Did you ever have the feeling that you wanted to be a part of something bigger than yourself …that you wanted to do something that would make a real difference? That was exactly the conversations engaged in as members of our headquarters staff met with the OMS Hungary team for a time of casting vision and sharing strategies a few weeks ago. What could we do to make a lasting change so that individuals we meet would be transformed by the truth of Jesus and become passionate disciple-makers?
A team was assembled from OMS headquarters that included professionals in ministry and business, with backgrounds in executive leadership, strategy formation, coaching, leadership development and ministry strategy. The goal of this team was to visit with and support our fields and help them whatever way we can in their ministry strategy planning. Our team in Hungary carved out a week for us to get together and review where their ministry is currently, where we felt God was leading us, and how we can continue to improve our impact to make disciple-makers in this nation. It was a powerful time of sharing dreams, goals, and new ideas.
The history of Christianity in Hungary does not make disciple-making very easy. Many Hungarians already consider themselves Christian. The reality is that many have grown up in Christian homes but very few understand what it means to have a dynamic relationship with Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. This has left younger generations to question the validity of the church and many have walked away, finding this kind of cultural Christianity unable to fill the deep void in their spirit. Since they are turned off of the church, the challenge is to demonstrate an authentic faith in Christ.
One strategy we are using is to find areas of interest or need as a bridge to the Gospel. For example, learning English is something that young Hungarians are interested in and our missionary team has developed English camps and clubs that not only provide English learning, but an opportunity to ask questions about life and to understand the truth of the Gospel.
Many of our ministries, such as teaching English, are done in partnership with local Evangelical churches who themselves are working to transform lives. Another strategy that has been developed is to work to engage 20% of the members of these churches who are willing and able to live out their faith by reaching their communities. One interview that we had was with a leader of a local denomination. He explained that many rural towns are without a church even though these communities would be very open to having one. In partnership together, we are working to plant a small church in a town the denomination has identified and community members are already participating. A new disciple-making initiative is being developed by OMS Hungary that will help this denomination to not only increase its membership, but to have active followers of Christ reaching their communities.
Other strategies that we are considering combine compassion projects and business opportunities to make disciples as well. Overall, we were very encouraged by the vision, passion and innovation that has energized our Hungary ministry. One of the members of our team mentioned, “Over my many years in business it was always encouraging to work with a team that was talented, engaging and passionate. I feel the same about this Hungary team. We will continue to pray that their innovative ministry strategies will transform lives through a dynamic faith in Christ.”
– By Rich Danzeisen, Executive Director, OMS International Ministries