Christian Pichler


Christian is the General Secretary of the IFES movement in Austria,after being a part/time regional secretary in Vienna since 2013. He lives in the heart of the Alps in Salzburg (Mozart, Sound of music..).He’s been married, for 11 years, with Salomé, who grew up in Spain. Together they have three kids (7-5-3 years old.) Currently he works halftime as a High School teacher in Biology and Spanish. Since 2008, Christian has been involved in student ministry. He loves working with students and he has a heart for world mission. That’s why he loves the work of IFES. He’s a passionate preacher, who regularly preaches in his own church and on different occasions across Austria and internationally. During his time in Vienna, Christian was also a leader in a church planting project; the church has now about 50 members, and is involved in student ministry.

Christian will give two plenary sessions from the book of 2 Corinthians:

+ Our Hope - the power of the Gospel

2 Corinthians 3:4-18

2 Corinthians 3 speaks about hope and glory. The glory is the supremacy of the New Covenant. But what kind of hope are we talking about? Our hope is the glory of the New Covenant, our hope is the power of the Gospel. The Gospel not only has the power to change human beings, it has the power to change whole societies. We have many examples in the history of the church,which confirm this wonderful truth. This is also true for the 21st century as we will see.

+ Our Hope - the power in weakness

2 Corinthians 4:1-18

God's power is made perfect in weakness. That is our hope. This is the way God works. Not the heroes of the world, not the Presidents or Nobel Prize winners. God uses people like you and me to make history.

"But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God." (v.7)

We want to find out how God‘s strategy applies to us and the International Student ministry. One thing is certain: We have a powerful ministry with a global impact!

Plus a whole range of seminars! Find out more....

+ Starting ISM

Do you see the need for International Student Ministry in your city or at your University? Do you have some ideas, but aren't sure what the next steps are? Come to this seminar to get ideas and inspiration on what starting ISM in your context can look like! We will discuss some principals for starting a new group, share ideas, and hear stories of what God has been doing in though the starting of new ISM groups across Europe.

Ahlke Spies (right) studied Scandinavian Studies and German (BA) and Literaryand Cultural Theory (MA) at the University in Tübingen, Germany. She has been involved in SMD groups (IFES Germany) since high school. During her time as a student in Tübingen she was involved in the ISM of her local student group. She is currently working in Sofia, Bulgaria supporting BCSU (IFES Bulgaria) in their ministry among International and Bulgarian students. Liz Howald is from the US, but has been living in Sofia, Bulgaria for the last four years. Her favorite things are coffee, board games, and student ministry, (and she likes it even more when she can combine all three)! She is the coordinator for International Student Ministry in Bulgaria, and serves with the Bulgarian student group as well.

+ Reaching out to Muslims

Our speaker has worked with Muslims in Europe and Central Asia and he has a particular heart for university students and hopes to better connect IFES students with a heart for sharing their faith with Muslims.

Some knowledge of Islam and some experience of ministering to, or sharing the gospel with, Muslims is assumed

+ Refugee Ministry

We are enjoying the beauty of cultural diversity in our ISM groups, great as it is that people from so many countries come to our cities to study. Study however is not the only reason students come to our cities. In the last years many refugees came, and among them are students. How can we include them in our ministry? In this workshop you’ll have the opportunity to hear (and share) practical tools and examples from experience in different groups so far.

Hendrik Timmer is a Dutch ISM student worker in their most beautiful city called Groningen. In his work he has built relationships with refugee students and is currently leading a buddy project to link IFES students with refugee students. Also he is involved as a volunteer in a grassroots organization called ‘Groningen welcomes refugees’. And some people say he’s an addicted Middle-East traveler.

+ Self Care in ISM

You have the best job on earth. You work with international students and you love it! You spend evenings, weekends with them, you lead bible studies for seekers, inform your ministry partners and try to keep in touch with churches in town and your colleagues in other cities. Your family desperately wants to spend time with you and your friends are wondering when you have time to go out. Oh yes, and your neighbour just asked you to help with a little something and you are wondering how you can share the Gospel with her. And you are tired... Your friends or supervisor tell you to take care of yourself. But you feel responsible. You want to spread the Gospel and actually you are in a strategic position to do so. And if you would try to rest, how? If you recognize yourself, do come to this workshop. We will talk about:

  • Why would you take care of yourself? Is it necessary, is it allowed?
  • How to recognise stress and prevent burnout?
  • Practical idea's for balancing your personal life and ministry.

