Exciting times for church planting in Croatia.

By August 18, 2005

Croatia (MNN) — One ministry’s staff in Croatia are going to be out of a job if things going the way they have been. But that’s a good thing for the World Bible Translation Center, because it means the indigenous Croatian believers are leading in evangelism and church planting efforts.

WBTC’s Gary Bishop tells about a Croatian attorney who gave up his practice in order to be a leader in planting churches. He radically altered his life to be part of the effort to grow the church in Croatia. It’s stories like these that are exciting to WBTC, says Bishop, “As the people of a language group or a people group take over ministry responsibilities and administration themselves, it has a tremendous impact within their own people group or country.”

In effect, WTBC staff are trying to work themselves out of a job, in a sense, as the indigenous people take over the prime evangelism and church planting roles.

The role of WBTC staff then, will be a support role, providing resources, methods, training and helping financially. They’ll continue to provide the Easy-To-Read translation of the Bible for ministry outreach.

Bishop says the indigenous work is what excites WBTC staff, and the future of Croatia’s church is one of those things: “We’re seeing right now the planting of 4 new churches by this group, and I think their goals are the important ones, and in the next few years, they expect to plant 10 new churches within Croatia.”

For years in that Soviet-controlled state, the church was not allowed to exist. So several generations of people are without a knowledge of God and His love. They’re not familiar with the church and how it can impact and change people’s lives.

WBTC and the indigenous churches have the vision to bring the reality of Christ’s love manifested through His people. But people are open, says Bishop, and the church is growing, “So we’re starting with almost a blank sheet a paper, relative to the church getting going and having a practical impact in the lives of people in places like Croatia.”

Many people in Croatia are still dealing with the impact of war that plagued the country for years. Pray for healing from the lingering effects of war, that God’s people will bring hope and healing in Jesus.

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