Historic Converge global workers gathering held in Germany
Former Converge Content Specialist
When Dennis McMains became the international leader to Europe and the Mediterranean for Converge International Ministries four years ago, he began dreaming about gathering his global workers together for a time of training, rest and encouragement.
As McMains and his team planned the gathering, he and Jim Black, international leader to Sub-Saharan Africa, decided it would be good to have a combined regional conference.
In early July, McMains’ dream came true. More than 130 people, representing 20 countries, attended the week-long Europe/Mediterranean/Africa Summer Gathering 2019 in Neustadt, Germany. The gathering was historic – never before had at least 90% of our missionaries from two regions gathered for community and collaboration.
“I think that this was not only a celebration moment but a catalytic moment as well,” McMains said. “I think we’re going to see people feeling more like they’re part of a team and that they are part of something bigger than themselves, which they are, even if they’re in a country by themselves. They’re not going to feel alone anymore.”
The missionaries shared news from the countries where they serve, best practices from their ministries and stories of God’s faithfulness in helping people meet, know and follow Jesus.
They also had plenty of opportunities to get to know each other better, including free time, meals and a day trip to Heidelberg. McMains shared that a highlight for him was seeing long-term missionaries invest in our newer missionaries with a time of prayer.
Black was excited to see the two regions coming together, worshiping together and building each other up in many other ways. “We say we are ‘better together,’” he said, “but we saw the reality of that in this bi-regional conference, and it was really great to see.”
A couple serving in the Middle East (names withheld for security purposes) said the gathering came at just the right time for their family.
“Our family has been in a season where a time of refreshment and refocusing of vision was necessary, and our time at the conference in Germany gave us just that. We felt as though every session we heard spoke intimately to things we are facing in the ministry, and we praise God for using his Spirit to lead in that way. We felt challenged to go deeper in our relationship with God, which naturally pushes us to pursue his desire for the nations to know him with an even greater passion.
“We were also blessed by a space for our kids to thrive and connect with other children who understand them and have similar life experiences. Through beautiful worship services, community with like-minded coworkers, impactful speakers, thoughtful and considerate care for our children, and intentional love, guidance and support from our leadership, we walked back into ministry with a renewed sense of what God has called us to do.”
Tania M. serves in Ukraine, helping women to grow closer to God, discover their God-given potential and to develop in ministry in the local church both locally and internationally. She said the gathering was a huge blessing.
“I’ve been dreaming about a meeting like this for at least eight years,” she said. “I’m so grateful that God allowed me to take part in the vision casting, spiritual renewal, fellowship and fun.”
One global worker from Africa admitted that he had been skeptical about the gathering but discovered that God had dynamically used this event to speak to him and turn his ministry in a whole new direction.
McMains, Converge president Scott Ridout, executive director of Converge International Ministries Ivan Veldhuizen, Converge director of Global Ministries Gary Hunter and Converge director of U.S. Engagement Kevin McGhee taught on the International Ministries mission and vision statement: Together we are asking God for a gospel movement among every least-reached people group in our generation.
Amanda McMains, Susan Veldhuizen, Karen Hunter and Lisa Black led a ladies lunch gathering. Susan shared words of encouragement, Amanda taught on being women of faith and courage as they implement God’s purpose for them in the countries where they serve, Karen led an interactive table discussion time, and Lisa led the women in a time of praise and prayer. Also, a missions team from Heights Church, Prescott, Arizona, led worship and children’s/youth ministry.
Before the gathering, Ridout led a two-day StratOp for the Europe/Mediterranean Leadership Team in Darmstadt, Germany. The StatOp helped the team — 16 leaders leading 64 global workers in 16 countries — plan its goals for the next three months, one year and three years.
Dennis McMains believes the impact of this conference will continue in the coming days and months, and he is already looking forward to the next regional gathering.
He shared one last thought: “Imagine what God can do when our global workers collectively unify under one vision, so that we can see millions of people all over the world come to meet, know and follow Jesus!”
Michael Smith, Former Converge Content Specialist
Michael Smith served as a content specialist for Converge from 2018-2021.