Writings of Branko's Blog

All around Central Europe

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God @ work in Central and Eastern Europe [blog]

This week, a report was compiled and published on the church planting in Central and Eastern Europe, written by Russ Mitchell of OC International. I am here quoting an introductory considerations, to encourage you to get the whole document, which is available at https://www.gcpn.info/index.php/regions and then Eastern Europe.

The Challenge of the Harvest Field

j_euro2Eastern Europe is where East meets West, and this clash of cultures has shaped the region. Except for Greece all of these countries were a part of the Communist “Eastern Block.” Also this region is where the Orthodox, Catholic, and Muslim worlds intersect. As a result there are nearly 10 million Muslims in the region (7%), and the only Muslim majority countries in Europe are found here: Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo. Likewise the Protestant Reformation did not deeply penetrate this region. As a consequence Evangelical Christians are few. Eleven of the sixteen countries are less than 1% Evangelical. Eight of the countries – half the region — are less than 0.5% Evangelical. Overall the region is 1.56% evangelical compared to 2.5% for Europe and 7.9% for the entire World. Europe’s least evangelized countries are found here: Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Several of the most challenging unreached people groups in Europe are in this region. For example the Bosniak people group is perhaps the least evangelized in Europe – 2.2 million people spread over nine countries in the region.

God @ work

In spite of these challenges, God is at work in this region. The number of evangelical believers is growing in all but one country. In fact some of the most responsive peoples to the Gospel in Europe are found in this area. Montenegro, Albania, Moldova and Macedonia have growth rates above the world average and ten countries are better than the European average. Likewise there are significant movements developing in Romania. Throughout the region the Romani people (Gypsy) are generally very responsive to the Gospel. Among established churches there is a growing vision for church planting and cross cultural work. These are some signs that God is at work in the region. Still there are significant challenges to making disciples of each people group in this region.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

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Mobile Youth and Cell Phone Culture [blog]

I just read an incredible book. Thank you Felix Widmer for recommending it to me. It is a delight and reveals many interesting facts about the content/context youth is using its cell phones, and common mistakes older folk makes when evaluating this movement. I would suggest you purchase this book and will not regret!

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Here’s 10 Quick Facts about Youth Mobile Culture and Cell Phones:

All sources mobileYouth.org research

  1. 71% of youth would rather spend than last $10 on topping up their phone than on food
  2. 62% of youth sleep with their mobile phones
  3. There are 1 billion mobile youth in the world today (aged 5-29) (source: mobileYouth report)
  4. There are more mobile owning youth in China than there are people in the United States
  5. The first ever recorded telecoms innovation driven by the youth market was Dengon Dial in Japan – a simple “hack” that turned fixed-line public telephone message boxes into a youth-driven dating service. (more about this in the book “The Mobile Youth“)
  6. The highest users of new mobile tech aren’t mainstream execs but often the “outliers” and “outsiders” – e.g. Hispanic immigrants in the US, young female teens in Japan or young black females in South Africa.
  7. 65% of youth said they bought their handset based on what friends, not what advertising said
  8. Youth spend 15-25% of their disposable income on mobile (data varies by country)
  9. The average youth sees 170,000 advertising messages by age 17
  10. Despite the rise of the mobile generation, the most effective way to reach youth isn’t mobile but face to face

Face to face, ha? What do you think about that!?