The Dalej Conference – Arise and Build!
– by Pete Coyle
It is with great hope for the future that I reflect on the events at the Dalej Conference (pronounced, dah-lay – a Polish call to action, meaning roughly, “Next! / Come on! / Let’s go!”).
Arise and Build!
A highlight of Dalej was the spiritual content, given in the mornings. It focused on the Book of Nehemiah which recounts how the governor Nehemiah and a remnant of God’s people rebuilt the city of Jerusalem from ruins and re-established in it a godly way of life. These sessions showed how we are called in our own time to answer the Lord’s call to “Arise and Rebuild” – In our lives, our churches, our outreaches and communities. This call was the main theme of the week and carried on into the whole atmosphere of the conference.
The theme was taken up again during the Thursday evening prayer meeting when Dave Quintana (“Q”), beloved worker among young people for many years in this region, issued a clarion call:
“…Filled with the spirit of Nehemiah, let us rise and build, let us persevere and run our race to the end. Let us rise and build – the joy of battle awaits you, and the mantle of authority now rests upon you…. with hearts afire, minds sharpened, hands equipped, mouths unleashed, wills resolved, feet at the ready:
Live in the grip of God
Live by the grace of God
Live for the glory of God….
Brothers and sisters…let us rise up, and build!”
The theme of unity was also a highlight of the conference. I found myself profoundly inspired by the unity we experienced among us and by God’s words to us about the importance of unity.
One sign of that growing unity was the university group from Haifa in the Holy Land. For two days of the conference we were joined by 30 members of the University Christian Outreach in Haifa. It was their first participation in a region-wide events. This connection and their witness to living radical Christian lives in the face of trials was inspiring. Many of us were struck by seeing brothers and sisters from Haifa and from Lebanon being united in the Lord and sharing their lives with one another.
Also, 15 young people from a student outreach in Vienna from a student their outreach were participants at the conference. There group has been more and more involved with Kairos over the past three years. We were also honoured by a visit by the Catholic Archbishop of Haifa, Georges Bacouni, and by the presence for a few days of Jeff Fountain who had led YWAM – Youth With a Mission – for twenty years. He spoke to us about God’s work in Europe, encouraging us to join in building for the Lord.
But our unity was more than just the breaking down of ecumenical, national and cultural barriers. On a more profound level, the unity that inspired me was seeing men and women come into unity as sons and daughters of God, worshipping, serving, building community. This was present to me in an almost tangible sense- that the young men and women gathered in Poland were empowered by the Lord to draw strength and grace from one another for both the conference itself but also for the trials to come afterwards.
The pain of the disunity among the wider church was brought to the forefront on Sunday, when we attended separate church services. Tadhg Lynch, our conference director, spoke passionately about the pain and opportunity afforded to us by our division and exhorted us to be open to and embrace the unity that God calls us to.
Prayer Together – Letting God Change Us
We had five prayer meetings during the evenings, times where the Lord was very present and active in stirring our souls. Many were convicted and inspired by the Lord’s presence at these times and it was powerful to witness people dedicating their lives to the Lord for the first time as well as those who rededicated themselves. The Lord also spoke powerfully through the prophetic gifts in a variety of ways and as people prayed with one another for specific needs. The three key prophetic senses were:
A word of mourning for the state of the “walls” That we should look at the lamentable state of the civilization around us and allow the Lord to stir in us a prayerful zeal for action
A word of readiness for warfare God instructed us not to fear if we found ourselves unprepared for the spiritual battle, but that he would supply, equip and uphold us in the battle that is already around us.
A word of unity The Lord spoke to us powerfully about his pleasure at the unity among nations and the traditions as we gathered in him. There was also a peaceful and hopeful spirit about our ecumenical call and way of living it out which touched many from single-denomination communities.
The momentum gained from such a sequence of prayer meetings helped bring us together to focus on the Lord and interact with him.
Another notable factor in Dalej was the relationships that were built amongst us. Though we came from such diverse backgrounds, it was uplifting to see so many young men and women sharing true community with one another. Many friendships were made or renewed that will last for generations.
Looking to the future, it is my hope that Dalej and the unity and power God distributed among us there as his disciples will be a watershed moment for our work in Europe – a moment which has a transformative impact on the spiritual landscape of this continent and the world.
Pete Coyle grew up in the Community of the Risen Christ in Glasgow. He is an affiliate with the Servants of the Word and currently lives in their household in London, UK. Pete also serves in Koinonia, a Christian university student outreach in London and also with Antioch Community in London.