(Wednesday evening 28 November) This will be a short blog. When you are tired, you seem to catch a bit of flu more easily, and, unfortunately, this is my current fate. I returned home on Monday morning after an grueling 8-day series of appointments. Together with my friend and colleague Peter Roennfeldt I toured Belgium and Luxembourg. He did about 70 percent of all the talking, while I drove the 2.300 kilometers to the various places. We held 17 meetings in just over a week, with all kinds of informal contacts in between.
Peter Roennfeldt now lives in Australia, but he knows the European scene well, having lived there for some ten years. He presently is a ‘church growth consultant’. In between two weeks of teaching at the German Friedensau University and visits to a few Danish ‘church plants’ he reserved eight days for us in Belgium. He gave presentations on church growth—through the ‘planting’ of new churches, working with small groups and Alpha courses, etc. And we visited local churches and talked with groups of members who have shown interest in getting involved in local initiatives, and with some church boards about ways to ‘revitalize’ their church.
It was very worthwhile. Of course, people talk about their disappointments and frustrations. So much has been tried, and with so little success. But everywhere there are also church members who ask for advice and training and who say: ‘ Give us the tools!’ And so, we explored possibilities on which we may build further in the coming months.
But it does take a fair amount of energy. It reminds me of what Jan Paulsen, the former president of the General Conference, said to me last year: ‘I wished that thirty years ago I would have had the experience I have today, and that I would now have the energy that I had thirty years ago.’ (His name pops up in my mind since I had an e-mail from him just a few days ago in which he told about his recent private visit to the King of Norway; as we speak of former GC presidents: Robert Folkenberg sent me a message this week that he had endorsed me on LinkedIn for various fields of expertise. Quite a surprise, since in the past we have not always seen eye to eye.)
Today I made a quick dash by train to Brussels to chair a officers’ meeting of the conference. We managed to deal with about half of the 46 items on our agenda. My colleagues had a hard time listening to my strangely flu-deformed voice. As I write I have almost arrived home. I intend to have an early night . Tomorrow morning is reserved for some shopping, for the Saint Nicholas presents needs to arrive with our grandchildren in Sweden before December 5.
This is all for now. I hope to be in better shape next week when I write my next blog.