April 2011 - Vol. 49

A time of worship and praise at the Kairos Europe Weekend
Where Are We Headed in Serving God?

A personal reflection on the Kairos Europe Weekend 2011

by Stephen Bick

On the 2nd of February this year, seven Londoners got off a train at Leuven, home of, we were told, chocolate and beer. While we did find these things, in various quantities, eventually, what we first discovered was a crack team of hand-selected brothers and sisters from the Jerusalem community waiting for us to help direct us to La Foresta where we were to spend the weekend. They said they had been there all day waiting for us, which I initially assumed was some kind of translation error but later found out was true, and their willingness to stand in the rain all day waiting for us really touched me. 

After a brief bus ride and hike we came across La Foresta, a labyrinth of a place with a tremendous echo through the corridors, which we were to share with an orchestra, an African drumming group, and the cast of a production of Grease, not to mention some monks. After a simple but welcome dinner of cheese, ham and bread we proceeded to the main hall where Ravish, a Koinonia staff worker in London, UK and Marie-Sophie, a Pharos staff worker in Leuven, Belgium briefed us on the weekend: talks on the subject of vocation given by none other than Martin Steinbereithner, the Mission Director for the Sword of the Spirit region in Europe and the Middle East. 

Martin is an excellent speaker who did not pull the punches when telling us how to actively respond to God’s plan for our lives. In the first of these talks, ”There’s no lack of vocations,” he told us how God had a plan for each of our lives, a plan that would take a lifetime to discover.

Come Saturday we were ready to find out more, and after morning prayers we met in the main hall for the second talk, entitled ”...just a shortage of people responding to them,” in which Martin showed us the things that block us from fulfilling God’s plans for our lives. Plan-blocker number 1 is pusillanimity, meaning smallness of spirit, or in other words, “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.” Other dangers were selfishness and fear of failure. Martin also used the analogy of a sculptor chipping away at a slab of granite: it may be scary to limit ourselves by making specific decisions for specific paths and not keep our options open, but this is how we reveal the form beneath the rock. Included with the talk was a sheet filled with inspiring quotations, which really inspired me during the weekend. My favorite quote was from Winston Churchill: "Never give in never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." 

After the second talk four workshops were on offer to choose from: a workshop on turning vision into reality, Tadgh Lynch (decisions), Martin (mission), Brian Shell (Gap years), and Dave Quintana and Mags Tierney (state of life). It was the last one that I went to and, while not being the best attended, was very helpful and insightful for me. 

Afterwards: lunch and sports and recreation time, in which I gave the young men of Europe a lesson on football, although it took me 90 minutes to get up to peak form.

That night we had our big prayer meeting, led by my good friend John Robinson, an artist who is doing student evangelism in his native Belfast. It was a very special time for everyone, it seemed to me, and I felt closer to God than I ever had. After receiving prayer, my small group leader told me he had a word from the Lord for me, which was most welcome. Afterwards, we went down to the basement for some entertainment, including crowd games from Belgium and Glasgow UCO, dancing the Polonaise, an excellent sketch from the Belfast University Christian Outreach team, and, stealing the show, a mashup of songs from Koinonia, London’s university outreach.

On Sunday, after going to our respective church services, we said goodbye to La Foresta and each other. It was a fantastic weekend, and we now eagerly await Adelante 2011 the international Kairos conference in Victoria, Spain August 10-15! Thanks to all who served, especially the main speaker, Martin Steinbereithner.

Stephen Bick is a high school student preparing for university in London, UK, and a member of the Antioch Community. At 17, he is unfortunately too young to be in Koinonia, the Kairos outreach to university students  in London, but sometimes sneaks along anyway.
The Kairos Mission
by Paul Jordan

When asked to explain Kairos I often start by talking about a global net-work. The aspect of our work which seems to speak loudest to young people is our international call and nature.

More than three thousand young people in over 30 countries are net-worked through Kairos. In truth I think they are one of our best assets. Having set out, in some way, to attempt to build this network, in another it is merely the gift which the Lord gave us, it is our reality.

The mission is local but God’s work is global. It is a blessing to be able to use our network to help young people grow in vision for God’s kingdom and develop as young Christians through international connections.

Our Adelante conference this summer is one example. We are expecting 500 people from 20 nations to gather in Spain. The GAP programme is another, a year placed in a foreign country to learn what it means to be a servant while building our mission.

Though they have very different goals, Adelante and GAP both serve to help young people grow in their Christian faith and conviction. This conviction helps them give to local mission for the long haul.

[Paul Jordan is the Director for Kairos in Europe and the Middle East]

Kairos Europe Weekend 2011

Kairos Weekend is always a very special and important time of year for us in Europe. It is the time when students from all across the continent (and some from even further) gather for three days. We come together for many reasons but three are paramount; to worship God, to grow in discipleship and to build relationship across barriers of language, culture and church tradition. Although a challenging and costly undertaking to gather 100 students from across Europe, Kairos Weekend bears fruit in many ways. 

The theme of the weekend this year was vocation. Guest speaker Martin Steinbereithner (a full time missionary with the Sword of the Spirit) spoke to us of the need today to both seek a call and to respond to it. Exhorting us that there is no shortage of vocations in the world today – merely a lack of response, the message was challenging and inspiring. A blur of workshops, sports, meals, and the infamous soul food café where (among other things) Polish polkas, Belfast dramas and Scottish team games of dubious origin were on offer for a cut price deal – rounded out the weekend. 

A highpoint for many is often the time of prayer on Saturday evening. This year proved to be no exception as the Lord exhorted, encouraged and stirred us to respond to him with joy. Hearing a call is one thing, finding a way to answer is another. We have found in Kairos that our times of worship together are often the place where we are most united, most challenged and ultimately transformed gaining the courage to make decisions for ongoing discipleship as we return home.
Through bringing this group of people together, the work of many individual Kairos outreaches throughout our region is built, while the vision of international student community is made a reality for a few short days.


 (c) copyright 2011  The Sword of the Spirit