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Pentecostals eye Berlin for outreach

Tue, 26 Nov 2002 - 12:58 PM CST

Every three years, Pentecostal leaders in Europe gather in a designated city to learn how to become better pastors. In the past, the triennial conference has been geared to encourage Pentecostal church personnel on the continent.

But Pentecostal Europe Fellowship leader Ingolf Ellssel, who is also president of the German Pentecostal Movement, believes it is time to look outward.

Ellssel notes that past European differences of customs, border crossings and even currency have been resolved. Likewise, he said, theological walls of discord, disassociation and denominational passport controls are in decline. Thus, the Europe Arise Conference, scheduled for June 5-9, 2003, in Berlin will be the first evangelistic conference of its kind designed to impact a city.

"Although the U.S. Assemblies of God has not been involved in the conference in the past, Ingolf Ellssel made an intentional gesture to include us," said U.S. Assemblies of God Europe Regional Director Greg Mundis. "We have accepted the invitation wholeheartedly." Ellssel addressed the U.S. A/G missionaries in Europe last year at a retreat in Spain. The missionaries have contributed $15,000 to help defray the costs of the conference.

Morning sessions will focus on equipping workers for evangelism. Neighborhood evangelistic outreaches will take place in the afternoon. The evening sessions will feature evangelistic services followed by youth concerts. German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, whose international ministry Christ for All Nations is based in Frankfurt, will be guest speaker in the evening services.

"Our goal is that a great number of people will hear the gospel, receive Christ as their Savior and be integrated into local churches to be discipled," said Steve Walent, Central Europe area director for the U.S. Assemblies of God.

Berlin, a city of 4 million, has only half a dozen German Pentecostal churches. The U.S. Assemblies of God, which works in cooperation with the German Pentecostal Movement, has targeted three sections of the city for outreaches to be led by three new missionaries who are already learning the language and culture. John Butrin is planning to start an English-speaking international church; Chuck Kackley will start a German-speaking church in East Berlin; and Kirk Priest will begin a German-speaking Students for Christ outreach in East Berlin.

"We are already planning and scheduling many different MAPS, AIM and other student teams to come and minister, not just during the conference but throughout the summer to make sure these new ministries have a good foundation in this planting phase," Walent said.

"You can't plant a church in a weekend," Mundis said. In the past two years, the U.S. Fellowship has appointed 16 missionaries to Germany, including church planters, youth workers and children's outreach personnel. There are four dozen A/G missionaries in the nation of 83 million. "We believe God has something special in store for this spiritually neglected and needy part of the world," Walent said.

"Europe Arise is a wonderful opportunity to deepen cooperation among Pentecostals in Europe as well as make a difference in a city," said Mundis.


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Every three years, Pentecostal leaders in Europe gather in a designated city to learn how to become better pastors. In the past, the triennial conference has been geared to encourage Pentecostal church personnel on the continent.

But Pentecostal Europe Fellowship leader Ingolf Ellssel, who is also president of the German Pentecostal Movement, believes it is time to look outward.

Ellssel notes that past European differences of customs, border crossings and even currency have been resolved. Likewise, he said, theological walls of discord, disassociation and denominational passport controls are in decline. Thus, the Europe Arise Conference, scheduled for June 5-9, 2003, in Berlin will be the first evangelistic conference of its kind designed to impact a city.

"Although the U.S. Assemblies of God has not been involved in the conference in the past, Ingolf Ellssel made an intentional gesture to include us," said U.S. Assemblies of God Europe Regional Director Greg Mundis. "We have accepted the invitation wholeheartedly." Ellssel addressed the U.S. A/G missionaries in Europe last year at a retreat in Spain. The missionaries have contributed $15,000 to help defray the costs of the conference.

Morning sessions will focus on equipping workers for evangelism. Neighborhood evangelistic outreaches will take place in the afternoon. The evening sessions will feature evangelistic services followed by youth concerts. German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, whose international ministry Christ for All Nations is based in Frankfurt, will be guest speaker in the evening services.

"Our goal is that a great number of people will hear the gospel, receive Christ as their Savior and be integrated into local churches to be discipled," said Steve Walent, Central Europe area director for the U.S. Assemblies of God.

Berlin, a city of 4 million, has only half a dozen German Pentecostal churches. The U.S. Assemblies of God, which works in cooperation with the German Pentecostal Movement, has targeted three sections of the city for outreaches to be led by three new missionaries who are already learning the language and culture. John Butrin is planning to start an English-speaking international church; Chuck Kackley will start a German-speaking church in East Berlin; and Kirk Priest will begin a German-speaking Students for Christ outreach in East Berlin.

"We are already planning and scheduling many different MAPS, AIM and other student teams to come and minister, not just during the conference but throughout the summer to make sure these new ministries have a good foundation in this planting phase," Walent said.

"You can't plant a church in a weekend," Mundis said. In the past two years, the U.S. Fellowship has appointed 16 missionaries to Germany, including church planters, youth workers and children's outreach personnel. There are four dozen A/G missionaries in the nation of 83 million. "We believe God has something special in store for this spiritually neglected and needy part of the world," Walent said.

"Europe Arise is a wonderful opportunity to deepen cooperation among Pentecostals in Europe as well as make a difference in a city," said Mundis.


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Sri Lanka AG Celebrates its Centennial

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 - 3:17 PM CST

Greg Mundis
AG World Missions Executive Director Greg Mundis in Sri Lanka.

The U.S. Assemblies of God is not the only AG celebrating its centennial this year.

More than 22,000 people gathered at a rugby stadium to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Pentecostal missionaries who came to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1914, the same year the U.S. Assemblies of God was founded.

Thousands travelled long distances at great personal sacrifice to attend the event despite extreme persecution by religious extremists. Across the country, more than 200 AG churches have been attacked and vandalized, and some have been burned. A number of pastors have been physically beaten and even martyred.

AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis spoke at the event encouraging pastors to continue to persevere in proclaiming the gospel and establishing more churches. He says, "I was overwhelmed by God's work in Sri Lanka and by the passion believers had to be together to celebrate! They are putting everything - themselves, their families, everything - on the line to spread the gospel. They are modern-day living martyrs. It was humbling."

Dishan Wickramaratne, general superintendent of the Sri Lanka AG and pastor of Peoples Church, a congregation of more than 8,000 in Colombo, the nation's capital, will be speaking at the centennial celebration of the U.S. Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, on August 9.

Recently Pastor Wickramaratne said, "When persecution has increased, we remember what one of our pastors said, 'If our faith is good enough to live for, it's good enough to die for.'"

To view pictures from the Sri Lanka celebration, see the AG World Missions article.

Authors: Randy Hurst

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