In the 1980s, Amanda M. first visited Poland as a teenager. She wasn’t there on vacation. Instead, she was part of a team smuggling Bibles and Christian materials to believers in secret locations in Poland and other communist-bloc countries.
Amanda’s husband, Dennis, is Converge’s international leader for the Europe and Mediterranean region. His heart for Poland started while serving as the executive and marriage/family pastor at Sun Valley Community Church in Arizona.
A passion for Poland was stirring
The Arizona congregation supported a church and global work in Poland. So, Dennis started multiple trips each year to lead and invest in Polish believers.
Then, in 2010, God gripped Dennis and Amanda’s hearts afresh for service there. They still remember praying in one of Poland’s churches.
“We felt like God was putting a burden on our hearts,” she said. “We got on our knees in that cathedral and prayed that God would speak to us and show us what his desire was for us.”
To this day, Dennis’s picture of that church is the wallpaper on his phone’s home screen. They wanted to know God’s plans.
“We had a country in mind in a very specific way,” Dennis said. “We prayed, ‘God, what are you going to do for the rest of our lives as we desire to see gospel movements all over the world?’”
But another purpose was setting forth
In 2015, Converge senior vice president of International Ministries Ivan Veldhuizen leadership asked Dennis and Amanda to consider leading global workers and national partnerships in Converge’s Europe and Mediterranean region.
At the time of Veldhuizen’s invitation, Dennis and Amanda believed their call was to Poland. If they didn’t serve with Converge, Dennis thought he’d teach at a Christian college, work at another local church or do “something that required a whole different direction.”
As they talked and prayed about the Converge opportunity, the Lord showed Dennis and Amanda his plan was a whole new idea: Leading and serving all the global workers in Europe and the countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
“We had a country in mind,” Amanda said. “But God had a continentand a half in mind, which was very overwhelming and humbling.”
Now faith is the evidence of things not seen
When Dennis started with Converge in 2015, Converge had 27 adult global workers serving in the region. He said that almost 100 adults now serve across Europe and the Mediterranean.
Dennis oversees initiative leaders focused on specific least-reached countries and people groups. The initiative leaders support Converge global workers in the countries where the least-reached peoples live.
“We train for understanding, we coach for implementation and we mentor for multiplication,” Dennis explained. “In doing so, we are developing leaders who make disciples that make disciples that make disciples.”
How is Converge serving the least-reached in this region?
One of those leaders is Heather Hanson, a media and communication specialist for the region. She recognizes two parallel strengths in Dennis’ heart.
“Dennis thinks in structures, but he works from the heart,” she said.
That’s how Dennis and Amanda work in their role.
“It’s a really big job,” Dennis said. “Too big to do without being a team. Having a great team makes it feel like we can do the big job that God has for us.”
But according to Geoff C., a Converge Europe/Mediterranean initiative leader, Dennis loves big jobs.
“What I love about Dennis is there’s no challenge he isn’t willing to tackle,” Geoff C. said. “He knows the best way is a team. He is great at organizing the right people to get things done.”
Amanda knows Dennis lives to achieve God’s goals as best he can while serving with genuine care for everyone.
“He loves first, and then he leads,” Amanda said. “He loves first, which builds trust and confidence in those he leads. They know he will not ask them to do something he hasn’t truly thought through and lived himself.”
The power of Scripture
Something else Dennis loves: the Old Testament. For three years, he taught Bible classes at Valley Christian High School in the Phoenix metro area. Doing so changed his perspective.
“I absolutely fell in love with the Old Testament in a life-changing way,” Dennis said. “You can’t have the New Testament without the Old Testament. That became so real to me in those three years. It changed the way I taught the Bible in a big way.”
For Dennis and Amanda, the Scriptures are powerful for themselves and those they serve. The couple knows God’s word offers power and hope through the gospel among the world’s least-reached peoples.
Dennis and Amanda’s team serving in Europe and the Mediterranean are precious to the couple and vital to Converge’s ministry. That’s why Dennis continues connecting with people of many skill sets and passions who can play a role in making disciples among the least-reached people.
“Through those connections, we will see many people all over region meet, know and follow Jesus all the days of their lives,” he said.
Converge is asking God for a gospel movement among every least-reached people group – in our generation. Learn how we are playing a role in accomplishing the Great Commission and how you can be involved.
Ben Greene, Pastor & writer
Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.