Ministry helps European students connect to Godcomment (0)
January 16, 2014
Martha Moore doesn’t waste time dreaming small. The Southern Baptist representative from Tampa, Fla., has learned to fully expect that God will do something miraculous.
Without question, she expects that will happen tonight when her apartment in northern Germany will be filled with students — some excited to be with other believers, some still wondering if this Christianity they are hearing about can be trusted.
As students escaping a cold drizzle fill her apartment, she’s quick to make newcomers feel welcome in seemingly effortless German.
This is the way she approaches each day of ministry — expecting big things from God.
Moore cut her teeth doing student ministry in the university hubs of Vancouver, Canada, and Los Angeles. When asked why she had come to live in Jena, Germany, in 1998, she said that she was a Christian and was going to help people explore who God is.
The person responded, “Good luck. Do you know where you are? You’re in East Germany. Nobody cares about God here. You don’t have a chance.”
Not one to back down from a challenge, that’s all Moore needed to hear. Her big dream took shape.
Seeking out the few Christians she could find, she started building relationships among college students in Jena. Fellowship dinners led to discussions about the Bible. Laying out tables full of sandwiches and gummy bears (a variety of the popular candy made in Germany), Moore opened her apartment to anyone who would attend.
Even before she had an established campus ministry, she could see her prayers being answered.
Within two years of beginning her ministry in Germany, the students who had been meeting faithfully in two small group studies became known as Connexxion in 2000.
It is exactly what Moore dreamed about — a reproducible evangelistic campus ministry staffed and led by national believers. Today it has spread to two other German campuses and one in Seville, Spain.
She said that most U.S. churches don’t realize the spiritual lostness of the European region because many people perceivably have access to the gospel there. But what’s worse in Moore’s mind than not having access to the truth of God’s Word is having it and not caring. Evangelicals, Moore explains, are typically viewed as a cult in Western Europe.
Some cling to the atheist teaching of past communism. Others are content with a nominal relationship to the state church.
The majority of students Moore meets follow the post-modern view that belief in any absolute truth is ignorant. Biblical teachings seem antiquated and constricting of their personal freedoms. Families discourage involvement in groups that teach a change of lifestyle or need for repentance.
For example, it had taken time for Moore to lead to faith a young woman she had met when she first moved to Jena. But when the young woman’s parents discovered her Bible, they tore it up.
With only a few exceptions, the more than 30 students active in Connexxion in Braunschweig are the only Christians in their families. Those who choose to actively follow Christ are routinely ridiculed as religious fanatics.
The spiritual ground of Germany is hardened to the gospel, but Moore remains strong in her belief that God will continue to do a great work in hearts there.
The list of students radically transformed by God’s grace is lengthy, and Moore expects it to continue to grow. She loves the challenge of reaching a community that most think won’t turn to God.