Church-planting in Slovakia

Church-planting in Slovakia

Daniel Trusiewicz - September 16, 2008

The Baptist Union of Slovakia is an active descendent of the spiritual heritage of the radical Reformation. First Baptist Church in Slovakia was established in 1888 in Kezmarok. Today the Union is comprised of 24 congregations and 22 mission stations. The current population of Slovakia is roughly 5 million including, the Hungarian minority consisting of 10% of the total population.

During the Communist period, Baptist evangelism methods were mainly through personal relationships. Additionally, services and public events organised in church buildings, and the distribution of religious literature, were allowed.

After the collapse of the Communist system, Baptists were not sufficiently prepared to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the nation. Therefore, whereas some of the other church denominations grew in number, Baptists stagnated.

The Baptist Union President – Revd Tomas Kriska says: “Since 1994, the new missionary board has been set the goal of developing, coordinating and encouraging the spread of Baptist mission in Slovakia. The most important objectives for mission work remain: a) preparing and sending out new missionaries to those places where there is no mission work; b) raising and supporting itinerant evangelists who will distribute Bibles, Christian literature and offer correspondence courses in order to sow the Good News of Jesus Christ; c) researching the special requirements of certain areas of the Slovak Republic and building new community centres focused on fulfilling those needs;  d) equipping pastors and missionaries with new skills so that they can be more effective in their ministry to contemporary society; e) planting new churches in Slovakia.”

Let me introduce one church plant in Nove Zamky which is located in the south - western part of the country.

Church planting in Nove Zamky

The Nové Zámky Mission Station organised several successful events in the first half of 2008. English courses (beginner, intermediate and advanced) were offered from January until May, which culminated in an English weekend. The English weekend particularly gave the students an opportunity to build relationships with each other, as well as with members of the local church. There were over 40 attendees on the English weekend: students, church members and their friends.

The church planter Pal reports: “Some participants were moved to tears… One attendee expressed sorrow that her husband was babysitting and was not able to participate. She mentioned that she would like to come and visit the church on a Sunday also. It was a real encouragement to see people singing praise songs in three languages – Hungarian, Slovak, and English. Copies of “The Purpose-Driven Life” were distributed by church members. There was also one woman who expressed a wish to be baptized.”

The church plant of Nove Zamky meets regularly for Sunday worship and a Bible study group during the week. At the moment there are only five church members, but six additional families attend on a regular basis. The church also has a children’s ministry, and one of the church members is hoping to start a club working with young adults. There are plans to do organise outreach events in several neighbouring high schools. 

Training leaders is also important in Nove Zamky and the following Christian programs have been offered: Experiencing God; how to lead a small groups; a study on Acts and Romans, the theology of God; and ministry with children. Two of the church planting team have regularly attended these training sessions.

The pastor of the mother church in Poprad has encouraged his congregation to pray and provide some financial support for the church plant. The Slovak Baptist Union has also been active in supporting the new church plant.

The Nove Zamky church plant is planning on launching a marriage course in the autumn. They want to continue providing English lessons, leadership training and the Friday night Youth Club. They particularly would like to reach out to non-churched Slovaks.

I’m encouraging the readers of this newsletter to pray for the mission work in Slovakia.

In Christ,