a Generation in Mission
interview with Sam Geleyn
in Europe and the Middle East is an ecumenical missionary network of
students and young people. Its main mission is to support young men and
women leading Christian communities of students and young people within
Europe and the Middle East. Kairos does this by facilitating a network,
organising international gatherings, and providing supervision and leadership
EME Newsletter recently interviewed Sam Gelyn, program director. Here
are some of the highlights of that interview.
was your background before joining Kairos in Europe and the Middle East
(Kairos EME)? I majored in commercial engineering,
with a degree in economics from the University of Leuven in Belgium.
motivated you to switch from commercial engineering to working for Kairos
EME and for Pharos, the university student outreach in Leuven, Belgium? Well, Jamie Treadwell, one of the
Kairos leaders at the time, invited me to do a Kairos
GAP year of service and training in London. I prayed and thought about
it Ė and it made sense to take a year out to do this. That year of training
and service was hard but also exciting, and I didnít just want to have
a one-year experience and then go on with the rest of my life. I came back
to Belgium with a desire to develop our student outreach at the University
of Leuven, an outreach we now call Pharos (which means Lighthouse). So
thatís what I did when I returned from London.
does this work matter to you? Why do you keep doing it? Ultimately I think it really matters
you see individual lives changed by the power of God. Since beginning this
mission work I have had a few really tangible experiences where I can see
how Iíve been cooperating with the Lord and with his grace. I can also
see that this is the right place for me to serve and use my gifts. Itís
an exciting thing to realise.
would you describe your role in Kairos? I am the program director for Kairos
EME. Iím responsible for designing and organizing our different programs
and events, mainly our annual Kairos Weekend and our annual summer programs.
[see full description of programs and events at Kairos
do you build an outreach program from scratch? I donít know! [laughs] I
have to really depend on individuals being generous with their time and
saying ďyes, I want to serve in Kairos where Iím needed.Ē We often have
to change locations and set up different bases throughout Europe for each
of our regional programs. I think thatís part of the strength of what we
do: thereís high local ownership of Kairos and our programs. So how do
we actually organize our programs? We look for people who are willing to
serve and we try to give them vision for how Lord is calling them serve
in our Kairos mission.
do you love about your job? I love working with individuals
and seeing them take on new responsibilities. Seeing them do things and
take on responsibilities which they didnít think they were capable of doing
before is for me the most rewarding part of my job.
do you train someone to serve in Kairos? Training on the local level can
vary a lot, depending on available resources. Our key training program
is done regionally. Over the last few years weíve introduced the Student
Worker Outreach Training (SWOT) weekends. SWOT program involves
6 weekends of intensive training spread over a two year period Ė 3 weekends
per year. Getting all of our leaders and student workers together three
times a year gives us face-to-face contact points. That allows for stronger
relationships and friendships to develop in the region. The weekends are
designed to help win people to the vision of Kairos, and it also helps
people gain a stronger sense of being in this mission work together.
are some of your hopes for the future of Kairos in Europe and the Middle
East? Iím hoping that more and more individuals
take on greater responsibility for our mission. In place of the regional
level taking most of the initiative, it would be good to see more local
outreaches and individuals that drive and shape our mission as well.
final reflections on Kairos? I believe that here in Europe especially,
the international dynamic of our mission work plays a key role in keeping
us going Ė both locally and regionally. It certainly has been a motivating
force for me Ė for keeping me going forward. The fact that we are part
of an international network Ė a real bulwark of outreaches and communities
Ė is a tremendous source of strength for us, especially here in Europe.