Leadership Profile: Hannelore Illgen, Women’s Ministry, Prayer Warrior, Evangelist, Germany

Q. Please tell us about your family.
A.
For forty years I have been married to a freelance graphic designer. We have three children, two of whom are married. I was a primary school teacher and have worked in this profession for twenty-six years. I belong to the Pentecostal Church and live in northern Germany.

Q. Please give us a brief overview of your work and ministry.
A. For the past thirty years I have been involved in women’s ministry, starting with a meeting for young mothers in my church. I became familiar with AGLOW International, a charismatic movement among women, and was involved on all levels of leadership for twenty years. I am now chairing the women’s ministry, called “Women with Vision,” of my Pentecostal denomination. I am also coordinating the women’s branch of the European Pentecostal Fellowship (PEF-Women), a network of fifty European Pentecostal movements.

  

From 2000 to 2008 I chaired Filia—Christian Forum for Women in Germany, a German expression of the European Evangelical Alliance and The Lausanne Movement. We held nationwide days of prayer and two big evangelistic days for women, where we reached many thousands in my nation.

I am the first female on the board of my Pentecostal denomination and am co-publisher of my denomination’s national publication.

I also work in different networks for prayer and evangelisation. These include “Jesus Day”; a prayer-chain before Easter for social, political, and spiritual needs in our nation; and an initiative to impact our nation from a Christian worldview on our national celebration day (3 October). On the European level, I am a member of the steering committee of “Women in Leadership,” a branch of Hope for Europe, a European expression of the European Evangelical Alliance and the Lausanne Movement.

Q. What is your favorite thing to do in ministry?
A. I like to facilitate new challenges. In my nation, this means reaching out to Turkish women with the gospel. It started in 2009 with an invitation to hold an evangelistic women’s day in Istanbul/Turkey, a first in this nation. Across Europe, I enjoy motivating women in every Pentecostal movement for creative, evangelistic outreaches for women. I also enjoy networking.

Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life/ministry, and why?
A.
Betty (from the U.S.), who was called to establish AGLOW International in Europe and especially in Germany at the end of the 1970s. When I did not see my gifts and calling, she did. Her prayers, spiritual training, and encouragement laid the foundation for everything that followed in my life.


 Evangelism. On Point.

Q. Please describe a time in which you
shared your faith in Christ with someone
who didn’t know him, and then saw God
clearly work in that situation.

A. I was a young mother and had contact
with other young mothers because I was
working as a teacher. We saw some come
to Christ through personal witnessing and
an evangelistic meeting for women (a
breakfast meeting, for example). In one
case, years after sharing my testimony,
one woman came to a meeting and
received Christ. This also changed her
family; her son is now studying to become
a pastor!

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
A.
It actually came from the Holy Spirit, when I had to face a new challenge in leadership: I don’t have to be perfect, and will grow through practising. Betty also helped me to love my nation, which until only recently has not been self-evident in my generation due to our history. Only when you love your nation can you minister to it.

Q. What one issue do you believe is the greatest barrier or opportunity to evangelism, and why?
A.
There are three: a lack of Christ’s love, a lack of relationships with unbelievers, and a self-centeredness in not only our personal lives, but also in our churches and denominations. I have seen how God sometimes comes into this “circle“ and throws persons into the harvest field. For if he didn’t, no one else would!

Q. What book do you most often recommend to others to read, and why?
A.
I mostly like to read biographies of Christian leaders. They inspire me, and I can identify with them in certain areas of their struggle and leadership. So I often say, “Read the biography of Billy Graham, or… how he faced…“

Q. What would you like to be doing in five years?
A.
In the coming years I would like to give over each one of my responsibilies to persons who are visionaries like myself and can bring forth new things for the sake of growing the Kingdom of God. Concerning Lausanne in Germany, I would like to bring in young leaders from my denomination (there are none at the Lausanne Round Table!), because the Pentecostal leadership still does not see the necessity of the Lausanne network.

Q. How can people be praying for you?
A. Because I am so busy in many areas (including helping out my husband), I need to know how to best divide my time, where to set priorities, in what areas to delegate, wisdom not to overburden myself with too much vision, and that my health remains well. I am thankful for every prayer!