Writings of Branko's Blog

All around Central Europe

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Things You Can Do in Europe to Fight Human Trafficking [blog]

Today I learned about the European Freedom Network (EFN) of the European Evangelical Alliance. This years’ general Assembly is being held in Monbachtal, Germany, all this week so new initiatives get opportunity to be announced. EFN is trying to connect active and emerging ministries and other stakeholders across Europe. EFN serves those partners by providing the encouragement, advice, resources and prayer that they need for effective action and cooperation.

  • Did you know that between 12 and 27 million people are currently enslaved in forced labor and sexual exploitation around the globe?
  • Did you know that human trafficking is the second largest organized crime in the world today?
  • Did you know that 90% of victims trafficked into EU member states end up in sexual exploitation?
  • Did you know that Eastern Europe has been called a ‘frontier of failure in the battle against human trafficking?’

So, what can we do? There is an initiative that October 18 becomes a European Anti-Trafficking Day.

  • Please pray! – check www.europeanfreedomnetwork.org for Prayer Guide and Resources section of the site. There is a Facebook page, there is a monthly e-mail to subscribe.
  • Get this issue of human trafficking on the agenda in your country, on the program of conferences, on the curriculum of the Bible schools and seminaries.
  • Choose a collective action or advocacy target. There is a new EU directive on Human Trafficking, publicize it.
  • Communicate! Let others know about this initiative.
  • Help churches to become informed and engaged.

One of the responsibilities of Christians in this world is to be informed, interested, to have a capacity to care and to act upon its convictions. The human trafficking is gaining momentum in Europe. Read Luke 4:18.

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Fundraising seminar [blog]

Do It Well and Trust the Lord

Recently I participated in a fundraising seminar in Finland. The organizer was Sanansaattajat, TWR’s National Partner and the speaker was Ms. Redina Kolaneci, from the UK, who also spoke at the TWR’s PR Exchange meeting in Austria in 2010. For most of the participants in both events, this was a unique opportunity to learn something more about the art and craft of fundraising. Here are some of the highlights:

Fundraising is Biblical, joyful and it is connecting people – ones who like to fulfill their dream of connecting with ones who need. Role of fundraisers is to serve to donors and also the beneficiaries by giving to people opportunities to give for the Kingdom work.

If one might ask how we can see fundraising as Biblical, here are some statements that support that:

  • God is the provider and the source of everything including finances;
  • God provides partners – people who take interest in our ministry and who are willing to offer their support;
  • Through their giving donors mirror the generous heart of God and participate in His mission to the world;
  • God is using our fundraising efforts to connect His people to the ministries they care and love.

In order to do a decent fundraising we ought to be considering the following three steps:

  1. Evaluate your Ministry/Project
    1. What is your mission?
    2. Is your mission clearly defined?
    3. Who are your stakeholders?
    4. What do they expect from you and what do you expect from them?
    5. What is a unique feature of your mission/project?
    6. Is there funding available for your work?
    7. If so, do you know how to obtain it?
    8. Is there a team in place to fulfill your mission, to serve the beneficiaries, to raise funds for your work and do so ethically?
  2. Develop Your Case for Support
    1. Why do you exist? Is that stated in your mission, vision or ministry goal?
    2. What programs or services do you offer?
    3. Who provides those programs/services?
    4. Who are the beneficiaries of your programs?
    5. How are their lives being impacted by your work?
    6. Why are you the best positioned to help these beneficiaries?
    7. How will you be accountable to all stakeholders?
  3. Evaluate Strengths and Weaknesses of your Fundraising?
    1. What is your income by source (where does the money come from?)
    2. Do a file analysis: do a donor base analysis to gain insight on how donors give to your cause.
    3. What is the return of investment of your fundraising activities?
    4. What is the distribution of gifts in relation to donors every year?

Once the above is sorted and we have all the answers, we also should do a so-called fundraising fitness test: Consider why should I give to your ministry and tell me so in a compelling and appealing way.

Prepare the horse for battle, but the victory is of the Lord (Prov. 21:31), so we ought to do the above as a preparatory work along firm prayer support for our projects and mission.

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Just some thoughts on the Evangelical theology of today [blog]

Evangelical theologians are counted by generations. Considering that this branch of theology is quite recent, the English-speaking world is today having its 4th generation, while Europe is having the 3rd. The rest of the world is in their’s 2nd or 1st generations (in Serbia we hardly have any theologians – so I count this time as a no theologians era :)).

Recently published book about theologians taking over the church

If we consider Miroslav Volf and Peter Kuzmic to be the theologians of Croatia (I think they are theologians of Central East Europe), we may count that they consist the 1st generation in Croatia. Because of the closeness of the languages, we benefit from their work and publications as well, although the major works are publish in English.

There is apparently a trend to revisit the theologians of the 1st generation, there are many disputes and ongoing debates, but the boat is more-less unshaken. However, we have learned a couple of lessons already:
  1. Whatever the achievements of evangelical theologians might be, they are not accepted in the general academia. Getting a degree in evangelical theology from established educational centers is seemingly quite difficult. Issues of nostrification, accreditation, academic equivalence, even no proper mentoring, etc. are always put forth as a good starting point for an excuse. This will remain for some time. Not only that there is a general non-tolerance of supposedly ‘tolerant’ post-modernists of today (they are tolerant to everyone and everything but the Christians and the message of the Cross), there is a sincere mistrust toward us, as we have done some wrongs in the past. Putting dogma in front of us as a means to defend our weak points and unsatisfactory work does not help either.
  2. Identity is not created by negating of something but by uplifting what is true and loving and appealing, that existed in the past or occurs in the present. Far too often the evangelical theologians were building up the identity of their denomination or school of thought by firstly and fore-mostly negating others around them. This has to stop as it is not only non-Christian, but highly offensive (sorry for the double negation here).
  3. Why are historical questions so irrelevant for the people who live today? Have we managed to ‘kill’ the good story and a good example of our forefathers? If God responded in the past, can we not expect Him to act in the present and in the future? Sometimes I am not even sure what do Evangelicals want to emphasize today. Recently I managed to rediscover one item: social action and evangelism. Apparently the first generation said ‘evangelism,’ than the third generation (in Europe) and perhaps the first one in Latin America and Asia said ‘social action then evangelism,’ and I now hear more and more (4th generation in the English-speaking world) about them both going together.
I do not seem to understand well the above issues. Someone said: “to explain something simply you must understand it profoundly.” What do you think?