As a missional movement, Communitas starts churches who follow Jesus in transforming their world. March 2019 marked the time for Communitas’s first Future Church Symposium. Participants from ten countries gathered in Amsterdam to collaborate on some of the future’s most important opportunities and challenges for the church in Europe—and beyond. The event was deliberately made as affordable and accessible as possible for anyone interested in the topic and therefore was organized in close collaboration with Crossroads Amsterdam, one of Communitas’s earliest church plants and now a well-established and mature church.
The featured topic for 2019 was “Business as Mission” as one future form of sustainable disciple making. One of our plenary speakers, BAM author Gea Gort, focused on a better understanding of the theologies of work and money. Communitas Europe Director Marcus Fritsch set the stage with three short talks, Love the Future, Love the God of the Future, and Love the Church of the Future, during which he explained global trends and developments theologically. Saturday afternoon was dedicated to five future-relevant tracks: Business as Mission, Artists and Faith, Dynamic Adventure, Soul Care and Resilience, and a theological discussion on “What Is Good News Today?”
The core of the symposium was the collaborative work done by everyone, as the future is much too complex to be “fixed” by some “experts.” Discerning God’s guidance for the role of the church in the 21st century became a responsibility for everyone throughout the weekend. Some of the most important takeaways that were identified in several group discussions included:
- For church planters and leaders, keep close to God and guard your heart
- The beginning and end of the Good News is Jesus!
- The Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 informs how we wrestle with challenges of the future
- How small and simple can change the world . . . . being informed by big churches and little churches and cross-pollinating
- In the business world, honor appropriate profit
- Foster deeply rooted spirituality that includes practicing the Sabbath
- Create space for the presence of God . . . the future of the church will happen not because of what we do but because God is moving
For the symposium to grow in the future we want to work on having more next generation leaders be a part of it. It turned out that March is difficult for students because it’s exam time in some European universities. We’ll be trying to find a better time, but we’re also asking you to help us by encouraging young adults to come and influence the symposium with their voices, ideas, and concerns. A 2019 student ticket was available for just €15, and we will keep aiming at affordable pricing in the future.
Also, we’re not just striving for more generations, but for a great mix of practitioners and academics, inside- and outside-the-box thinkers, and church, business, and political leaders. If you have ideas or connections, please don’t hesitate to contact us for the next symposium. The future of the church belongs to us all!