Posted by: Jack | October 15, 2018

Refreshment, Beginnings and Innovation

After an intense year of teaching, church ministry and family care, we thoroughly enjoyed our BMW Annual conference. This year, Pat & I were responsible as hosts and Pat helped to coordinate a special ladies’ ministry. One of BMW’s board members, a pastor from the Chicago area, spoke on forgiveness. We were encouraged to hear from many missionary colleagues and their efforts in church planting, even as we shared our struggles. The weeks afterward, we hiked in the Austrian Alps. Its hard work hiking up, but the sights are breathtaking. What a wonderful reminder of God’s majesty and power in creation!

2018-08-17 13.11.14

Pat descending the mountain

Upon returning home, Jack arrived in the middle of re-exams, with a week of doctoral studies at the ETF in early September. Some 40 PhD students from all over the globe gather together with more than 30 professors. Every day starts with a chapel meditation, following by student presentations, and faculty lectures. We had two PhD promotions this year, as well as a special evening to thank our school president who stepped down after 12 years of serving in this capacity. During the week, Jack had very stimulating meetings with profs and students in practical theology. It is a real privilege to be part of this very international group of Christian leaders, so serve the people of Belgium and the Netherlands, Europe and beyond.


Jack during his inaugural address

These were also very emotional weeks. Our school president lost his 25-year-old son through a car accident, and one of our library volunteers passed away unexpectedly due to heart failure after years of serious health troubles. Moreover, Jack and an ETF colleague were involved in a major car accident; all involved walked away without a scratch, but both cars were totaled. It brings us face to face with the vulnerability of life, even though we often live it as if there is no end in sight.

It was a special highlight for Jack to hold his inaugural lecture on the occasion of being appointed as full professor of practical theology. He spoke on “The Pastor as Innovator? Religious Leadership in a Post-Truth World.” The speech drew on his years of research into pastoral leadership. Many in the audience later expressed how much they recognized from their own ministries. This lecture was held at the ceremony for opening our new academic year on September 24.


Our family, including Jack’s brother and sister at the reception after the inaugural address

Thank you for praying for our church meeting location. In a flurry of meetings and emails, it is now clear that we have to leave our current building by the end of this month. But … the Lord provided a new meeting place nearby. It is a local activity center in a neighborhood called “Nazareth.” Keep praying for the move and all involved, please. More details in our next blog.

Thanks for serving with us through your prayers and support,

Jack and Pat



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