New Church Plant in North Macedonia
New Church Plant in North Macedonia
The Baptist Union of North Macedonia includes only a few congregations and the most prominent is “Good News” Baptist Church in Skopje. During the last 15 years it has grown significantly and developed multifaceted ministry, being also a mother church to the new church plant in Strumica.
The Republic of North Macedonia is an independent country on the Balkan Peninsula, southeastern Europe. It emerged from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and two years later was admitted to the United Nations. The capital is Skopje, with 500 thousand inhabitants, and the total population of Macedonia is about 2 million citizens.
According to the 2002 census 64% of the total population declared themselves Macedonians and 25% - Albanians. Smaller ethnic minorities are: Turks - 4%, Roma – 2,5%, Serbs - 2% and others – 2,5%. The majority (70%) of the population belongs to the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Muslims comprise about 28% and other Christian denominations (including Protestants) – about 1%.
Baptists in North Macedonia
The Baptist Union in Macedonia includes only a few congregations. The most prominent “Good News” Baptist Church of Skopje was founded in 1959 by an indigenous missionary Grozdanov. In the 70ties of the 20th century dr. Ivan Grozdanov took over the pastorate from his father. The oldest congregation is in Radovish, as it was started at the end of 19th century. The communist regime of Yugoslavia hampered any evangelistic activities, but serious obstacles were also caused by natural disasters: a devastating flood in 1962 and an earthquake which totally demolished the city one year later.
The current pastor, Marko, represents the third generation of the Grozdanovs in ministry. Marko and his wife Tina had studied theology in Osijek (Croatia) and at IBTS in Prague (Czech Rep) earning an MTh degrees. The Skopje Baptist Church, during the last 15 years has grown significantly and developed multifaceted ministry. Its effective methods of evangelism include the local version of Alpha-course and the Internet forum focused on faith. The ministry of publishing and distributing Christian literature has been particularly important. The church runs a public bookstore near the University of Skopje and regularly takes part in an annual national book fares.
Church Planting Project “Radostna Vest” in Strumica
An indigenous church planter Dimitar works diligently towards establishing a new congragation among the people of Strumica which is 120 km distant from the mother church in Skopje. Actually it is a revitalization ministry as there had been a church before but closed about 25 years ago. Dimitar has been targeting at new generation of people that may be open to the gospel. He wrote in his recent reports:
Our church in Strumica has services on Thursday and Sunday. I preach most of the time and some members are also actively involved in the ministry. The Thursday Bible classes gather about 10 people. We had started with topical lessons which later changed into the New Testament studies. We went through the Book of Acts, and then also the Gospel ofJohn. Sunday services are also held regularly. At these services we have worship, preaching, and sometimes people share their testimonies. About 20 people attend Sunday services, of which 15 are members. There are also guests almost every week who visit us. Occasionally guest preachers from other Baptist churches visit us. Besides that I meet with some young people informally. We have also developed friendly contacts with other evangelical churches in Strumica.
I am greatly encouraged seeing people grow spiritually. This has resulted in a baptism of one person in September. Our goal is to reach out to the younger generation. We plan to start home groups with hope that people in the fellowship may draw closer and invite others. We have in our agenda to be more active in social work. I'm in the second year of studies at the Baptist Theological School in Novi Sad, Serbia.
As a church, we see God's mercy and love as guiding us and making us grow, build, and stand firm in the faith. After a period of serious pandemic restrictions on church services, we have now returned to Bible classes on Thursday, gathering about 10 people. We just ended elaborating on 1 Corinthians and now started the Epistle to Ephesians. Sunday services regularly gather about 20 attendees. We faced the Covid virus which forced several changes on our church, like: keeping a safe distance and wearing face masks. We also have many virtual meetings through Zoom etc. Despite the limitations, brothers and sisters are eager to be in worship and prayer together. Several young people get together for youth meetings.
We pray for wisdom in this time of crisis. I am thankful to God for my health because I am recovered after a serious infection from Covid. Many brothers and sisters prayed and God answered our prayers, so now I am fine and back to usual ministry. I am also very grateful to the people who continually pray for us and help us. Your support enables me to devote more time to the congregation.
- Pray that the Macedonians may be open to hear and learn about the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the further maturing and growth of local young leaders, who may be involved in the mission in the future.
- Pray for good cooperation among local and international Christians to support the ministry through prayer, contacts and long-term partnerships.
Planting new churches together!
For the glory of God!