House Church Discipleship in Frankfurt
When Lin, a Buddhist from an Asian country, arranged for Martina to tutor her son in the German language, she got more than she bargained for. Lin sensed a peaceful presence coming into her home whenever Martina showed up. The girl radiated kindness. As Lin engaged Martina in conversation, she learned that Martina was a Christian and as she asked more questions, Lin began to understand the message of the gospel. Around the same time, she had a dream and a few visions in which she saw Jesus.
Born in Asia but having lived in Frankfurt for more than two decades, Lin enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle. Together with her husband, she owned a local business. They lived in a large, modern home in a new section of the city and drove sleek cars. Lin had plenty of chic outfits and expensive pieces of jewelry in her closet. Her house was outfitted with elegant furniture and rare works of art. However, those things had failed to satisfy her for some time.
With her radiant smile and friendly personality, Lin had gathered a vibrant community of friends and co-workers around her. But at the end of the day, she often felt alone. Her husband had been living out of the country for business purposes, but that wasn’t the only reason for her loneliness. She felt an inner ache that simply could not be satisfied.
Lin’s desire for her son’s academic success had led her to seek a tutor, but she quickly realized that chasing success was not the meaning of life. Once Martina began sharing the gospel with her, Lin began seeing the face of Jesus in her dreams and she could feel the Holy Spirit working in her heart.
Martina, a German member of a church planting team that includes GEM workers Joe and Allie Lemenager, began a discipleship relationship with Lin and eventually invited her to one of the house churches established by the team. Martina also took Lin to the larger Mosaic Church Nordwest in Frankfurt, from which the church planters had been sent out. While there, Lin responded to the gospel message. She told Martina that she wanted Jesus to be her Lord and Savior.
Since that evening, Lin has been regularly attending a house church and has become deeply involved in the life of that small group of believers. Discipled by the group as a whole, she is growing in faith and telling her work colleagues, friends, and family members about Jesus. Lin’s husband has also expressed interest in following Jesus. One of her teenage sons—the one tutored by Martina—has professed his faith and been baptized.
The multi-cultural house church models Christian community for Lin and other new believers, and the church planting ream ministers to anyone who doesn’t know Jesus, whether it be native Germans, new immigrants, or international businesspeople who have lived in Frankfurt for many years.
“We see ourselves as a discipleship team, a team that is on mission together, bringing the lost to Jesus,” says Allie Lemenager.
Lin is still a busy, successful businesswoman. She continues to live in her lovely home and send her children to the best schools. Along with her husband, she still earns a lot of money. Now, however, that money is no longer the most important thing in her life. Success is no longer her ultimate goal.
Whereas Lin used to fill all her spare time with activities, she is now learning to slow down, focus on Jesus, and grow in her faith. She is learning that following Jesus means giving every area of her life to him. On Friday nights, Lin faithfully attends Bible study. Popular and well-connected, she could be spending Friday evenings at concerts, plays, or playing tennis, yet she makes the time to come and ask question after question, hungry to learn more about God.
“We need to put flyers up everywhere, so everybody knows we’re a church and we’re wanting to tell people about Jesus,” Lin said recently. She has begun sharing Christ with some of her business clients and has even prayed with some of them. When she comes to house church, she asks everyone to pray for the people in her spheres of influence.
Lin and her family met Jesus through the missional lifestyle fostered and encouraged by Frankfurt’s Mosaic Church Nordwest. Because that congregation sent a team out to plant a church in a new section of the city, and because the members of that team are committed to becoming involved in their community, God’s love flows out through them to those who, like Lin, are disillusioned and dissatisfied with what this world has to offer.
If you would like to know more about church planting in Germany, click here.
About the author:
Jenny Garrity is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission. Jenny and her husband Kim joined GEM in 1984. They have served in Germany, Belgium, and most recently, Greece in response to the refugee crisis.