Exemplary Christian Communities in Europe: the Christian Professionals Portal (2nd of Twelve)

Dozens of New Christian Communities are Forming in the Arts and in the Marketplace. Is Christianity on the Rise in Europe?

Dear Readers, thank you for sending examples of Christian communities that you admire or that you have joined. God has placed in our hearts a desire to follow Jesus Christ our Lord and Master. Since the beginning of Christianity, the Holy Spirit has established two kinds of Christian communities; the larger is the entire Christian congregation, like a synagogue. Jesus attended the synagogue, “as was his custom” (Luke 4:16). The second, smaller kind, is the community for personal growth and good works, like a Jewish hevrah. Jesus formed a hevrah of twelve men. Jesus told them they were his “haverim” (translated John 15:15). Thus, two Jewish structures provided a pattern for early Christian congregations and smaller missionary bands that we hear about in Acts (Paul, Barnabas and John Mark, Prisca, Aquila and Apollos). Neither can say to the other, “I have no need of you.”

What is the Christian way of living? To answer this, we must study the Bible, especially the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian way of living is praying always,[1] self-denial,[2] obedience,[3] forgiving one another,[4] thanksgiving,[5] healing,[6] faith, hope and love, and doing greater things than Jesus did.[7] This “upward calling” is more likely achieved in small communities of Christians who commit to one another to live a Christian life.

Scott B. sent a link to a wonderful website, Christian Professionals Portal, which features dozens of Christian communities that are active in Europe. It is all quite extraordinary. In fact, I have never seen anything like it. One of the featured Christian communities is Arts Centre Group, located in the United Kingdom. Its mission:

We have a mandate to our calling in the Arts, to be a light in the marketplace. Arts Centre Group began in 1964, “Artists and actors began meeting in dressing rooms to pray; walking the streets of the West End and praying; pursuing a deeper relationship with God whilst bring fully committed to their gifting. Many were pressured by the church to give up their gifting . . . “

You can read an interview with Cliff Richard here. Cliff Richard is co-Founder of Arts Centre Group.

A second community featured on the Portal is Ars Vitalis, located in Spain. Members of Ars Vitalis are musicians and artists and actors. Here is the Ars Vitalis mission statement:

The work, enjoyment and learning of artistic disciplines contributes to the development of the intellectual, ethical, aesthetic and emotional faculties of the individual. All Ars Vitalis Forum activities and programs are aimed at this noble work.
Art, in the best moments of the most advanced civilizations in history, has always performed the noble task of providing solace and edification to the spirit, as well as beautification to the world, following the classic maxim of “educating by delighting.” Therefore, the arts have contributed in this way to the integral development of the individual as a person, and to social harmony.
That has not been the case in times of moral degradation and disintegration. For in those fateful moments, art has always ended up being nothing more than a caricature, a kind of ridiculous comedian at the service of entertainment and political and ideological propaganda; or worse still, a form of ethical and moral debasement.

Dear Reader, do you feel encouraged, as I do, to read of Christian revival in Europe? Church attendance in Europe may be dwindling; but revival may already have begun. The Holy Spirit is breathing life into Europe as Christians find one another and form communities of prayer, study, confession, and good works. As Ralph D. Winter said, “We should be on tiptoes to see what is about to happen.”

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[1] He taught them a parable that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Luke 18:1.

[2] Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

[3] Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”

[4] Jesus said, “’If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

[5] “Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” Luke 24:30

[6] Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Matthew 10:1.

[7] Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12.