Are you considering attending the ADVANCE! conference in 2022? Meet an ICP trainee and ADVANCE! conference attendee Jorge Monsalve.
Jorge attended the ADVANCE! conference in 2021 and was called to participate in the ten month ICP trainee program that followed. Please enjoy hearing his first-hand experience, one year on, of what participants could expect during the first year after the ADVANCE! conference.
Tell us a bit more about yourself, your motivation, background, formation.
My name is Jorge Mario Monsalve Guaracao (short: Jorge Monsalve). I was born in Colombia in 1993 and moved to Europe in 2016 to study nanotechnology. My occupational background is in engineering. I currently work for a research institute in Germany, developing electroacoustical microchips. The drive for professional development used to be very strong in me, until God helped me realise how void I was, pursuing that and not having him. It was in university that I discovered what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, “leaving my nets and following him”. Since then, God’s love transformed me to pursue his kingdom first.
Tell us more about your experiences during the ADVANCE! conference? In what way did it inspire you?
I was inspired by getting to know all these people that are sharing Jesus in their contexts. I was very glad to see the vision of ICP to expand God’s kingdom here in Europe, not being passive but “aggressive” (actively reaching out to the lost). Also, the experience of intercultural worship left a beautiful mark in my heart. It is amazing how we can come as we are before the throne of God and worship him in our diversity.
Why did you decide to take up the training program?
I wanted to be part of this movement and do church planting here in Germany. In the months before the ADVANCE! conference I was re-considering my motivation to stay in Europe, far from my family. Just staying here because of my job wasn’t enough reason to be here. In the conference, my passion for evangelism was kindled again, and I now see a great opportunity to serve God in the city where I am, following the vision of ICP.
What is your experience so far with the training of ICP?
I was enriched by the contents of the course and the group discussions. The group environment is very encouraging, because you are in contact with people who have the same motivation and similar struggles. Little by little you start absorbing the values that define the intercultural missional communities.
Can you share what God taught you throughout this year regarding the missional work you are involved in?
I have learned to depend more on God, to pray more, to trust him more. Church planting is not like an engineering project, where you have a budget, a team and a time limit, and you can achieve the goal by being disciplined and making rational choices. In ministry, we absolutely depend on God to move his hand and work in us and in our neighbours. It takes prayer and patience to build a team and let God put in them a clean motivation. It takes prayer and patience to build relationships with non-Christians and point them towards Christ. “We are God’s fellow workers” as Scripture says—and that is also the most exciting part, to see God work.
Please share a highlight of what happened during your missional work last year
The highlight is so far our Alpha course. There were many obstacles that I could not have solved on my own, but God opened the doors every time. First, the team. I was doubting whether my small group was willing to switch the format to an alpha course and share about Christ with non-Christians. To my surprise, after praying and discussing together, they were willing to do so and so we had our first “green light”. Second, the guests. This was the most uncertain part. I prayed for many people and had deep conversations with many friends. When we decided the starting date, there was no certainty as to who would come. Thank God, a couple (soon to get married) confirmed and we had a group to start with. They valued the conversation topics very much and are still coming. Further guests have later joined our group.
Why should others participate in the ADVANCE! conference?
If you’re exploring church planting, the conference will give you a deeper insight on what our motivation at ICP is and what our vision is. It was important for me to meet the people in person and see what their values are. These are things that you don’t notice on the website. The conference was also a great time of Christian fellowship, seeking God together, eating together, and getting to know each other.
What are your plans and dreams for the coming years?
I plan to start a Discovery Bible Study group as a follow-up from the Alpha course. In fact, I decided to move to the neighbourhood where we did the Alpha course because there are many refugees there from all over the world. I dream of planting an intercultural, missional church in this neighbourhood and then sending missionaries to plant churches in other multicultural neighbourhoods here in Dresden.