The Key to Church Growth in Eastern Europe – Spain Update 2024

The Key to Church Growth in Eastern Europe – Spain Update 2024

Spain Update 2024 – Madrid and Valencia

Phil and Kathleen Cooke recently returned from Spain where they had meetings in Madrid and Valencia. With a big “Thank you!” to our Influence Lab partners for your support, here are Phil and Kathleen’s reports:  

 

FIRST STOP: MADRID

Influential ministry and marketplace leaders gathered in Madrid.

Phil: Madrid was all about reconnecting as we gathered with over 300 influential Christian leaders from around the world, including pastors of many of the largest and most effective churches and marketplace leaders of many of the most successful businesses. This is a yearly international gathering that Kathleen and I have spoken at in previous years (although this year we just participated) and represents leaders we’ve worked with from multiple countries including Brazil, the Philippines and Russia.

For those of you who partnered with us in the project, the Russian pastors were the ones who translated and published my book Maximize Your Influence – How to Make Digital Media Work for Your Church, Your Ministry, and You into Russian. They are using it as a textbook for media training seminars for evangelical pastors across Russia. It’s a powerful testimony of what happens when people unite on a project. (Thanks, Influence Lab partners!)

Pastor Paul Mazoni has changed his 15,000-member church’s approach to media and communications from Phil’s teaching.

We also spent a great deal of time with Brazilian pastors and marketplace leaders who brought us to Brazil last year for ten days of teaching andtraining. The gospel is spreading in Brazil, and it’s encouraging to see these pastors and leaders implement the media training from our 2023 sessions into their strategic outreach. Pastor Paulo Mazoni of the 15,000-member Central Church in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, said that he completely changed everything about his church’s approach to communication and media based on my teaching sessions, and the results have been amazing.

Kathleen: It is inspirational and educational to meet as we did with global leaders in Madrid who are doing strategic Kingdom work, many of whom are working in highly volatile war zones.

Phil prayed for the leaders at the opening morning session and began the entire event. At a lunch gathering, I was able to connect with the women and share how Influence Women is growing. These influential ministry and marketplace leaders can appreciate how great the need is for women to connect, collaborate, and support one another so that artistic endeavors might be created.

Phil teaches influential media and ministry leaders from across Eastern Europe gathered at Valencia.

ON TO VALENCIA

Phil: From Madrid, we traveled to Valencia for three days of meetings and teachings. A joint venture of The Influence Lab with MediAlliance International, the invitation-only training sessions brought together Christian media leaders from Europe and Eastern Europe. The attendees were from countries that included France, Spain, Finland, Romania, and Albania, with influential leaders from Christian radio networks, TV stations, and relief organizations working in Ukraine.

Kathleen: In Valencia, I met with several women from Romania and Spain, and one from Ukraine who continues to be challenged with difficult living and working conditions. I encouraged them and shared leadership skills that I have learned to help them.

Kathleen connected with women from around the world including Romania, Ukraine, New Zealand and the UK while in Spain.

They expressed a need and desire to start an Influence Women’s chapter group in their cities, sharing that they often feel alone and unsupported. I gave them copies of my Hope 4 Today – Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture to encourage them, and they were thrilled to receive the gift.

Phil: To sum up, our trip to Spain was both fruitful and eye-opening. There is a real opportunity for raising up a generation of Christian media leaders in Europe and Eastern Europe.

In countries where so few people are professing Christians, media may be the key to mission growth in that part of the world. Through the generous partnership of friends like you, we can go to places like Spain to offer strategic media training that opens the door for explosive growth in the digital age.

The world is calling and we are responding! Can you help? Partner with The Influence Lab here.

Next up, we travel to Cyprus, Bali and then Ghana. Be part of the mission with your generous gift here.

What Lasting Gift Will You Give this Christmas?

What Lasting Gift Will You Give this Christmas?

A few years ago when I was in the Philippines, I marveled that they had Christmas ornaments and trees already in the stores in August. Have you started thinking about what to buy for your loved ones this Christmas? Trust me; the retailers have given it lots of thought. Getting you pumped to buy has become more important than encouraging thoughtfulness about what to give.

But I’ve discovered that the pandemic has heightened our realization of the love and richness of a connected family and the importance of relationships with friends and colleagues. After being separated from many of them, we have become more keenly aware of the fragility of life and the value of passing on a gift of knowledge or wisdom and not just “stuff.”

Christmas 2021 will be special.  

I have always been told that you should give what you’d like to receive. If you’re like me, you want to give something meaningful, lasting and ultimately cherished. You want to give something special. One of the fun things I have been able to do because of my travels to different countries has been to search for unique and original Christmas gifts. I look for handmade or artesian gifts – those one-of-a-kind conversation pieces from far-away lands. Often, I find antique and vintage items that have a history or story to them and have been able to come home with some pretty fun finds. I have purchased Tahitian pearls straight off the ocean pier from the pearl farmer, hand-painted Russian ornaments and boxes directly from the artist, reindeer rugs, antler mugs, and many other beautifully carved items along with some historic old books and paintings.

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