This is a large committee meeting, a global one indeed. Sitting in our country groups the first thing we do, after the obligatory regional greetings, is welcome three new movements into membership. We do so with joy.
Dieter Brepohl stands to speak to some issues arising as the outgoing Chair of the International Executive committee. He speaks of how the Lord has opened new doors through adversity. For a time, after his appointment, Daniel could not work in the UK because of visa issues. Through this time a decentralisation emerged and also encouragement is that the visa was granted.
One of the great steps forward is that student representation has been augmented by over 120 students attending World Assembly and also the introduction of 2 student representatives into the International Executive. The other step forward would be to appoint the next host for World Assembly prior to this gathering. So Mexico is the next host, for 2015.
There have been significant challenges in the complexity of seeking funding and support. This has led to new structures and changes which have increased an opportunity in communicating with supporters.
In the details of the business there are important realities – if people did not undertake this work of seemingly boring details there would be a great poverty in the work.
It is amusing me that the LED background is a random set of green shapes, gently modulating. It reminds me of The Matrix – but unlike the film: this IS real life.
Daniel Bourdanne now stands to address us as the General Secretary of IFES. He points out that so far we have had a Brazilian accent, a Kiwi accent (Chris Collins, incoming chair of the IEC) and now we move to a French speaking African talking English. “This if IFES, this is the reality of our fellowship”. We laugh in recognition and appreciation.
Daniel speaks of the call to have compassion on those around us on campuses. He indicates too that the report is not so much the report of the Gen Sec but of the movements: the students and the staff. The 16 members of the Senior Leadership Team are brought forward and introduced.
Daniel highlights a few things:
Pioneering work – the work of reaching every nation with student ministry is incomplete. The work of pioneering is progressing. A report is brought that it would be unwise to record here but to tantalise you it was electric to listen to: social and church transformation in dangerous places.
Living Stones – again it is emphasised that this is not a new thing but a new strategy, focussing on key priorities as we move forward. The implementation of this strategy is a key one. A report speaks of many thousands of students in one country coming to Christ – a significant harvest for the gospel. This is being fed by regular activities and by systematic and intentional reports.
Another report is given which speaks of a work I would not even allude to but is amazingly encouraging.
“We pray not for safety but for faithfulness and dependence upon grace”
Now reports are given from yet more closed areas. Students taking initiative and building the work in small steps and big initiatives. Changing lives and laying foundations for strength into the future for student movements and local churches.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE.
Daniel’s concluding remarks. What is IFES? A fast train? A milipede – our diversity expresed in many legs, moving in unity. We are infact a community living together in unity – we must protect our unity. (we’re looking at various pictures of milipedes. Daniel himself has a PhD in milipedes and is a world expert in them – it is a touching and warm illustration). In unity we display God given beauty.
Chris Collins closes the meeting and we head down to the converted car park once again for great food!