Teenagers and young people from churches across France are gathering this weekend (19-21 May) in Zénith d’Auvergne in a large triennial congress that seeks to encourage young members evangelical churches to discover God’s calling.
“See, I am doing something new” (Isiah 43:9) is the theme of this edition, in which over 6,500 are expected to attend.
The whole programme will revolve around three axes: “Me & God, Us & God, You & Me”, and will include preaching, worship times, workshops, concerts and specialised programmes for ados (12-17 years old) and jeunes (18 and over). Christian youth workers are also offered training and connections.
“We hope that the young people will not only experience a conference but will prepare themselves for their future, that they will discover their ministry, Christian organisations with whom to serve and experience mission in the simplest and most concrete sense of the word”, the coordinator of the event, Samuel Tricoire, told Evangelical Focus.
The conference is organised by the youth department of Assemblies of God (ADD), one of the largest evangelical denominations in France. Their hope is that “churches will confidently accompany these young people in the visions they have for their city, their region and their country”.
A surprisingly large event
France has 745,000 evangelical Christians who gather in around 2,300 worship places, according to recent data of the CNEF (National Council of Evangelicals in France). Despite the 15-fold growth since 1950, the evangelical communities are still a minority that represent just over 1% of the population.
Figures in the thousands are not common for evangelical events in Southern Europe. Why this success? “It is a good question”, answers Tricoire, “I would say the fact of creating a group dynamic and not only a youth dynamic has been key: the churches are mobilised and a group effect is created”. Other factors he mentions to Evangelical Focus are “the fact of being supported by the ADD movement and that the evangelical community is alive and growing”.
Speakers at Echo will include Emmanuel and Guarino from France, as well as Itiel Arroyo from Spain. Bands such as Youth Fr, Sebastien Corn and MLK Music will also be present.
Over 70 organisations will present their work to the young attendants and sportive activities will be on offer as well. Seminars will address issues such as Bible reading, Christian ethics, science and faith, and sexuality.
Learn more about Echo 2023 by visiting its website.
Originally published on The Evangelical Focus
(c) Evangelical Focus, used with permission