Baptist mission in Hungary
The European Baptist Federation (EBF) is partnering Baptists in Hungary to support several exciting church plants, Daniel Trusiewicz reports
A typical EBF Mission Partnerships church plant is located in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. But this time the focus is on the mission work in Central Europe. It is very good that the EBF can encompass diversity and provide opportunity for missional cooperation.
Baptists in Hungary
Hungary is inhabited by about 10 million citizens and nearly two thirds of the population confesses allegiance to a church, but only about 10% practice their faith.
There are also several ethnic minorities including the Germans, Jews, Mongols, Roma, Romanians, and Slovaks.
The Baptist faith arrived to Hungary thanks to Johann Gerhard Oncken who had influenced Janos Rottmayer while in Hamburg. Rottmayer and his mission team were sent back in May 1846 with the purpose of spreading the gospel which became a milestone in the history of the newly founded Hungarian Baptist Mission.
The Baptist mission work in Hungary has successfully continued until ever since. There are now about 12,000 Baptists in the country.
The EBF is partnering with the Baptist Union of Hungary to support several indigenous church planters who regularly deliver reports that include some fascinating stories. They organize exciting evangelistic activities, initiate a follow up
personal contacts with new people, perform baptisms of new believers etc. Here are some excerpts from their recent reports:
Zoltan, church planter in Torokbalint:
“A number of new people have come and some have been attracted to stay. One of them is Adam who was baptized last autumn. He now enthusiastically influences many of his friends and invites them to church.
Last autumn together with the Hungarian Baptist Aid we organized an outreach event in the local sport arena that ended up with a concert by Christian musicians. Many people had an opportunity to hear the Good News which touched them very much. We are planning to do similar events in future.
I personally managed to initiate evangelistic contacts with at least 10 new people. I continue to meet with them regularly and we talk about our lives in the light of Bible teaching. There are plans to develop a follow up through one on one meetings and house groups which eventually results in mature commitment and increasing support to leadership team.
Our ministry is done in cooperation with the mother church from Budaors. Since the distance is not far so an increasing number of people attend the services and the network of contacts has been widening.”
Atilla, church planter in Tatabanya:
“In summer of 2016 we again had a baptismal service, as Nikoletta publically confirmed her faith and joined our fellowship. Another joyful event was the dedication service of a new born child. Even greater joy for us was that the mother of that child understood the essentials of faith and surrendered her life to the Lord. This happened in a meeting where we usually discuss the basic truths of the Bible.
The most committed core of the fellowship are 12 persons, and each of them prays for 10 other persons they would like to reach with the Gospel. Our team gained a new co-worker!
Livia does practical tasks with regard to new contacts and spiritual counselling of women. We also provide a practical training for one theological student who is currently doing his practicum with us. He sometimes preaches on Sundays, leads the midweek Bible studies and is involved in the social work.
This year we have been discussing the balance between evangelism and discipleship in order to improve our ministry. We consider the evangelism a matter of life style versus single events and emphasize the value of personal evangelism.
Our regular meetings happen three times a week: a Sunday Service, a midweek house group with Bible study and a leadership meeting for planning and evaluation of our performance. In addition there are also one on one meetings between leaders and members or inquirers. The fellowship is comprised of 9 baptized members and 10 other persons associated with the fellowship as well as 10 children.”
Tsevel, church planter among Mongolian migrants:
“The Mongolian speaking church in Budapest was started in 2006. It happens that I am the only ordained Mongolian pastor in Europe who can preach the gospel in that language.
There are about 20 thousand of Mongolians in Western Europe. Besides Budapest there are significant Mongolian Christian groups in Czech Republic (Prague, Ostrava), in Austria (Linz, Vienna), in England (London, Manchester), also in France, Switzerland and Sweden. They have developed a network and meet for annual conferences.
The free Christian activity in Mongolia has been developing since 1991 when Mongolia became independent from the former communist rule. There are now about 600 local congregations in Mongolia with the total of about 50 thousand members and the typical in Europe denominations are not existent there.
My family comes from the Buddhist background. In 2000 I went to a Christian church for the first time in my life and the contact person was a school mate of my daughter. Five years later I and my wife went to Mongolia after being absent there for about 15 years and visited a Christian church which had a tremendous influence on us. Eventually we both became Christians by submitting our lives to Christ. Until then we had not known any Christians in Mongolia.
After returning to Budapest we started a home group and one year later a Mongolian church was established. Soon after that we invited a Christian pastor from Mongolia who spent about one month in Hungary ministering among his kinsmen.
Thanks to that hundreds of them heard the gospel and many became Christians. My goal is to reach out to the Mongolian immigrants with the gospel and establish more churches that will be like refuge to our people who often feel perplexed and lonely.”
Pray that the new church plants in Hungary will continue growing strong.
Pray that the Christians will reach out successfully to other people.
Pray that the mission work among Mongolian people will make progress.
Daniel Trusiewicz is the European Baptist Federation Mission Coordinator. This report first appeared on the website of the European Baptist Federation and is used with permission.