Same Message, Different Methods
In a culture that sometimes seems to ignore Christianity, different approaches are a necessity.
By Earley Simon
In cities throughout Europe, sharing Jesus is a growing challenge. One of these countries in which it is challenging to share the claims of the gospel is the Czech Republic. Studies indicate that the Czech Republic is one of the most secular countries in the world. But Adventist groups here, and in other parts of Europe, are finding ways to connect with people in their communities.
The Path of Discipleship
INRI Road is a program that has enjoyed great success on college campuses since 2006. In the Czech Republic most people leave the church during their university years. INRI Road is a youth-driven program that allows youth to refuel their faith and gather for worship.
The letters INRI represent the Latin acronym that in English stands for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Roman soldiers nailed this inscription to the top of Jesus’ cross when He was crucified. INRI Road was developed as a path for young people to build a relationship with Jesus.
In the city of Brno a church specifically designed for INRI Road has weekly meetings. This group is mostly made up of area university students. They look forward to the fellowship and creative ways of worshipping God.
Blanca is a volunteer who helps prepare the weekly programs. “INRI Road is like my family. We know each other, we help each other, we support each other. Everyone has their own way, own life, own personalities; but we only have one God.”
Those who are a part of INRI Road are passionate about the programs, and feel strongly that this is an important part of their communities.
Pastor Marek Harastej, co-founder of the program, states the overall objective of INRI road: “We would like to help them to grow personally and spiritually, and become a strong part of our church in the future.”
INRI Road is one of several ministries throughout the Czech Republic that is passionate about bringing people to Jesus. It’s meant to reach three groups of people: members of the church are invited to get more involved in ministry, students from surrounding universities, and students’ families and friends.
Jakub, a university student, says, “I have the opportunity to serve others; to help others to find Jesus through INRI Road. I have the opportunity to establish new friendships.”
Another student, Vojta, explains, “We can invite our friends and tell them that we are believers, and it is normal for us.”
INRI Road fills the need of so many who seek a spiritual component to an increasingly hectic and secular pace of modern life. “I want to do something for God,” says Jana, “so I’m in INRI Road.”
Passionate About Sharing
Located in Portugal, the Vila Cha congregation is made up of mostly Africans who immigrated to that country.
This lively church loves coming together to worship each Sabbath. Their sounds of praise fill the neighborhood, and their pews are just as full. The members celebrate the great things God does in their lives each week. Music is a big part of their celebration.
Eli and his mother are active members of this church. Eli takes part in both Sabbath school and the worship service. Every week after church, members divide into groups and distribute literature, so others can learn about Jesus and perhaps visit their church. Both children and adults are excited to share with their neighbors what they know about Jesus.
They regard each paper they pass out as a chance for someone to develop a relationship with their heavenly Father. Eli and his friends have fun doing this. They enjoy talking with people and seeing their reactions to God’s message. They use this as an opportunity to talk with others about Jesus, some who have never known Him before.
The members also collect food to give to the families who live in the poor neighborhoods they visit. This simple act of kindness helps open doors and hearts and can lead to lasting friendships.
Members return to church at the end of the afternoon, where they report about their contacts, sing, and praise the Lord until evening. This congregation shows tremendous faith. They are not afraid to share their friend Jesus with others in their community.
Throughout Bulgaria the church has been making steady efforts to reach the Gypsy, or Roma, people. Bulgaria has many Roma communities. Almost 500,000 Roma live here, and the numbers continue to climb.
Milen Georgiev, secretary of the Bulgarian Union, shares the goal of the church in Bulgaria: To grow and to spread the gospel among many of this ethnic group. “We are seeing that Roma people are experiencing revival, the churches are working more intensively, and many people attend them.”
These Roma communities are open to God’s leading. They are hungry to learn the message and dedicate themselves to God. In the past few years the Adventist Roma churches have seen significant growth and expect to see more.
Please pray for the work being done in the Czech Republic, in Portugal, and in Bulgaria. Pray that God can use our dedicated members in each of these countries to share His message. Thank you for supporting the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Earley Simon is a video producer for Adventist Mission.
To learn more about these or other outreach initiatives, visit AdventistMission.org.