church planting in hungary

“The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and on those who sit in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned.”— Matthew 4:16

Mission: We seek to glorify God by initiating and facilitating evangelistic and discipleship ministries that empower Hungarians to lead a dynamic church planting movement.

The following film gives a few testimonies and an overview of our ministry in northeastern Hungary:




Our vision is to saturate Heves County with the gospel of Jesus Christ and leave Heves County with equipped Hungarian leaders who would faithfully carry out their callings in their families, their local churches, their local communities and beyond.

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Heves County is the North Eastern county of Hungary. It is estimated that there are less than 2% evangelical Christians in Heves County. These are poorer areas of Hungary where many families work 50-60 hours a week and struggle to make ends meet. Dysfunctional families are prominent, with high divorce rates, live-in boyfriends as fathers, alcoholism, and a lack of loving attention and hope given to children. There is rampant depression, family feuds that last generations and utter loneliness. Heartless religious ritual, atheism, communism and the occult have firmly influenced the ideas and beliefs in this region.

Our current church planting work is in the village of Petofibanya (see map above) in Heves County located 65 kilometers Northeast of Budapest. In partnership with Hungarians, our team is seeking to participate in a church planting movement in the 111 cities, small towns and villages like Petofibanya that are scattered throughout Heves County.

Why Heves County?

It is our desire to serve as churchplanters in communities that have the least opportunity to hear the gospel with the greatest spiritual need. Heves County was brought to our attention in the summer of 2002 by György Kovács (left). Our team was invited to work with three young churchplanters in three seperate towns in Heves County. Each of these three Hungarian church planters had very limited support and asked Pioneers Team Hungary to consider ways in which we could commit to strengthening their church planting work.

After considering their needs and praying for wisdom, the Mercers were led to leave Budapest and move to the small town of Petofibanya to join Miki and Erika Fülöp (below left) in their church planting work throughout Heves Megye.

What are you doing?

Allen is the team leader of the Heves County Church Planting Team which is a unified body of PIONEERS missionaries and Hungarian Christians that are committed to church planting. Allen also serves in leadership development, mentoring and evangelism in various ministries.

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Above L to R: Heves County CP team top row: Dezso & Marcsi, Erika & Miki (Hungarian national partners), Brenda Herhei. Bottom row: Roger & Heidi Woo, Allen & Sharon Mercer.

Ministries

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Children’s Play House


Children’s Play House presents a Bible story through creative teaching, crafts, songs, games, and verse memorization. We can connect with families in the community and teach the Bible on a regular basis to children through this ministry. Most of the children who attend our church came to know us through Játszóház! We also use this ministry as a way to introduce ourselves in new communities where we seek to continue church planting.



VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL


With the help of local church members, Pioneers members and other volunteers, we held our first Vacation Bible School in 2006 reaching out to Petofibanya and the surrounding villages of Selyp, Lorinci and Zagyvaszántó.

Every summer, we present the gospel and important Biblical themes throughout the week with crafts, games and story telling. We also invite parents to attend the last day of VBS, where they also participate in games, songs and an evangelistic Bible study. For many of them, this is their first introduction to the gospel and to our church.



EVANGELISTIC PUPPET MINISTRY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS


Every Christmas and Easter, our team travels to more than 25 schools (see red dots below) to present a puppet and drama production to over a thousand children from age three to sixteen!



As we visit these schools twice a year, we estimate that we can deliver the gospel sixteen times to each child as they progress from preschool to high school. By God’s grace, many of these seeds will take root and help establish the next generation in their faith in Jesus Christ.

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English Classes and Camp


We use English as a Second Language (ESL) community classes to establish new relationships that break through all age barriers. Our classes include an optional English Bible study (above) which has given many the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ without compromise. This study has led students to join a beginners’ Bible study small group or attend church for the first time.



Above: Every summer, we participate in NMJA’s ten day Evangelistic English Camp that attracts teens and young adults from various regions of Hungary. Each of the ten days are designed to maximize english learning and to clearly communicate the gospel message.

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Teen Outreach


We initiated a sports ministry in 2006, renting Petofibanya’s public middle school gym every Friday night. Through this outreach we were able to develop relationships with hard to reach teens whose weekend options are often limited to parties or roaming the streets. We seek to be male role models in teen’s lives that are most often missing fathers or missing respected male leadership in their lives. Soon after the Sports Ministry we also initiated a Game Room open to teens in the local community center. We divide the time to allow for some fun together, relationship building and simply providing a safe place for the kids. We also utilize the second hour of our time for evangelistic teaching and presentations.

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Above: In 2012 we were invited to teach the 7th and 8th graders ethics class in Petofibanya’s public school. We praise God for this open door to bring the light of the gospel and truth of God’s word into these teens lives.

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Bible studies


Bible studies are an integral part of our evangelistic and discipleship ministries. We often follow up larger events and programs like ESL with invitations to various Bible studies that we host in our homes. We find that many are willing to step into a house group Bible study before they set foot into a church.

We have seen God’s work in steadily transforming people’s lives as they discover for themselves the good news He proclaims through His word. In many cases, this is the first time they have studied God’s word with an intent to find answers applicable to their lives...answers found in Christ alone.

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Leadership Training


Embedded in our vision statement are the important words: “...empower Hungarians to lead a church planting movement.” We are in prayer and on the lookout for those God is raising up to become leaders in the church. We are committed to mentorship where we seek to live as examples, teach God’s word, serve side by side, and entrust various aspects of ministry to emerging leaders that God has raised by His grace.

In this way we seek to entrust leadership to other faithful people, who will then in turn be competent to mentor other emerging leaders as well. (2 Tim 2:2)