Change is in the wind for one denomination of French evangelical churches, and Jean-Raymond Stauffacher is leading that change.
Jean-Raymond is the pastor of the Reformed Protestant Evangelical Church in Marseilles, France. He is also the president of a union of churches spread across southern France, and up to Paris.
Born in France in 1967, Jean-Raymond was the son of American missionaries. He went through a rebellion of sorts in his teen years. A caring friend invited him to the Reformed Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, where he experienced a deep spiritual renewal.
I met Jean-Raymond in 2013 when folks at LBC hosted a contingent of pastors from Europe for the GCA conference. He joined us for a time of strategic planning for Europe, at the LBC office. Flash forward to our meeting on Thursday in Nimes, France.
Nimes (pronounced "Neem") is a beautiful, mid-sized city with an abundance of Roman ruins. We spent the day with Jean-Raymond and his change team, talking about their plan to re-shape a denomination to advance the gospel and plant churches in today's France.
When our work was completed for the day, we walked the Roman ruins in the nearby city of Arles. What a vivid window into the heart of Jean-Raymond. If God gives life to his vision, the church in France will not be like ancient ruins. it will be a vibrant force for the gospel.