It has been seventeen years since the Jeskes first moved to Berlin to equip leaders in Eastern Europe. This was the beginning point of the development of the Mentoring Guides as well as all the subsequent leadership materials that help leaders and teams evaluate and bring health to their ministries.
Among the first cohort of leaders in Berlin were Karl and Chris. At the time they were in their early 20s and have now developed into emerging leaders within their denomination. Phil first met Karl at a meeting of pastors in Berlin and they developed a mentoring relationship over the next several years that eventually led to Karl travelling with the ICM team to train leaders in many nations from Russia to Africa to Latin America. He is now part of the international Coaching Network (MCNet) and pastors a church in Magdeburg, which was once behind the Wall in East Germany.
Going back hundreds of years, Magdeburg was a key city of the reformation. However, it now has a population that identifies as 89% atheist. If ever we needed a test case for what can happen in a once spiritual vibrant place the land of the Reformation would be a good case study. From where once missionaries were sent from has now become a place in need of missionaries itself.
Chris is also now pastoring a small church in Berlin and in November of last year Phil was able to spend time with their two teams. From being idealistic young leaders they now have families, lead teams, and have varied ministry responsibilities. In this 500th year anniversary of the Reformation we are going to spend some concentrated time with them and their teams as well as other leaders in their network. While it may not result in the magnitude of the Reformation, perhaps we can see a little reformation of our own among churches that need new life and new encouragement in the daunting task of reaching a region whose population has very little connection to the message of the Reformation of five centuries ago.