What does this tell us about God?
How will your life be different this week because of what you’ve heard?
More than 50 junior high students were gathered in groups to discover what the Bible had to say about their lives. A dozen of them were brand new followers of Jesus who had discovered Jesus for the first time through this Bible Club.
The setting? Recess at a junior high school in Oxford, England.
The instigator? Josh, a teacher who was being trained and mentored in gospel movements.
If you had known Josh in his high school and university years, you wouldn’t have imagined he would become the catalyst for all these kids to find Jesus. During those years he was involved in some pretty rough stuff. But some time after graduating, Josh had a supernatural encounter with the Spirit of God. He promised God that he would serve him with all that he had, wherever God put him. When he got a job as a teacher, he began sharing his faith at work and also started a Bible Club.
Josh was giving all he had, but he wasn’t seeing much momentum. He started being mentored by Danny, a missionary with CRM, as part of a weekly disciple making community in central Oxford. Danny started meeting up with Josh one on one every few weeks to talk about Disciple Making Movement (DMM) principles and to go deeper in mentoring and coaching. As a result, Josh started using Discovery Bible Study principles in his Bible Club, and it was a game changer. The club grew to 50+ kids attending weekly, and it’s still growing. Discovery Bible Studies happen at the school during recess and after class for the students who don’t go home right away. Josh is discipling the new believers and helping these kids form new groups to reach more of their fellow students. It’s continuing to expand. This is what the start of a gospel movement looks like.
Introducing the OxfordHUB
Josh’s story is one example of the impact DMM can have in post-Christian Europe. Leaders like Josh have fueled the fire of vision for our CRM Oxford team, who are launching a new training base to equip European believers in DMM. That’s what the OxfordHUB is all about.
Danny Aanderud, leader of the OxfordHUB, has years of ministry experience in Western Europe. He’s convinced that Europe is at a strategic moment for these movements to be launched, and that training believers to effectively share and multiply their faith is a key component. The OxfordHUB is a strategic ministry venture designed to train and launch new leaders into gospel movement across Europe.
The Need in Europe
Europe is in desperate need of a fresh movement of God’s Spirit. No other continent in the history of mankind has contributed to the proliferation of Christianity like Europe, yet the last 100 years have been marked by a steady decline in church attendance paralleled by an increase in other major religions, led by Islam. Europe is actually becoming one of the largest unreached regions of the world. With the American church focusing primarily on mission to the so-called “10/40 Window” during the latter half of the 20th Century, Europe’s spiritual decline slipped further under the radar of Western missionary efforts. The best hope the Church has in post-Christian Europe is to develop new ways to engage the increasing number of unreached people.
The Church in Europe is facing an increasingly complex situation in the face of the current refugee crisis. European churches are starting to realize their need for new methods of outreach. In the midst of fighting simply to survive, European churches are recognizing their need for cross-cultural skills in order to connect in a meaningful way with the refugees on their doorstep. This is a need that CRM’s perspectives on mission and outreach can help to fill.
How the HUB Will Meet This Need
In 2011, after observing the success of the DMM strategy in other parts of the world, Danny and others in CRM began developing a similar approach to activate gospel movements in Europe.
“We believe we are facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to model effective disciple making, provide training, and develop movement leaders to launch into every community in Europe, including refugee camps,” the Oxford team shares. The OxfordHUB will be a center of evangelistic activity, partnering with churches and other ministries for outreach, and also a training base to develop leaders for movement. The OxfordHUB plans to launch an internship program to train high potential leaders in evangelism and disciple making, and release them back into their communities equipped for movement.
The OxfordHUB is meant to be the flagship ministry for several other training centers across Europe, each one equipped to find, develop, and send out leaders with capacity to lead Disciple Making Movements in their countries. The OxfordHUB team vision is that believers all across Europe would be empowered to reach their cities with the gospel, and that all of Europe would be reawakened to the good news of Jesus.
While this vision is still in the initial stages of development, they are already seeing spiritual fruit from the lives of local leaders like Josh. His story, and the story of a growing number of kids finding Jesus at an Oxford Junior High School, is just the first chapter of a much bigger God story the HUB hopes to write across the European Continent.
ABOUT: Danny and Christy Aanderud live in Oxford, England, with their two children. They serve with CRM’s pioneering and cross-cultural division, Ethne.