France Trip Update

France Trip Update

Greetings from Geneva!

I leave tomorrow morning for Chicago. These days have brought new excitement (and yes, some anxiety too!) as I think about the future. The leadership here warmly welcomed me and clarified their invitation for me to be part of the staff team.

My position would be to give “pastoral oversight” for the first-year students. The role involves many facets such as: handling pastoral situations that come up, academic coaching, leading “community life” activities, traveling to church-based evangelism outings, teaching, preaching, leading prayer times, and a variety of other projects.
I am so thankful for your prayers. I see God answering in providing a chance to serve him in the French-speaking world where there is much need. Here a several factors that have been encouraging:

  • The Bible School of Geneva is one of the most influential (and as small as it is, maybe the largest) evangelical pastoral training schools in French-speaking Europe. It is also the most dynamic. The school hosts a huge youth conference every four years, Gospel Coalition conference every two years, lay preaching school, is publishing three to four books a year, along with a host of other initiatives.
  • The vision of the school is to serve French churches. On a map, Geneva sticks ways out into France and from the time of Calvin it has been a strategic “jumping off” point for pastors and missionaries into France.
  • I have high respect for the leadership team here. They are humble, hard-working guys with a vision to see young people grow to know and live out the gospel. I have so much I could learn just from them being here.
  • They want me to come. That is clear from talking with the leadership. But they are willing to pay for 40% of my living expenses (some of that money comes from gifts, not just student fees, which are quite low) and work hard at the very difficult process of getting a visa for me. The need is also significant– one of the other staff team starting have physical problems recently from being overloaded.
  • The first-year students have been so warm, friendly and hospitable. There seems to be a real spirit of “life together” and learning in community that has grown since I was here. The school is also more “American-friendly” than some others places, which helps.

I went for a jog this morning, turning around at the cathedral downtown. I had to stop, and right then, the cathedral bells tolled out the tune “A mighty fortress is our God.”  It was a beautiful moment. Praise God for his faithfulness. Here, five hundred years ago, Calvin helped change the world. It was less by his genius that he left his mark, and more by the conviction that God worked through his word. He aimed to make it clear so that people would come into contact with the great God that it testifies to.

That is the heart behind the work here at the Bible school. What a privilege it would be for me to join the team here, and with a reliance on God’s spirit, and full of the joy that comes only from Jesus, roll up my sleeves and get to work.

grace, David