Serbia - new mission initiative
Serbia - new mission initiative
The Baptists in Serbia are experiencing a new initiative for mission which brings much encouragement to local Christians and is excellent testimony for the gospel. This ministry also builds bridges among the different ethnic groups in the country.
Baptists in Serbia
The ministry of the Baptist churches in Serbia can be traced back to the second half of 19 century. The oldest are congregations in Novi Sad (1875), Belgrade (1882) and Backi Petrovac (1897). The Baptist missionary efforts took place mainly in the Vojvodina region, north of the River Danube. The time between the two World Wars was very fruitful when most of the existing churches were established and the union itself was formed in Backi Petrovac (1922).
The period after the II World War was marked by communism which almost extinguished evangelistic work. After the fall of Yugoslavia and due to civil war in the early 90s, the Baptists of Serbia faced another challenge when thousands of refugees poured in. However amidst this crisis some additional opportunities emerged and new churches have come into existence since. Currently there are two Baptist unions: one in the North of this Balkan country and the other in the South.
The Baptists in Serbia are not numerous but very dedicated in spite that churches have little resources. They are determined in doing mission work to their best and often facing many obstacles in the predominantly Orthodox nation. There are about 70 local congregations and mission stations with the total membership of nearly two thousand.
Church Planting in Uljma
The EBF has facilitated a number of indigenous church planters in Serbia. Below are some excerpts from the reports from a couple Nenad and Dushanka Kalai who lead the mission work among the Roma people in Uljma, near the border with Romania. Pastor Avram Dega, the Baptist leader and mentor for this new initiative says: “Our goal is to introduce people to Christ through all we do and that they may grow in fellowship with the church!”
God has done some great things in Uljma until now! We started the ministry with kids in summer time which opened the door to many homes for the gospel! Another fruitful method to build bridges was a gospel dinner for about 40 people which we organized in cooperation with Luis Palau Association. This opened even more doors in Uljma as locals invited our mission team with ‘an Evange-Cube’, and the hearts of many were open for God’s word which resulted in starting a home group.
We continued working with about 20 children on Saturdays in a rented hall where we also hold our Sunday meetings. There is a team of five including both of us and another couple and pastor Avram. Before Christmas we managed to distribute about 150 shoe boxes which we got from the Samaritan Purse. We appreciate the help from our mother church in Vrsac and the union is very supportive too.
Now we organize a service every Sunday as well as a kids club. There are some new people coming on Sunday. On Wednesday evenings we study the Bible together and pray for one another as well as for our mission work. One new worker joined the kids club which is a great help. One Roma couple Sladjan and Minerva recently confessed their faith in the Lord and together with two others have asked to be baptized. Now we have 9 members and several children. Praise God!
This summer we again organized a camp for kids in Uljma. This time we did it with some Baptists from London and the cooperation was very fruitful. Last month I made evangelistic contacts with about 100 people mainly using the Evange-Cube which proves to be a helpful tool. I have also found out that going from door to door with the gospel presentation is a fruitful method among the Roma people. In result there are some new people attending our meetings.
This year we have baptized 4 persons and hope that before long several others will likewise profess their faith. God has showed us His grace and when looking back we are grateful for His multiple blessings.
- That God would prepare the hearts of people in Uljma for the gospel;
- That God would commission the Christians in Uljma for sharing the gospel;
- That God would build His church in Uljma and grant much wisdom to its leaders.
Your intercessory prayers for the Baptist mission in Serbia are priceless!
EBF Mission Coordinator
Planting new churches together! For the glory of God!