Berlin, Germany

Dec 16, 2021

NEW HIVE church planting in partnership with IBC Berlin

Are we a church, only when we are awake and active at Sunday worship services? Could our everyday lived-out experiences — our wake and sleep — altogether also be part of us being church and at worship?

There are nearly 400,000 international students in Germany (2018/19). A report in 2019 revealed that approximately 41% of those drop out. Being an international student or a young professional in Germany is a mixed bag of joy, hope, fear, challenges, and strivings. At the same time, while many churches seek to be available on Sundays to minister and bring hope, many people are not coming to churches to benefit from it. A report in Berlin (2019) also revealed that at least 300 people died in loneliness in a year, and sometimes bodies remained unnoticed for weeks in their apartments.

Is it time for us now, as a church, to talk about bringing the church out to where people are — in the neighborhood and the marketplaces?

 This is where NEW HIVE church planting comes in!

NEW HIVE envisions bringing church into the marketplace. We aim to be physically present as a café-like church and reach out to the international students and young professionals in the city. There are three ministry aspects of NEW HIVE: intercultural pastoral care (disciple-making and nurturing), missionary work (bringing the good news to people), and church planting (establishing a physical presence as a church).

What does NEW HIVE stand for?

‘NEW HIVE’ is an acronym of the vision and its expressions that is nurturing, empowering, worshipping as the vision and hospitality, incarnational, visionary, experimental as the expression and means to the vision. At NEW HIVE we all serve as missionaries and ministers of the gospel; encouraging, empowering, and promoting one another to present and represent the gospel of Christ using our professional skills, passions, and spiritual gifts.

 Why a café?

It could be anything — a fitness studio, restaurant, or bicycle workshop, for example. It is not only about ‘what we are doing’ or ‘how we are doing ministry’, but also about ‘why we are doing this ministry.

t is all about incarnationalbeing church and doing church — by coming alongside people where they are. Much of our pastoral care and missionary work at NEW HIVE occurs over cups of coffee. A cup of coffee is not just a drink, but it represents many things — availability, hospitality, fellowship, lifestyle, and community building. A cup of coffee is a way of lowering the barriers of entry to organic relationships and to start going to church. A cafe is a place of order and creativity. It brings out the artist, the poet, and the preacher of a person. It also opens the door and empowers congregation members to be able to serve with us as missionaries.

 Where do we discern the Lord at work?

In September 2020, my wife and I began as church planting residents at the International Baptist Church, Berlin, Germany. There, we were given the opportunity to serve among young adults and international students. We began by starting small groups, and currently, we have three weekly small groups. There are approximately 40+ people from various backgrounds (including non-Christian friends) connecting with us through the groups. We have the privilege to witness five of our small-group members baptized recently. Today, the weekly small groups are led by new leaders emerging within the groups, while my wife and I come alongside to support them and invest our role in pastoral care, teaching, and building relationships in planting a church.

How can you participate?

Without having a physical place of our own in the marketplace, the vision and functions of NEW HIVE are thwarted and incomplete. Day after day, new people are introduced, and more and more friends step up to serve, but we do not have a place yet to welcome them.

There are several ways that you can support our work.  We still need financial support for the café start-up (renovation costs and inventory such as an espresso machine and tables and chairs).  We are also looking for those who wish to join us as a missionary or to help support a missionary working with us. 

If you are interested in more information about NEW HIVE, please contact us at

Suanlian Tonsing

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