Tom’s role in the founding of The Chateau of Saint Albain in France was highlighted, and Nicolas Alphonso, the new Director of the Chateau, was there to help link the past legacy with the new one. The dinner was a wonderful evening for everyone in attendance.
Tom Julien is a graduate of Bob Jones University and Grace Theological Seminary. With his late wife, Doris, he served as a missionary in France for 28 years. During this time the Juliens opened the Chateau of Saint Albain, which has become a center for evangelism, training, and church planting. From 1986–2000, Julien was Executive Director of Grace Brethren International Missions (Now Encompass World Partners). He is currently involved in leadership training and serves on the staff of his local church. He is the author of a number of books, including Antioch Revisited and Seizing the Moment.
When Tom and Doris Julien went to France in 1958, the situation was bleak. Their early experiences with evangelistic activities led them to two important conclusions. First, there was a gap between the missionaries and the French people. Second, the traditional evangelistic methods were not bridging this gap. In fact, they were creating more barriers. Tom believed they needed to shine a light on God’s work of transforming hearts, so that people could not only hear a message, but see that message incarnate. They needed a bridge, not a barrier. They prayed, and God eventually led them to the Chateau.
After several years of seeing very little fruit, Tom began searching for a property where he could develop a ministry similar to that of Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri in Switzerland. Eventually, Tom found a massive, rundown, concrete-and-stone facility on a four-acre lot dating back to the 14th century. Julien negotiated and bought the Chateau property in 1964 for $28,000. The Juliens moved into the Chateau and opened its doors to traveling young people and local youth.
The ultimate goal of the Chateau was to plant new churches. It was to be a bridge, not only between Christians and non-Christians, but also between the initial converts and the churches to which they would eventually belong. The Julien’s desire was to get as many people as possible to the Chateau. They created an atmosphere of welcome and friendship for all, regardless of background. Since 1968, many young people have come from the U.S. and other countries to minister at the Chateau during the summer months. Several missionaries who have joined Encompass World Partners in the years since were a part of these young teams.
Through the years, the Chateau of St. Albain has endured. Today, the Chateau is still being used by Christian groups as a conference center and continues its strong Christian witness in the Burgundy region. Currently, major renovations are planned for the Chateau, to align with new government-issued accessibility guidelines and to make the center even more attractive, so that every guest will feel welcomed. Dinners such as the one honoring Tom Julien are being held around the U.S. to help raise the $300,000 needed for these renovations.
Tom Julien’s life has impacted many people, and the Chateau is a significant part of that legacy. This timely award is a symbol of how that legacy will be carried on into the future.
This video was made a the 2014 FellowShift FGBC National Conference to commemorate the impact Tom Julien has had in people’s lives.