27 April 2016
60 seconds with... Evi Rodemann
Evi Rodemann is the youth consultant for the European Evangelical Alliance, fulfilling her dream of helping young people live out their faith. Alexandra Davis caught up with Evi for 60 Seconds to learn more.
Tell us about yourself.
I was raised in a Christian home with parents who modelled Christian life in word and deed. When I was 10 years old I made the decision to follow Jesus. It was also then that I felt God call me to serve Him across other cultures. I went to the Netherlands to study missions and for about 10 years I was in full-time ministry, first in a church for two years and then I worked in Africa, India and Hong Kong.
When I finished studying in the Netherlands, I wrote down what I thought might become my life's mission statement, and it was about mobilising a young generation for missional lifestyles through discipleship, events and mentoring. Being now 45 years old, I look back in amazement at how I was able to live my dreams.
How did you get involved with the EEA?
Under the EEA – and the European Evangelical Missionary Association – we have a youth mission network called Mission-Net, which mobilises young people for a missional lifestyle. I was part of founding Mission-Net, and have been the CEO since 2009.
My dream was always to connect churches and ministries – to be a bridge-builder for the wider purpose of the kingdom of God. Through Mission-Net, I was able to bring together countries inside the EEA, bringing alliances across Europe together.
Last September I joined the EEA staff team as a youth consultant. With six others, we've founded a European youth ministry network, where we try and equip youth leaders and set up national youth networks. We currently have six networks.
What are the most exciting things that you're seeing happen with Christian young people in Europe?
Across Europe we see thousands of young people ready to follow Jesus and eager to cause change. When we believe in them for the better and entrust them with responsibility, they are the ones who put hope into practice, while not caring so much about which church they primarily belong to. Instilling in them the wider body of Christ can release them to engage creatively into society. And seeing them do this gives me one of the greatest joys.
I also see a new commitment to life-long discipleship and the need of younger people for spiritual fathers and mothers. When they do find them, their missional lifestyle reaches a new height. They are innovative; church-planting, addressing local social needs and trying to do what the older generation thinks is impossible. Young people start prayer movements combined with action, which is awesome to watch.
What are the biggest issues facing Europe at the moment?
What are the biggestFor me, the most important crises I see across Europe are not primarily the needs, but that the Church is facing one of the biggest crises on our continent right now. As Europe goes into a survival mode, Christians tend to do the same. It becomes about safeguarding our own churches and denominations instead of thinking bigger – of having hope that together we can make our stand.
As Europe is struggling for its identity, sadly the Church is finding it hard to determine their identity and calling. We often fight more with each other – or at least ignore each other more, rather than seeing the value of cooperation, networking and being a witness to the world. As the body of Christ, we're called to have hope for Europe. We need to raise the next generation in this hopeful spirit that God is not finished yet with our continent. Though we face many crises across Europe, where the Church stands together we see tremendous results. One example is France, where under Le Conseil National des Evangéliques de France – the French alliance – a diverse union has been established through prayer and relationships. Every 10 days a new church is planted in the country.
What kind of Europe and European Church can we expect in the future?
Europe will be extremely colourful, diverse, multi-religious and will fight for freedom on all sites. A politician from the UK once said: "The Christians might be the only glue keeping Europe together." This strongly resonates with me. We have the task of standing together as Christians to be the light and the salt, transforming our society and communities with all possible means, and to do this in unity – despite being diverse in our theology.
The Church will face many more attacks, opposition and persecution in the near future. But it's not an option to withdraw and leave the world as it is. We must live out the Great Commission. Church will also develop creative tools of reaching the world on our doorstep and opportunities will be seized where the young people will play a critical role in this.