Our family moved to Brussels along with three other families to plant a church. We have a meeting place for our Sunday gatherings with LifePoint flags out front. We even have a great website. How do we get people to come inside? Moreover, how do we get French speaking Belgians to come inside?
Our Campus Pastor, Kyle Goen, recently said that “our gathering time will only be as fruitful as our scattering time“. This has motivated our team from the very beginning to be out in the community. The people of Brussels will not come inside until we go outside.
For each family it looks a little different because—thank God—we are different. Each of our unique abilities and interests make it possible to connect with a variety of people. Angie and I are intentional with leveraging our musical abilities for the gospel. This has opened doors to a new stream of relationships. People in Belgium love American music. It’s what you hear 90% of the time as you make your way through the city on subways or shopping. People are excited when they find out that we musicians from “Music City, USA”!
Late last year Angie and I formed a band. We are performing in restaurants, cafes, and other venues. We are connecting with fellow musicians, people who hire us, workers at the restaurants, and of course, those who come to listen. You see, many people we are in relationship with are not comfortable coming to a church gathering. They have a lack of understanding about a church like LifePoint. Their preconceptions about church and religious people often keep them from venturing out into the unknown. The Catholic church is really all they know. In many cases, there is a great disconnect between their experience at church and the rest of their lives. Our hope is to break down their preconceptions and show them that people of faith can have fun and be relevant to the world around them.
In January, Angie and I played at a restaurant and invited everyone we have relationships with, many of whom had not yet visited the church. It was incredible. I think everyone we invited actually came! They brought their friends, too. Fifty came to hear us in addition to an already full restaurant with their normal customers. We have already seen this event as something that has brought us closer to those who came . We are experiencing an increase in dialog around thing like church and faith. One family recently attended our worship gathering. One of the women who came has started to send her son to our youth events.
We are also leveraging our experience in music is through “meetups”. Meetup.com is a website designed to connect people with one another. In a diverse and transient city like Brussels, there are always people looking to connect. Angie and I recently started a musician’s meetup. We meet monthly at restaurants or cafes. It gives musicians here a chance to meet others like themselves, explore the possibilities of playing together, or at the very least, support each other in their endeavors. Late last year, we had a young man at our meetup named Aaron. He is a bass player who moved here recently from the Philippines. He is a new believer but had not yet connected with a church. After sharing about LifePoint, he attended our worship gathering and is now the bass player on our worship team. He has recently expressed a desire to be baptized and will be part of our very first baptism service later this month!
Of course, not everything we do is related to music. We have formed many relationships at the school that Phoebe and Ruby attend. Angie is teaching conversational English to some of the mothers from our children’s school and for a few the students in her French class. This is strengthening relationships and paving the way for the gospel.
We are privileged to be a part of seeing God’s church established here. We are excited to see lives and families being changed. Brussels is a place that needs to be awakened! Faith in God is not the reality here that we are all accustomed to in the U.S. Please pray that God will use us to share the life-changing, life-giving, and life-saving good news of Christ.
So…how do we get them to come inside? We must go outside!
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
David and Angie Ebensberger serve as worship leaders at LifePoint Brussels. Prior to the relocating there in late 2011, they both worked in the Christian Music Industry during their twenty years in the Nashville area. For many years. they served as part-time worship leaders at LifePoint, Smyrna. They have four daughters: Abigail, Emily, Phoebe and Ruby. You can connect with David and Angie on Facebook.