European Baptists have planted 150 new churches in 10 years

European Baptists have planted 150 new churches in 10 years

text: Klaus Rösler, photo: Michael Gruber - October 11, 2012

B e r l i n - Through the church planting program IMP (Indigenous Mission Partnership) of the European Baptists, 150 churches with 7,000 members have been planted, primarily in Eastern Europe. This was announced by the coordinator of the work, Daniel Trusiewicz (Breslau, Poland) at the Council of the European Baptist Federation (EBF), which took place from September 26-29 in Elstal near Berlin. The program supports indigenous church planters for five years, during which the financial aid decreases every six months following a start-up period. At this time, the program benefits 60 church planters in 25 countries, who minister to 2,500 new members, said Trusiewicz.

The EBF issued a unanimous statement honoring the 10-year existence of the work. The work is a sign of obedience to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, as it is found in the Bible. “Church plantings are a sign of the Risen Christ’s presence in our world,” to quote the statement directly. Trusiewicz was confirmed for five more years in his office. As he said, the project was heavily subsidized by Baptist unions in the USA in the beginning. But in recent years, more and more European Baptist unions have contributed to the financing, with the result that the share of support from the USA has fallen from 60 percent to 20 percent of the annual budget. A church planter in the Netherlands has recently joined the project, but he desires no financial support. “For him, it’s a matter of belonging to the network and finding prayer supporters,” said Trusiewicz.

On the occasion of the anniversary, the EBF had the work reviewed by a commission. Its leader, Michael Kisskalt (Elstal near Berlin), a German missiologist, found strengths and weaknesses. He praised especially the fact that every church planting had a social project connected to it, which supported the locals and increased the credibility of the Christian witness. On the negative side, he pointed out that the church model was heavily marked by the Baptist tradition of having a mother church plant a daughter church, which is still very successful in many places. Nevertheless, the Partnership is now encouraged to explore new, modern ways of planting churches - for example through engaging people in conversations about God through art or music.