Headlines from First Thoughts

Thursday, September 20, 2007

After 1700 years, New Life Begins

(Here I am teaching with the help of a translator in the sanctuary of the Baptist Church)

(above: Matthew Evans and Scott Moore visit in the fellowship room of the Baptist Church in Split)

Churches in Split have been around longer than most European nations. In the early 300's the
earliest Christians established a foothold amidst (or possibly because of) the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution. When Diocletian died, the church took over his masoleum and turned the facility into a cathedral. Those early days of Christianity have long since been subsumed under the restrictions of religion, but now new life springs forth like the water from an Artesian well.

Fifteen years ago, the church-- and most of the country of Croatia-- had died. The prospect of war and the oppression of religiosity squelched the spirit. Out of the ravages of war, new believers emerged. Now some 400 believers populate a small number of churches you could count on two hands. All this in a region with a population of 400,000.

Two of these churches are Baptist, and I spoke in a church that will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Christmas Day. Fifteen believers gathered tonight to discuss the topic "Reaching the Unreached in Split." Using the basic principles of building relationships for Jesus Christ, I described what we have learned about how a relationship with Jesus affects relationships with non-believers. Most of those in attendance were men in their 20s and 30s. Can you imagine a church in America having 10-15 young adult men talking about evangelism on a Thursday night? They stayed for 2 hours, asked great questions, and return tomorrow night.


Miroslav said...

Dear Bill, I just returned home from your lecture and tried to find your church online - and lo! I found it :)

Thank you very much for your time and effort, as well as for your church to send you to Croatia to serve us! I enjoyed your teaching and can't wait to implement it into evangelism.

Miroslav B-F
"Emanuel" Baptist Church, Split

Hosted by Bill Shiell said...

It was great to be with you and the fine people in Split. I am so exicted about all that God is doing through you...right now. God bless you in all your work.

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