The spiritual need in Germany and Europe is distressingly great. A considerable number of churches have left the gospel behind and follow the spirit of this age instead. Liberal theology and textual criticism questioning the authority and inerrancy of Scripture are popular beliefs. This sad development inevitably leads to a loss of trust in the Word of God and thus to a decline of the power of churches to shine as a light.
On the other hand, the hunger for the Word of God is great. We keep receiving requests from all over Germany to plant gospel-centered churches in other towns. We would love to do just that. At the same time, we know that such an endeavor requires men called and equipped by God for pastoral ministry. That is why we have called the Arche Pastors College into being.
We launched it in March of this year. It was a great joy to have Jeff Purswell come and teach Systematic Theology. All the students were deeply moved by the well-grounded talks that were rich in content, and in addition, always came back to the practical side of church ministry. Being not only a theologian, but also having a pastoral heart, Jeff Purswelll will, God willing, serve regularly as a teacher at the Arche Pastors College. This year, he will be teaching here two more times.
The students come from the Arche Church in Hamburg and from other places in Germany. In addition, there are also men from our partner churches in Russia and the Ukraine taking part in the Arche Pastors College.
We are very grateful to God for the support we are receiving from Sovereign Grace. I myself had the privilege of studying at the Pastors College of Sovereign Grace as well as some other men from the Arche Church, and we experience the lasting blessing of this training. We experienced first-hand what sound theological training looks like, which always takes into consideration the practical ministry in the church as well as the development of the students’ character. All of this serves us as an example for Germany and Europe. We see it as a gift from God that Jeff Purswell actively supports the Arche Pastors College by teaching and counseling.
The Arche Pastors College needs much prayer support. The Word of God says: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand“ (Proverbs 19:21). We want to do nothing except walk in the will of God. And because it is God who has put this project on our heart, we are confident that he who began the good work will bring it to completion. Thank you for all your prayers.
March 5, 2014 by
Categories: Germany | International
This week, Jeff Purswell is in Germany serving Arche Church, our partner church in Hamburg. Jeff shared some details about the trip and the partnership Sovereign Grace shares with this church.
I’ll be with the Arche Gemeinde, our partner church in Hamburg, Germany, teaching a systematic theology course (including Introduction to Systematic Theology and the doctrine of revelation and Scripture) to a group of pastors Friday–Tuesday and preaching at the church on Sunday. The pastoral team of the Arche, some of their emerging leaders and pastors they’re serving and relating to in Germany will be attending the course, as well as pastors from Russia and Ukraine.
Over the past few years, Christian Wegert and the team at the Arche have increasingly had a burden for church planting in Germany and surrounding countries. This year, they planted their first church in the nearby city of Stade. Their vision is to “bring the gospel to the land of the Reformation!”
To this end, they are intent on starting a Pastors College for the training of pastors and church planters. This course represents the first installment of an eventual Pastors College they’d like to begin. As Christian said in an email to me this week, “We are all very excited to see the PC in Germany start in a couple of days!” This is the first of three courses I’ll be teaching this year in Hamburg, and I’m working with the pastors there to strategize for future courses and training opportunities. They are supplementing these courses with internships and pastoral ministry courses taught by the Arche pastors in a multi-layered approach to training leaders for the mission of the gospel.
It is a tremendous privilege to partner with the Arche. It is the largest Reformed evangelical church in Germany with a broad influence extending throughout Germany and beyond. Our bonds with this church are strong: two members of their pastoral team have attended the Pastors College, including Christian Wegert, their senior pastor. C.J. Mahaney and I have had the joy of participating in their annual church conference—Eckstein—for the past two years, and we’ve been enriched and encouraged by the wisdom and gifting of the pastors on their team, including their founding pastor, Wolfgang Wegert, who continues to serve the church locally and in its outreach beyond Hamburg.
October 24, 2012 by
Categories: Conferences | Germany
Arche Church in Hamburg, Germany was privileged to host the annual Eckstein Conference this past week, October 18-21. Pastors, leaders, and Christians from all over Europe gathered to be further instructed from God’s Word on the transforming power of the gospel.
Sadly, the church in the land of the reformation is in poor health due to the influence of liberal theology. Many churches have moved far away from what Luther recovered. The Eckstein Conference serves to draw many to return to sound doctrine and practice according to the Word of God. This year C.J. Mahaney and Jeff Purswell served as our main speakers unpacking the Scriptures to help us further see the connection between the gospel and progressive sanctification.
