Evangelicals in Europe have committed to the holistic mission of transforming Europe on all levels with a larger network during the largest European Evangelical Alliance assembly in Portugal this week.
"We are here to win souls but we are also here to transform Europe," said Leonardo De Chirico, vice president of the Italian Evangelical Alliance, on Thursday during the 2005 EEA in Tavira, Portugal. The annual assembly, which began on Wednesday and ends on Sunday, follows the theme, "Gospel Relevance in Europe Today.
On the second day of its gathering, the EEA welcomed two new members, the United Christian Council in Israel and the Protestant Evangelical Alliance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, into its network.
"We have a passion for the Middle East and Africa," said Gordon Showell-Rogers, general secretary of the EEA, who then explained how important is the membership of an Israeli group into the EEA for uniting the Evangelicals from different countries in Middle East.
Showell-Rogers said he was concerned that Israel would not be able to connect very easily with the countries in the Middle East for practical reasons, such as the absence of regional alliance for national evangelical groups in the region.
"The place for Israeli Evangelicals to interface with other Evangelicals is clearly through Europe," Showell-Rogers therefore concluded.
Acknowledging this special connection, the European assembly attendees unanimously backed Israels membership into the EEA, even though the country is geographically disjointed from Europe.
Meanwhile, two other organizations the European Evangelical Accrediting Alliance and JANZ team international that have worked very closely with national Evangelical alliances in Europe were both accepted into the EEA as associates on Thursdays gathering.
European Evangelical Accrediting Alliance is an agency that accredits schools of Christian higher education, while JANZ team international is a missions group that serves in several European countries.
On Thursday, the EEA assembly has also reviewed the establishment of a new EEA office near the European Union (EU) Institutions in Brussels and the selection of a new EEA Brussels representative earlier this year.
Located at the heart of the European 25-nations bloc, the EEA Brussels office enables European Evangelicals to step forward to transform Europe by political, social, and economic means.
"We will do everything we can to further Christian values," said Tove Videbaek, who has taken leadership of the EEA Brussels office since June 2005.
Videbaek, whose leadership has been strongly based on the Biblical truth without leaning to certain political preference, reiterated that her vision is to "transform Europe."
"There is no verse in the Bible that will tell you whether the EU is good or bad," she told the assembly. "But I really love being a part of the EEA, and as evangelical churches in Europe, we can do so much in speaking the truth about biblical values."
These values include the protection of life "at all stages," upholding the sanctity of marriage, promoting religious freedom and human rights, and protecting the rights of pastors to freely preach, Videbaek added.
In addition, Videbaek noted, none of the work is possible without prayers and the blessing of God.
"Pray as if everything depends on God," she said. "We know without Gods blessings we can do nothing at all."
Videbaek is a 20-year veteran in Christian media and 7-year parliamentarian from Denmark. Her entry to EEA has revived the EEA Brussels office, which was opened many years ago but has not been operated in full extent.
Currently, she reported, people in Brussels are starting to notice the EEAs presence.