‘This is life’ – Mission Week in Leuven, Belgium


Leuven is a town of about 150,000, just a few kilometres east of Brussels in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. It has the leading university in the country, and a third of the town’s 150,000 inhabitants are students.

The mission was entitled ‘This is Life’ and it was a remarkable week – even more so when you consider that this was the first such mission that the group had organised. The preparation was tremendous, with diligent planning right down to the details. Four days of lunch bars and evening events were filled with interested seekers and thoughtful sceptics. Stefan Gustavsson from Sweden, an experienced evangelist/apologist and a member of the FEUER network, joined me, and we shared the talks. A team of students from the UK were also an instrumental part of the team. By the end of the week we had seen several clear professions of faith and a large number of people signing up to find out more.  As I reflect on the week, several things stand out:

The Enthusiasm

Rarely have I worked with such an enthusiastic group of students – it really was infectious! Their eagerness to do the mission and to make Christ known was such a joy to see. It energised me, at a time when, after eight mission weeks, I could have naturally been very tired.

The Openness

Belgium1When we went out flyering we were amazed at just how open people were to talking with us – I think in the whole week only one person refused to take a flyer, and almost everyone we sought to engage in conversation was happy to chat – some for over an hour. It is hard to know exactly where this came from – the warm and sunny weather certainly helped and was a real blessing. Perhaps the still very recent events of March 22nd at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, just 15 minutes away, had also caused people to think seriously. Many students knew people who were involved in the atrocities. One girl I met had been in the next carriage to the one bombed on the Metro. It was very noticeable that the numbers of attending students grew dramatically on the second day, when the talk was on the subject of ‘Does Religion provoke Violence?’

The Effectiveness of Creative and Enthusiastic Advertising

Many of the people who came to the events did so simply because they received a flyer. The team was superb at enthusiastically inviting people. They also made sure that no one could ignore the mission, by chalking adverts for it all over the town’s pavements… and plastering walls with flyers! We also engaged in some ‘flash mob’ worship songs at the lecture changeovers, and people were intrigued to know what made such a diverse group of people so happy?!Belgium2

The Unexpected

We often encourage the team to believe that God goes before us, preparing hearts, and can lead us to the people He wants us to meet. This was evident again this week, sometimes in remarkable ways. On the Wednesday night I sat with a student who was so open to the gospel, despite coming from a different Belgium 3religious background. He explained how he had met a Christian student on a train recently, and had had a conversation about Jesus with him. They had intended to meet up again, but he had lost his contact details. Then, walking along the street, he noticed a discarded leaflet on the floor, which he picked up, and noticed that it was a flyer for the mission events. Intrigued, he came along straight away to the event, and, upon walking in to the room, he bumped into the very Christian he had been trying to contact!

The Power of Music, Drama and Testimony

Though we always try to use creative approaches for the evening events, some weeks are more successful than others in this regard. I was impressed by this group’s willingness to do drama sketches under the coaching of Abs Orr (the ‘resurrection’ sketch on the final night was done so well that it had people in fits of laughter… whilst also making a very powerful point). We also had some very powerful testimonies, both from the student group and the team. These gave the talks an added edge. Add to that Nate Orr’s music and several video clips… and an hour’s presentation flew by!

The Value of the FEUER Network


The mission was a brilliant example of the effectiveness of the FEUER network and happened as a direct result of it. Two of the student leaders had been to the last FEUER conference back in November, and had been inspired by what they had heard; this prompted them to attempt something themselves. They asked Stefan and me if we would come to Leuven to speak. They also arranged for several members of their group to come and join UK missions, and had split themselves between mission weeks in York, Manchester and Southampton Universities. Not only did they take back ideas from these missions, but they also recruited a number of students to come and be guests on theirs!

The Impact of Student Leadership

Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects of this mission was that all of it was achieved with little input needed from the full-time staff. The idea, planning and implementation of it were all done by the students themselves. It shows that, whilst experience and knowledge are helpful, there is no substitute for enthusiasm about Jesus and prayerful expectancy for Him to work!



wow – such an encouragement. Well done Belgium!

chris O

LOVE LOVE LOVE this – we attempted similar things in louvain la neuve, and liege but nothing on this scale – ownership the key. Delighted to hear this. What a breakthrough.

Jimmy Evelyn

Great work, the power of the word revealed though God’s believers. God is good. Keep up the good work. The student ministry is the growth of the faith. Amen

Chris Orr

Really great to see the excitment of students with a real heart for Jesus. Praise the LORD of heaven and earth.

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