The Evangelical Center 2023 took place in Paris on November 27 and 28. 1100 people gathered at the Charenton space around the theme of vocations during this event which brings together all the diversity of Churches and evangelical Protestant works in France.
“Vocations: crises or opportunities?” This was the theme of the Evangelical Center 2023, an annual trade show organized by the association Center Évangélique d'Information et d'Action (CEIA), which took place from November 27 to 28 in Paris.
“Recently, vocation and crisis have often been associated. Is there really a vocation crisis? If so, how can this crisis be an opportunity?” asked the organizers , determined to propose ways to meditate or implement in the face of this problem.
“For us it was important to address this subject because we see a lack of pastors trained to support the growth of evangelical Protestantism in France,” explains the communications director of the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF), Romain Choisnet. He adds that according to estimates "there will be a shortage of approximately 600 pastors to provide for the various ministries of local churches, growing churches", emphasizing "the importance of meeting and talking about it together".
“We believe that God will act”
The president of the CNEF, Erwan Cloarec, affirms for his part that if the heart of their message is indeed to address the question of the vocations crisis, they do not want to enter "into a logic of fear". But above all, “prayerfully consider how God will provide for the renewal of ministries and pastors to strengthen existing churches” and continue to plant new ones.
He calls Christians to “dare to rethink the way of living ministry” and concludes with optimism:
“We believe that God will act for the expansion of the Kingdom of God in France!”
Round table, conference and biblical contributions on this theme were offered to participants throughout the two days, punctuated by times of praise led by Dan Luiten.
In its presentation brochure, the event above all invites evangelical Protestants to pray in the face of this problem, emphasizing the power of collective prayer.
"The work of God needs reinforcements. To arouse vocations, the Lord exhorts us to prayer. Matt. 9. 38. Prayer is our first contribution to finding men and women sent to announce the Gospel. Everyone can pray at home. Partnering to do it together is even more powerful."
Reflecting, walking, praying together and finally, initiating “concrete actions for new vocations”, these are the challenges of this 2023 meeting which brought together around 1100 people from across the French-speaking world. A figure higher than that expected by the organizers and much higher than in previous years!
A great success which suggests changes for the future. Indeed, the president of the CEIA, Patrice Kaulanjan, has already announced in his closing speech that there would be no gathering in 2024, due to a change of location and date in the future. The next edition is expected in May 2025 at the Parc Floral de Vincennes.
Camille Westphal Perrier