Dalej: Looking Back - Tadhg Lynch & Chris Lewerentz
Dalej - Perseverance, Encouragement, Strength to Run the Race
by Tadhg Lynch, Belfast, Dalej Conference Director
18 months ago, a small group came to the southern town of Bielsko-Biała in Poland. We had a vision – to gather together as many young people from Kairos outreaches around the world as possible for a time of worship, seeking the Lord, training and fellowship in Poland.
Our team included representatives from the local Sword of the Spirit Community – Miasto na Gorze, as well as Kairos leaders from Scotland, Ireland, Germany and other places. Leaders from the local student groups in Bielsko-Biała and the city of Kraków expanded the team as the months progressed and the Conference began to take shape. As we prepared and prayed, two themes came consistently to mind; the need for further perseverant missionary effort in our work in the European and Middle East region, and a strong sense of needing to recognise the spiritual state of the church in our lands, to mourn for what had been lost and to offer ourselves as part of God’s plan for rebuilding. In prayer and consultation we came upon the words from Nehemiah 2:18 – where the people respond to the writer’s exhortation, “Dalej! Budujmy”, “Let us arise and build”. DALEJ was born…
Slowly, as we worked over the months, the vision and the Conference began to take shape. Leaders came on board from as far apart as the Philippines, Lebanon and Costa Rica. Payment plans, hiring tents, creating social media campaigns and international intercession campaigns for God’s action helped us to slowly refine our vision and gather the young people. By May 2016, we had 475 young people and leaders signed up to come to the DALEJ Conference – representing 40 nationalities they truly were a reflection of the “multitude” that God promises to unify for his kingdom.
For two wonderful weeks in Poland, these disparate nations were united into a people through God’s action. First there was “Prep7” – a time of spiritual and practical preparation for the 130 young leaders who would lead the participants in the Conference itself. For 7 days, we prayed and prepared. In seemingly no time at all, the main event – The DALEJ Conference – was upon us. Another 345 people came through our registration office. Hats, bags, t-shirts, bibles, tents, beds, food, water – everything that the nearly 500 people would need was ready. As we began in prayer, we asked that God would come and meet us, and he did.
The young people received teaching on the book of Nehemiah and the call of God upon his people to take their place and stand, build and fight for his kingdom in the world today. Each evening they sought the Lord in prayer –experiencing a great outpouring of his Holy Spirit each night. Indeed, staff from the Conference Centre and young people from the surrounding villages began to come to the meetings, receive prayer and experience healing at the worship times as word spread. As DALEJ wrapped up, a smaller group continued on to the Catholic World Youth Day in Krakow, finally completing their pilgrimage by experiencing the excellent hospitality of the Polish Community in both Krakow and Bielsko-Biala on their way home.
The Polish word DALEJ conjures up images of perseverance, encouragement, strength to run the race, and, in the book of Nehemiah, is a people’s corporate response to God’s call on their lives. As our brothers and sisters from all over the world returned home, this is what they shared together – a mutual assurance that God has placed them where they should be in order to run the race together, to build the walls of Christian community together and to bring his word and his life to the people around them – together.
With joy we rise and we will answer our King’s call
by Christiane Lewerentz, Belfast, Dalej Executive Supervisor
Prep7 and Dalej were a firework of prophetic senses and words from God that encouraged, challenged and steered us through these weeks. At the heart of our time together, this is what God spoke and brought to life:
God’s sovereign presence is with us. In the midst of a camp full of searching hearts, fears, hopes, doubts, diverse cultures and sincere questions, God’s presence was tangible and powerful. He brought peace, healing, power to make decisions, and a profound sense of unity that surprised us all.
God is mustering an army. The sense of God's clear call and invitation weaved through all activities. He called each of us to surrender, to be holy and to set aside all for the building of His kingdom. God’s anointing for this Dalej generation is one of personal surrender to Christ first before launching into activity.
We hadn’t quite planned this but it was amazing to see young men and women queue at the front every night to take the microphone, kneel and pray prayers of repentance, new-found joy, dedication and surrender to Christ. Throughout the week, over 100 people asked to hear more about Kairos mission and gap years, 25 people joined conversations about new mission opportunities like starting a missional community in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, over 100 people dedicated their lives to Jesus anew or for the very first time, and hundreds made decisions to surrender their careers, state in life, their own plans for the future.
“So we move forward, with our eyes fixed on Him who ransomed lowly man from sin… with joy we rise and we will answer our king’s call, as we cry holy, worthy, mighty is our God.” These words of a song Martin Jordan wrote for Dalej prophetically captured the heart of what God did among us: Young men and women finding their master, taking their place, and strengthening their hearts, minds and hands to follow him – waiting and ready to go when God calls us to battle. Are you ready?