Francina de Pater is ISM coordinator for The Netherlands and Europe. She has been in Christian ministry for almost 20 years and is a trained counselor and coach. One of her specialties is stress and burnout prevention. As IFES senior staff and in her own business company Precious Coaching & Training she helps people to take better care of themselves (and meanwhile is learning it herself 😊).

Anneriet Boonen is IFES staff for international students in Tilburg. She has been working for IFES for 12 years. The first 3 in Bosnia and Herzegovina through IFES InterAction and now in a city in the South of the Netherlands. She is an expert (after quite some struggles) in combining family life and ministry. As a life coach and senior staff she is helping both students and staff to set priorities and make healthy decisions for life and ministry.

+ 3D Gospel

Seminar description coming soon...

+ Clash of cultures

"The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man". Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

We all recognize how culture influences our understanding of the world and of people from other cultures. It limits us and creates barriers between us. Added to this, our hearts are corrupted by sin... We are human. This seminar aims to think through some areas of cultural conflict from a personal and practical point of view. What is our attitude to foreigners? Where do we, where do I, tend to have stereotyped ideas about foreigners? What are some barriers of my own that I might not even recognize? Together, we want to explore how God's perspective sheds light on these barriers that lie between us.

Hans-Markus Haizmann is from Germany and was involved in International Student Ministry as a student in both Dresden and Heidelberg, where he studied Geography. Now he is the coordinator for ISM in Germany with the German IFES movement, SMD. Hans-Markus and his wife, Nicole, live in Marburg with their three energetic children.

+ Practical Hospitality

A workshop discussing basic principles of cross-cultural friendships and boundaries when relating to international students, and also sharing ideas for mass catering, ice-breakers and games, seasonal events, trips and weekends away.

Kah Foon comes from Singapore but has been living in the UK and Ireland for the last 15 years. She's been involved in international student ministry in Singapore, London, Dublin and Durham, mostly as an IFES staff worker but more recently with Friends International. She's married to a Northern Irishman called Jonathan.

+ Effective Approaches to Evangelism

Many strategies and tools exist to help us share the good news of Jesus. And because we work with internationals, there are most likely more types of students that we have strategies! So how can we know how to effectively invite them to follow Jesus? Using the 5 Thresholds model we will spend our time discussing how to know WHERE our friends are at in their spiritual journey, as well as WHICH tools and approaches are most effective in inviting them to take the next step towards Jesus.

Kodi Moore lives with his wife and son in Berlin, Germany since Fall 2015.
Previously he had worked in the U.S. for InterVarsity/USA, but now serves as an InterAction Team Leader to plant a sustainable ISM for the 25,000 international students in Berlin.

Diana Moraru is from Romania and she has been involved in IFES group in Bucharest (OSCER) as a student and then as a volunteer after graduation. During academic year 2016-2017 she was part of InterAction program working with International Students in Latvia. At the moment Diana is a staff worker in OSCER pioneering ISM in Romania.

+ Practical Ideas for Casting Vision (so that it's caught!)

I'm Kurt Morrill and I live in Strasbourg, France but I am originally from California, USA. I have been involved in IFES in many different capacities, from my days as a student leader to working on staff in the US, to now serving in France. I love serving in a cross-cultural environment, with all of the challenges and joys that come with that. I'm looking forward to sharing in this seminar about some of our failures and successes in casting vision in different areas of ministry and how you can boldly bring others with you as you journey with Jesus

I'm Gabi Nobre and I'm originally from Portugal where I studied at the super old university of Coimbra as an undergrad in Biology, later a masters degree in Biochemistry, and studied some theology along the way. During all this time, I have decided to be involved in IFES in different ways. Both in small weekly groups, and larger gatherings on a more national level. When I graduated, I thought God had shared so much with me that it would only make sense to share it back with a student movement in a more developmental stage. So I went to Cyprus, a pioneer student movement, where I work as a staff worker since 2015. I think I was invited me to give this seminar beacuse of the crazy stories of what God already did on my journey, and my mediterranean hearty enthusiasm, at times. Come to this seminar if you want to talk hear about principles in spreading the word in a catchy and effective way!

+ Preparing students to return home

It is a sad statistic that many of the international students who come to faith in Europe stop following Jesus when they return home. Come to this seminar to discuss what can be done to help returning students (or what you can do as a returning student) to continue growing in their (your) faith when returning home.

Originally from the mountains of Montana in the US, Kevin and his wife serves with International students in Israel with the Fellowship of Christian Students in Israel (FCSI) - the IFES movement in Israel. He is passionate about all of the people of the Middle East. Kevin and his wife will welcome/welcomed their first child in December 2017.