninevites than his faithful dove, Jonah. What does God have in His database for you? Will you make yourself available to carry out His mission?

God used this message to launch into several days of networking, long conversations with young people about spiritual things, a powerful Easter morning celebration and then finally Monday morning’s concluding message. First the leader of C.E. Bavaria, Samuel Haubner, spoke a message thanking God for His faithfulness over the last one hundred years. This centennial celebration was an opportunity to give thanks for all He had done. Then a song was sung before it was my turn to share. I finished teaching on Jonah which ends with Jonah’s remorse due to God sparing the repentant Ninevites. Most people walk away from Jonah and believe that the Bible’s Ninevite story ends there. However, one hundred years later, the prophet Nahum speaks to the Ninevites again because they had returned to their evil practices. Nahum warns that the Ninevites would be totally destroyed. The wall surrounding Nineveh was believed to be one hundred feet high and nearly fifty feet thick. This wall had a circumference according to some historians of 85 miles. The Ninevites believed their wall was virtually indestructible! Forty years after Nahum’s prophecy, the Tigris river flooded its banks and left a huge hole in the mighty wall. The Medes and Persians then combined forces and annihilated the Ninevites before carrying away every last stone. For centuries Nineveh was believed to be mythological along the same lines as the lost city of Atlantis. In 1845 remnants of the city were discovered. I shared this with the people and then asked- what will people say about Osterkonferenz’s centennial anniversary? Will they look back and say that this was their greatest hour before the spiritual pulse of the Bavarians began to wane? Or would they say that Osterkonferenz 2019 was the beginning of a new spark that lit a fire to grow the Kingdom of God for His glory to unprecedented levels? The message concluded with a call for people to enter missionary service. By God’s grace at least forty people responded to that challenge. An older woman later that day with tears forming in her eyes looked at me and shared in her broken English, “Over three thousand missionaries were called to service through Christian Endeavor in Germany . . . But we had stopped challenging young people to serve! Thank you for bringing the challenge again.”

We must not stop! Call young people to serve. God is faithful on this journey called life. He has a mission for us to fulfill. He is going to His database to look for those who will carry it out. Will you be His faithful dove? Will you be available?