Re-Jesus: Now That the Conference is Over

I leaned in against the table in a room set up to be a “World Café” at Josiah Venture’s Malenovice training center, as I listened to my new friend Iveta tell me about her conference experience.

“When I’m showing Christ to others, my goal is to show an example of me walking as Jesus walked. This is a building up for me, in coming here to this conference!”

The 19 year old, a youth leader from Bulgaria, was super excited. And I couldn’t blame her. JV’s annual fall conference, entitled Re-Jesus, was coming to a close. And the impact of five encouraging days together, studying Jesus’ life and ministry with over 280 disciple makers from 13 different European countries, could be life changing.

Now that the conference is over, here are a few glimpses of our days together:

Walk 2/6 Groups

Every day, in addition to listening to teaching on Walk 2/6, our newly rewritten and repackaged curriculum based on Dann Spader’s SonLife material, we met in small groups to discuss the stages of Christ’s ministry and how it applies to our own.

People from different cultures shared stories of challenges and triumphs with each other throughout our time. The groups helped us learn how to lead more like Jesus and walk the way he did in practical and personal ways.

Bence, a 21 year old from Hungary, told me he’s grateful for the chance to dive into the material. “It’s not just information. Walk 2/6 is so practical and simple. There are a couple of guys I’m discipling right now, and I find this material super helpful.”

Dave’s Equipping Example

One of my favorite moments inside the huge tent where we met was midweek when Dave Patty modeled how to effectively equip other leaders when your ministry is multiplying. He asked for a volunteer who had never spoken in front of a large crowd to come to the stage.

Kirilin from Estonian came forward. Dave gave her three simple public speaking tips, offered her a few minutes to think about her speech, then allowed her the floor in order to encourage us with what she’d been learning at the conference.

She stood there in front of us, looked people in the eyes, and said, “We are learning to make disciples, but if it’s not your lifestyle it’s not going to work. Live it out with love and passion.”

The message was a great one, and Dave continued with his example showing how giving others chances to lead and challenging people to step up in ministry can make way for God to do new and exciting things in people’s lives.

Slovakia Women Share Disciplemaking Resource

Each evening after the main session, there were extra presentations on a variety of topics. Five incredible women from Slovakia (Denisa, Zuzana, Eva, Anna, and Maruska), who recently put their creativity and passion for Christ to good use by writing a book on discipleship, led one of these.

Sharing their hearts for ministry, they discussed how On Display, a resource to help guide small groups for young women, became one of the first published books of its kind in their country.

“We saw the need.The book was written from practice. It’s from real life, for real life,” Zuzana says, explaining that the authors used their own experiences in disciple-making to draw on for the book content. The book was published in April, and Zuzana calls the whole process “a miracle.”

The words spoken in the session inspired those listening to use their own gifts and opportunities to point others to Christ in their countries.

JV’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

On the last night of the conference we celebrated JV’s 20th anniversary. The evening included singing praises with the worship band, receiving an apple as a symbol of ministry fruit, and watching fireworks.

But the best part was hearing story after story –through videos, a timeline of key events, and upfront sharing from JV leaders– of how we’ve seen God’s movement throughout Central and Eastern Europe throughout the last 20 years.

When Dan and Laura Hash came up to stand beside Dave and Connie Patty as the first JV missionaries, Dan said something I’ll remember for a long time. “The only things that last forever are God’s Word and people. So you can’t go wrong if you invest in those things.”

I’m grateful that Josiah Venture has always been about making a lasting difference by joining God in his work of changing lives.

Lasting Impact

Those are just a few glimpses into our Re-Jesus fall conference. We had an incredible week learning more about how to walk as Jesus did in our ministries. But the impact of the conference is far from over.

Ben Williams, country leader in Ukraine, says, “Our heart is to see much fruit. Our heart is to see ministries that multiply. We want to see this region reached for Christ in the near future.”

Please pray with us, that what the youth leaders attending the conference learned will shape the way they do ministry in their youth groups, churches, and countries, this fall. That we would be able to do what Jesus did, making disciples who make disciples, by walking as Jesus walked.

The impact could change this part of the world.