Communitas - Western Europe
Christianity in Europe is on the decline.
Institutional churches are rapidly emptying out, churches are closing down — even Europe’s large church buildings are being converted to apartments, shopping centres and clubs. Fewer and fewer people are claiming Jesus as Lord.
Communitas has been working in Europe since the early 80’s. We plant churches in major European centres and we create contemporary communities of faith that seek to bless and impact their context and demonstrate that following Jesus is a viable and positive answer to European secularism today.
Communitas first came to Europe with basketball teams. During half-time the players presented the gospel. There was a positive response: people came to Christ. The players encouraged the new believers to find a church. This is where the problem emerged: there were very few churches that were spiritually alive, vibrant and attractive.
Confronted with this need, Communitas planted its first church in Geneva, Switzerland in the early 80’s. A second church was planted in the late 80’s in Amsterdam. Both of these churches sought to impact the growing international business communities as a diving board into European culture and language. From Amsterdam church plants were initiated in Barcelona, Lisbon, Dublin and The Hague. From there further destinations were reached, with our network of church plants now encompassing around 30 projects, both in Eastern and Western Europe.
Over the years our work has changed and our approach has developed. Two changes are very apparent.
- Our first church plants followed a High Impact or Attractional model, which places much emphasis on the Sunday morning service as the prime connection point with people. But in the last 15 years our approach has widened so that it now includes both the High Impact or Attractional model, as well the Organic/Misional/Incarnational model of church planting. Which model we choose in a given location depends on context and on the team; we believe structure and strategy should serve – and no dictate – purpose.
- The second change is that while many of our earlier church plants were done with American teams, these days we rejoice in seeing more and more European leaders emerge. We believe that before too long this growing European movement needs to be led by Europeans, with people from other places serving and facilitating. To be sure, we need all the help we can get – but we are happy to see that our movement is becoming more and more indigenous!
How do we plant churches in Europe? We are open to much, but there are a few principles that guide our thinking.
- We work in teams. No on person has all the gifts and abilities needed. We work together in teams that complement each other
- We work in strategic regions. Currently we divide Europe into Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe. Each region has a regional facilitator who gives direction to the work in that region.
- Vision and strategy depend on the team (especially the team leader) on the one side — and the context on the other. Multiple strategies may work in a particular location.
- Each project develops a Missional Action Plan (MAP). This is a short document that lists vision, strategy, and goals and objectives. This team is written with the team and the regional facilitator. The project is coached by the regional facilitator.
- The role of the church planting team is to cast vision, create community, model Kingdom-behavior, raise up local leadership and then — as soon as possible (albeit with reasonable training) — transfer the leadership to local sustainable leadership.
- Our goal is to plant churches that will in turn plant new churches themselves. Churches may be planted locally or translocally. Communitas desires to partner with its daughter churches as they become mature in the process of initiating more communities.
- We strive to create churches that are self-governing, self-financing and self-reproducing. Communitas is not a denomination that maintains indefinite leadership over a local project. As the project is more and more able to lead itself, Communitas withdraws its oversight and shifts into an advisory and friendship role.
- Our desire is to see a movement of new, spiritually vibrant and culturally relevant communities of faith spread across the European continent. For this we need all the help we can get. Want to come over and help us? Check out our Opportunities page next!
First of all, allow us to dispel a couple of myths.
One: To plant a church in Europe you do not need a seminary degree! Not that people with a seminary degree aren’t necessary – they are. But we need lots of people – with lots of backgrounds.
Two: please don’t believe that ministry in Europe is impossible and hard. Sure, Europe is facing the unique dynamic that many people think they are done with Christianity. But take it from us: ministry in Europe can be very rewarding. Don’t forget: Europe impacts the world in significant ways. You have the chance to impact a new generation of European leaders!
Who are we looking for?
- People with a sense of calling to Europe
- People with relevant ministry experience in church planting, church leadership, small group leadership, evangelism, sports outreach, musical abilities
- Families with young children... so often significant relationships start at the playground
- Trained professionals with relevant job-skills
- People who can work bivocationally: graphic artists, jewelry makers, businessmen- and women, photographers, musicians
- People with seminary training... we need you!
- Trainers and coaches
- People with European residency permits or nationality... certain countries are hard to get into unless you have European residency
Perhaps you can see we need a lot of people – and that we need all kinds of people. If you sense that God may be tugging on your heart, drop us a line!