More Than Expected: The Netherlands
by Dr Dave Coryell; C.E. USA - Executive Director, World C.E. - General Secretary
Think about the most exciting four days you could invest anywhere in the world doing anything you want to do. How many people would place “Attend Board Meetings” at the top of their list? As crazy as it sounds, the World Christian Endeavor Board meetings were that fantastic. The only thing keeping me from putting this at the apex of my list is that my wife and kids were not with me. These days were certainly “More Than Expected.” Let me explain three reasons why.
1. Going Deeper with Christ
The first reason was a deepening of our relationship with Christ. We began our days together at a camp facility in Zeewolde about an hour and fifteen minutes from Amsterdam. Following dinner, introductions and personal sharing we had a rich worship time. People from eleven different countries sang their full heart out to God. Next, I shared that we were standing on the shoulders of people who had led Christian Endeavor for almost one hundred and forty years. My desire for the group was for everyone to have a deep spiritual experience with Christ during our days together. Was this even possible? The atmosphere in the room confirmed that it was not only possible, but that through the Holy Spirit it had begun to take place. Our priority is to be a faithful ministry and then a growing one. God is growing C.E. tremendously but this must never be our first concern. Prior to sessions, we spent our days together invested in singing praises, prayer, hearing teaching on Scripture and we even applied a ten-minute sharing and listening walk with a partner. There were also multiple times during the meetings when we were able to stop and praise the Lord for what He has done.
2. Going Deeper with Work
Second, we did incredibly meaningful work! The Finance Team announced our losses for 2018 were significantly less than expected. People shared amazing ideas to close the remaining gap before aggressive plans were discussed to grow the ministry’s financial base. The Communication Team made incredible strides toward established goals, including specific steps with the website relaunch and improvements to our posting process. The Materials Team announced certain materials being available in four languages and other resources being discussed for development and use around the globe. The following day two new national unions, Pakistan and Pohnpei, were unanimously accepted. A nominating Committee was appointing for future elections and targeted plans to make Flensunger Hof, Germany and the World Convention 21-24 July 2022 the best convention on record for equipping young people for ministry. God is so good!
3. Going Deeper with Others
Third and finally, we had exceptional relational connection time. Harry Wedekind, our host and Vice President for C.E. in Europe, took us to visit a Bible smuggling museum at a local ministry called Open Doors that functions in eighty countries. It was like going through a Christian spy display! We ate Dutch pancakes, drove alongside windmills, rode a boat through canals and had a meaningful worship time at a local church.
Work can be a spiritual experience. God worked for six days before He rested. When we work, we have the opportunity to act like God. First, we need to surrender our attitude and expectations to Him. Next, we need to give God space to work. Then, maybe even four days at an annual Board retreat can become a mountain top experience!