The European Leadership Forum programme includes plenary sessions for all participants to attend each morning and evening. These sessions consist of worship, prayer, and teaching. The speakers for this year's plenaries are listed below. For information about last year's plenary sessions, please see 2023 ELF Plenaries.
René Breuel was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has lived in Rome, Italy for the past 13 years, where he serves as the Founding Pastor of Hopera, a church in Rome’s university neighborhood. He holds a Master of Studies in Creative Writing from Oxford University in the UK, a Master of Divinity from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, in São Paulo, Brazil, and has completed additional studies at Universität Mannheim in Germany. He has written for the Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Evangelical Focus, and Protestante Digital. He is the author of The Paradox of Happiness and a forthcoming Redeemer City to City publication about how churches can grow in cultural awareness and spiritual maturity. René is married to Sarah Breuel, the Executive Director of Revive Europe, and a member of the Lausanne Movement’s international board of directors. They have two teenage boys.
The book of Revelation paints the Gospel in bright colours for turbulent times. When read rightly, it doesn’t inspire fear but faithfulness amidst suffering and worship of the one true God. Such Christ-centered understanding of the book emerges when we interpret Revelation in its historical, not present-day, context; in accordance with its biblical references, not our speculations; and taking seriously the images it uses to exalt Jesus over all pretenders.
Does the work of ministry discourage you? Tempt you toward ethical comprises? Make you proud and self-reliant? Then you are in good company, for the seven churches in Asia Minor also faced these challenges. And, like them, we need to hear the voice of Jesus, who speaks truth, strengthens our spine, and provides ultimate validation.
The universe has a throne. Someone sits on it. And that someone has triumphed like a lion by shedding his blood like a lamb. The central vision of the book of Revelation lifts our souls in adoration, fills our mouths with song, and teaches us to embody cruciform power and wisdom in our ministries and lives.
God’s Story redeems our individual stories and prompts us to tell better stories because we know how the Story ends: with Jesus’s return, victory over evil, and worship of the one true God. Have hope! Our times may be dark, but one day we will reign with God in his beloved, luminous, and holy bride-city.
John Dickson’s story is eclectic. Starting out as a professional singer-songwriter, he now works as an author, speaker, historian, and media presenter. He was the Founding Director of the Centre for Public Christianity (2007-17). He has published over 20 books, two of which became television documentaries, with a third, For the Love of God: How the Church is Better and Worse Than You Ever Imagined, released in Australian cinemas in June 2018. John has held a variety of teaching and research positions before moving to Wheaton College, including in the Ancient History Department at Macquarie University (2002-2015), the Hebrew, Jewish, and Biblical Studies Department at Sydney University (2011-2021), Ridley College Melbourne (2019-2022), and the Faculty of Classics at the University of Oxford (2015-2023). A busy public speaker, he lives in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife Elizabeth and the youngest of their three children.
As early as 1975, celebrated historian Patrick O’Farrell described Australia as the “first genuinely post-Christian society.” Drawing on 25 years of experience engaging the Australian public with the gospel, Professor Dickson will combine sociology and Scripture to outline some of the strains, temptations, and opportunities facing Christians in a post-Christian setting.
Roland Werner is a professor of theology, Bible translator, author, and church-planter in Marburg, a quaint medieval university town in the middle of Germany. He holds a Ph.D.in African and Semitic linguistics and a Ph.D. in theology. With his wife Elke he has served in many countries, including Egypt and Sudan. As chair of Lausanne Germany, it is his desire to inspire the church for evangelism.
In this dramatized narration, Roland Werner will assume the persona of his fellow German theologian, Dr. Martin Luther. This will be the fourth time that Roland, himself a Bible translator and theologian, will retell the life story of one of the most influential persons in history—at the invitation of ELF.
Sharon Dirckx is a freelance speaker and author and an adjunct lecturer at OCCA The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Originally from a scientific background, she has a PhD in brain imaging from the University of Cambridge. Sharon speaks and lectures on science and theology, ‘mind and soul’, and the problem of evil. She has appeared on several BBC programmes in the UK including Radio 2 Good Morning Sunday and Radio 4 Beyond Belief. Sharon is also author of an award-winning book on suffering, entitled Why?: Looking at God, evil and personal suffering (2013), as well as a book on human consciousness and identity, entitled, Am I just my brain? (2019). Sharon was a contributor to best-selling author Lee Strobel’s latest book and subsequent documentary, The Case for Heaven (2021). Her next book on natural disasters, Broken Planet, was released in February 2023.
We live at a time in which scientific understanding is held in high esteem, with objective insights that reach into all areas of life. Many believe that religious beliefs, on the other hand, have only personal relevance even if they are sincerely held. There are many attempts to explain away Christian belief, using arguments from neuroscience, psychology and biology. This talk will evaluate these arguments and will show how the Christian gospel remains as objectively true and authentically real as it has always been.
Dave Patty has been involved in training youth leaders and leading national and international youth movements in Europe for over 30 years. He serves as the president of Josiah Venture. He is also a founding member of Global Youth Initiative, which mobilizes and equips youth ministry trainers in over 60 countries of the world. Dave is an ordained pastor with a BA in theology and a MA in education. He has also done graduate work in leadership development at Harvard University. For the past 27 years he has lived in the Czech Republic, and he spent the 10 years before that in Germany. Dave is married to Connie and has three grown children, Tyler, Caleb, and Claire.
Just because someone attends church on a regular basis doesn’t mean they have reached maturity in their faith. In fact, churches are full of comfortable attendees who have not yet become true disciples. In Colossians 1:28 Paul declares the focus of his toil for the church in Colossae – that he might “present everyone mature in Christ.” What does it mean for us to have this as our goal as well? What exactly is maturity, and how do we help believers move from passive participation to active disciple-making?