In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
In Austria you can see a big cross on every mountain top. Most people are proud of that tradition and like arriving at the cross at the end of a long hike. However, that is about all the connection they have with the cross. Even in rural areas where traditions are stronger, people no longer feel connected to their grandparent's religion. Most people don't own a Bible and have never read the Bible for themselves. At the same time, we sense an openness that wasn't there even fifteen years ago. There is a longing for spiritual depth and for inner peace. Mostly people assume that churches of any kind won't have the answers they are looking for. We want to create a welcoming place where men, women and children can ask questions and get to know our never-changing God.
We are partnering with local Christians in a rural mountain valley in Tyrol, Austria. Together we are re-building the local church in this Region. This is the only free church in a county with over 30,000 people. In 1982 a group of Christians started a congregation in Reutte, Austria. The church grew through personal evangelism and Bible study home groups. But, due to various factors, the community shrunk until it was only a few members. This is a microcosm of Europe on the whole. We want to reverse this trend, through teaching the Word in a relevant way that modern people can understand, and by being personally available for people in practical ways.
One of the ways we serve is through Royal Rangers, a Christian scouting ministry. We offer a safe and fun environment where kids age 4-12 can play outside, learn about God's creation, and build relationships with Christians. Our two boys join us in this ministry. They look forward to the Rangers meetings and to earning their next badge. Rangers is a way that we can serve the community. About half the participants come from families who otherwise don't attend the church.
We also continue to support churches across Austria to develop their holistic refugee ministry and provide leadership training for refugees so that they too can go out and invite others into a relationship with God. We have current and former students serving in churches in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck as well as several smaller towns.
You and your church can join us in this vital ministry. Will you partner with a regular gift so that we can continue to bring Jesus to the people of Austria?
Everyone should have a church where they can worship God and grow in their understanding of Christ.
That is the reason why the ministry in Reutte, Austria is so important. The next Austrian free church is an hour away over a narrow mountain pass. The people of Reutte deserve to hear the Gospel where they live.
Our vision is to build up the local believers, and encourage them to serve through their gifting. Share the Gospel in the surrounding valleys, and start home groups in each of the five valleys of Reutte. Eventually, our goal is to empower the local church to lead and support itself without support from outside churches.
There are no shortcuts to local church ministry. By grace, the church will grow through long term faithful ministry. This is a process of years of work and prayer. We are very thankful for your partnership in this ministry, and for your faithfulness over the long term.
We have already followed this model in Salzburg. Together with a local church, we built up a Christian community where Farsi speakers worship and study the Bible in their own language and enjoy Christian fellowship. This is the only Farsi language congregation in the province. People travel from over a dozen towns and from over 100 km to attend.
We emphasized discipleship and learning to follow Jesus in our daily life. Our Farsi language discipleship courses bring us to Jesus and teach us what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We discipled hundreds of new believers and trained dozens of people to serve in the church. In 2019 after 10 years of investing in the church we were able to officially hand the ministry over to the next generation. Since handing over this ministry to the young Afghan and Iranian leaders, the congregation continues to flourish and now has an online ministry serving Farsi speakers in over ten countries.