Baptist Mission in Serbia

Baptist Mission in Serbia

Daniel Trusiewicz - January 25, 2013

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 mainly north of Danube River, in the Vojvodina region. 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 early 90-ties, the Baptist Union of Serbia was faced yet with another challenge as thousands of refugees poured into Serbia. This presented some additional opportunities and several new churches have come into existence since.

Church Planting in Serbia (North)
The present vision for reaching the Serbian nation with the gospel was formulated under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Ondrej Franka and Rev. Dane Vidovic. The vision is to reach the Serbs for Christ by planting more congregations through indigenous missionaries. The goal for the existing churches is to grow into maturity and reproduce. 

Partnerships are vital part of this vision and its strategy. The union is grateful for the cooperation with EBF which enables the sending of indigenous church planters and gradually increasing the local support. 8 new churches have been started during the last 5 years in the following cities of Serbia: Belgrad, Kraljevo, Lalić, Ljuba, Obrenovac (Roma), Ruma, Srbobran, Vajska (Roma). There are 69 local congregations with the total membership of about 2 000.

The EBF has facilitated a number of indigenous church planters in Serbia. Here are some experts from their reports from the last 3 years of activity:

Church Plant in Ruma – Igor and Anita Urosevits
In 2010 our group has increased by 3 persons. We experienced the answer to our prayers for our friend Maja and her daughter Ana. They have been coming regularly over a year and Maja expressed a desire for baptism. Our evangelistic activities are mostly through the personal contacts, visits to our friends and church members (where we also meet new people), visits to the orphan children home, etc. This year we have regularly 16 people who attend our meetings.

In 2011 we had evangelistic events in connection with the humanitarian ministry which we organized together with the Bread of Life of Belgrade. We organized a fare for 7 days which gave us opportunity to talk to people about Christ and distribute New Testaments. This year we also had good cooperation with the home for disabled children. During the Christmas time we visited them and gave out presents as well as Christian books.

In 2012 several new people joined our fellowship and that was great joy for us. The children's work has been going very strong. Our Sunday school prepared a Christmas program of their own and visited the nearby congregation in Erdevik. This friendly church received us with open arms and we had great time together. After the summer camp we were able to start a separate group for teenagers.

Church Plant in Srbobran – Goran Cvetnarov
In 2010 we could see a small progress as one man came to faith and joined our group. He also expressed the desire to be baptized. We met twice a week: on Sunday in the ‘house of prayer’ in Srbobran and on Thursday in private home for a Bible study. Besides leading the meetings I also distributed the Christian literature (free of charge). I did it in markets and in front of supermarkets, etc. We were grateful for the church from Kisac which helped us financially to cover some costs of ministry.

In 2011 I distributed about 250 New Testaments to the people who were passing by. Thanks to that we had opportunity to make contacts with many new people. I started new group consisting of two families who met very regularly. The Good News Club has grown by a library with Christian books so that people can borrow and read them. The Alpha Course has worked as method of reaching out to some more people and introducing them to the basics of Christianity. In addition to that we showed Christian movies which was possible thanks to the appropriate technical equipment. We also plan to do a playground in order to draw some young couples with children.

In 2012 we started regular evangelistic Bible Studies. This opportunity brought some new people to hear God's Word even though they are not yet converted. However one woman, named Rosalia announced that she opened her heart to the Lord Jesus. She came regularly to our meetings. Special Christmas outreach started on December 18 and continued for two weeks. We were able to distribute the Samaritan Purse shoeboxes to the children up to 10 years old. These children came with the parents and we distributed to them Christian literature as well.

Prayer requests
Please, continue to pray for the Baptist Union of Serbia and opened doors of mission opportunities. Pray particularly for:
• The nation of Serbia with enormous social problems and growing poverty,
• The church planters: Igor, Goran, Stevan, Lukač, Jovica, Slavko and Miodrag,
• The Roma work which has its special demands and implications,
• The new church planters to be called to the mission field in South Serbia,
• The faithful cooperation with mission partners .

Daniel Trusiewicz
EBF Mission Coordinator