On our recent visit to Kosova we met a married couple who are church planting in Gjilan. It was humbling to be with them. They have intermitant support so they live very simply, depending on God. Though they are pioneers in the region, they were very humble. They were a powerful example to us. He was converted while working as a migrant in Athens and converted his family through his letters. His mother then started showing them to friends – kind of as tracts!
He was discipled by a man called Vaughan Golder. Vaughan felt God tell him Albania would open up. So he went to Kosova to learn Albanian so when, a few years later, communion in Albania collapsed he was ready. Many of the key leaders have been discipled by him.
He himself planted a church in the north of Albania before moving on to Kosova.
We asked for his advice. Here’s what he said.
1. Invest in people not programmes.
2. What impacts people is not just what you say, but what you do.
3. Something that worked well for someone else may not work well for me. I am tired of people claiming ‘this is the way to success’. The lessons we should learn from them is this: they heard from God how they should work in their situation and we need, too, to hear from God how we should work in our situation.
4. We asked Gregor how he encourages people to be led by the Spirit in ministry. He said: ‘First, start each day with prayer. Don’t go anywhere without prayer. Second, ask yourself, ‘What would Jesus do in this situation?’
Later we visited a church planting team in Macedonia. Again we asked what advice they had for us.
1. We must have an open heart. One of the team did not want to go at first, but God led him to mission in Macedonia.
2. ‘We should not love a style or technique, but the people, the culture, the ministry, the gospel.’
3. Find joy in the ordinary things.
4. ‘We need to live as Christians not just play at being Christians.’ The leader said he found it difficult at first to relate to unbelievers in the city because he had grown used to performing in church.
(I have deliberately omitted names because of the sensitivities of working in this region.)
If you would like to get involved in partnering with local churches to reach the Balkans then contact Brian Jose of Radstock: brian [at] radstock [dot] org, http://www.radstock.org.