On Tuesday night, about 3,000 people from over 50 countries attended a prayer and worship night as part of Mission-Net's biannual congress.
"The countdown to New Year is a concert of prayer for the nations, both within Europe but beyond to the world," Jason Mandryk, author of the seventh edition of Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation, told The Christian Post in an interview Tuesday.
Mandryk described Mission-net as "basically a European Urbana," only smaller and more diverse, representing over 40 European nationalities along with others from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East (European immigrants). On Tuesday, the Facebook account of Operation World, which teams with Mission-net, announced that about 3,000 people from over 50 countries would attend the New Year's concert.
While the Mission-net conference runs for five full days (Dec. 28, 2013 to Jan. 2, 2014), Mandryk emphasized the countdown to the New Year. "Operation World team members, myself included, have regularly hosted or led the prayer time," he explained. "After the countdown to the New Year, there is usually a lively worship concert that goes late into the night."
Last year, 2,500 participants from 40 nations took part in the second European Mission-Net Congress, which encouraged the attendees to perform more missionary work. Both this year and last year, the event has taken place in Offenburg, Germany.
"The purpose of Mission-Net is to inspire a missional lifestyle among Europe's Christian youth," the website explains. It lists two ways of achieving this goal: "encouraging existing and promoting new 'Mission-Net movements' on a national and regional level across Europe" and "bringing Christian young people together through a pan-European Mission-Net event for mutual encouragement, teaching, training and mobilization."
The group focuses around a simple slogan, "Transforming our world." The website also explains the meaning behind each word – "As Christians we want to display God's transforming power in society…. It is not about individualism but about doing it together… It starts where we live, but a missional lifestyle goes beyond my neighbourhood, to my country, my continent and ultimately my world."
This worldwide focus leads the group to pray not just for Europe, but for the entire world, using Operation World's resources, Mandryk explained.
Among the international speakers listed for the conference, Mission-Net presented Joel Edwards, former general director of the Evangelical Alliance and current international director for the anti-poverty organization Micah Challenge, which aims to "halve poverty by 2015." Mission-Net also listed counselor, Bible teacher, and international speaker Karin Ramachandra, along with Raphael Anzenberger, general secretary of France Evangelisation and president of the Francophone Evangelist Forum.
"My main focus in ministry is proclaiming the gospel, multiplying evangelists and helping churches rethink their evangelistic strategy," Anzenberger declared.
Surveys from the past few years indicate that Europe, strongly influenced by Christianity in the past, has been losing its faith heritage. A 2011 Pew Forum survey reported that in 1910, 66.3 percent of the world's Christians were Europeans, while recently that number has dropped to 25.9 percent. Meanwhile, Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia have grown from 1.4 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, in 1910 to 23.6 percent and 13.1 percent in recent years.