One of many highlights of the conference was Jeff’s sermon from Isaiah 6 about the holiness of God. He made specific connections between the theological truth of the text and its applications to every day life. In his message Jeff made the point that just as Isaiah could not stand before God, we too need help from outside ourselves to be in the presence of a holy God. We can only find hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the attendees commented that they have never heard Isaiah 6 preached more powerfully.
It was also a great joy to welcome C.J. Mahaney. This was his first time speaking at this conference. In his fine and joyful manner he immediately won the hearts of the Germans. In his message from James 4:1-2 he addressed how cravings underlie conflicts. His preaching was practical and uplifting for those in attendance. In his message on Hebrews 3:12-13 he addressed the responsibility we have to help each other grow in godliness. He used an illustration of a businessman preparing for an important meeting but failed to notice the cream cheese that was on his face, remaining from his earlier breakfast. No one alerted this businessman of what was obvious to others…the cream cheese on his face. This businessman was heading into an embarrassing situation and no one was willing to stop him. The stakes are much higher for us as Christians.
In attendance at the conference was a woman who was preparing to divorce her husband of 30 years. Upon returning home she wrote us:
Dear Pastors, yesterday I was at the Eckstein Conference....the sermons were so clear and convicting that I decided to humble myself by writing a letter to my husband. The result was that both of us have decided to devote ourselves to each other again. May the Lord help us. The message of C.J. Mahaney with the cream cheese was very helpful and convicting. To God be the glory for these wonderful days. God bless you all!
The Arche Church in Hamburg is thankful to God for our deep friendship with C.J., Jeff, and Sovereign Grace Ministries. To God be the glory!
Christian Wegert leads Gemeinde und Missionswerk Arche in Hamburg, Germany. He graduated from the Sovereign Grace Pastors College in 2008. Christian and his wife Verena have two daughters and one son.
October 17, 2012 by
Categories: Conferences | Germany
Over the next few days, people from a number of European countries – Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine and all over Germany – will gather in Hamburg for a conference hosted by the Arche Church. The theme for this year’s conference, which will take place October 18-21, is “The Christian and His Character: The Transforming Power of the Gospel.” Please join us in praying for C.J. Mahaney and Jeff Purswell as they have the joy of participating this year in this strategic gathering. C.J. will preach four times (as well as preaching at the Arche Church on Sunday morning), and Jeff will preach three times.
The Arche Church is a partner church in Sovereign Grace Ministries, and we had the privilege of hosting their pastor Christian Wegert at the Pastors College in 2007-08. A second member of their team, Markus Kniesel, attended the PC this past year. The mission video we did a few years back highlighting the story of Christian and his father Wolfgang provides an inspiring glimpse into what God is doing in Germany through the Arche Church and the Wegert family.
We treasure the close relationship we share with the Arche Church, and it is our prayer that God would use C.J. and Jeff to strengthen and encourage this dear church. Let’s ask the Lord for much fruit over these next few days – that the gospel would be proclaimed and lives changed in the land of the Reformation and beyond. May God be glorified!
Last October, Christian Wegert was installed as the new senior pastor of Arche Church—the Sovereign Grace church in Hamburg, Germany. You may recall Christian as the Pastors College student whom we featured in our 2008 Mission Presentation.
A week after becoming senior pastor, Christian, along with his father Wolfgang, joined Jeff Purswell to film an interview that explores the history of Arche Church, how they joined Sovereign Grace Ministries, and what they are doing to reach German-speaking Europe with the gospel. The video below is an excerpt from that interview that explains how and why Christian became the senior pastor. The whole interview was an hour long, so we broke the rest into shorter segments which you can browse using the list of links below the video.
(If you're reading this in an email or RSS reader, you may need to visit our website to see the video.)
Table of contents for Jeff Purswell's interview with Christian and Wolfgang Wegert
- Converted and preaching at age 16: how Wolfgang became a Christian and began ministry
- 1974: Wolfgang takes the reigns as senior pastor of Arche Church
- The spiritual landscape of Germany: is it still a Christian nation?
- From TV to church planting: how broadcasting sermons paved the way for new churches in Europe
- "We decided to write an email": Sovereign Grace Ministries' surprising introduction to Arche Church
- From one generation to the next: why Wolfgang changed his mind about handing over leadership of the church
- Leading through change: how the elders prepared Arche Church for a new senior pastor
- The gospel must be preached: Arche Church's future with Sovereign Grace Ministries and the mission to plant churches
- Preparing the next generation of leaders: Wolfgang's dream for pastoral training in Germany
- Watch your life and doctrine: Wolfgang's counsel for young pastors entering the ministry