PART I – Introductionby Paula Jones Before we introduce Anna, we think it’s important to give a background to the country of Montenegro. It’s important to know a little about the country because it gives us insight to who Anna is, where she is coming from, and what she will be dealing with.
Location Located in Southeastern Europe Has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west (across the Sea from Italy) and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the southeast Its capital and largest city is Podgorica.
Interesting Facts about Montenegro Currency: The Euro ($1 = €.70) Climate: Mediterranean Beaches: There is 293km of coastline with 117 beaches covering 73km Sunshine: Average 240 days per year Area: 13,812 km2 Population: 672,000
Income and Economy Mostly service-based and is in late transition to a market economy Country entered a recession in 2008 as a part of the global recession; it remained a target for foreign investment, the only country in the Balkans to increase its amount of direct foreign investment In 2007, the service sector made up for 72.4% of GDP, with industry and agriculture making up the rest at 17.6% and 10%, respectively Tourism is an important contributor to Montenegrin economy - approximately one million tourists visited Montenegro in 2007, resulting in €480 million of tourism revenue. Tourism is considered the backbone of future economic growth, and government expenditures on infrastructure improvements are largely target towards that goal.
Government Republic Montenegro, formerly part of Serbia and Montenegro, gained independence on June 3, 2006. Became 192nd member of the United Nations June 28, 2006
Leaders President of Montenegro FilipVujanovic Prime Minister of MontenegroIgor Luksic
Major Religions Eastern Orthodox – predominant religion Catholic Muslim All faiths have always lived together and continue to coexist in a multi-religious society based on many shared values Montenegro's existence at the boundary between West and East has resulted in a highly complex cultural and religious mixture. Some churches even have two altars, one Catholic and one Orthodox.
Religious Freedom in Montenegro The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion. The Government generally respects religious freedom in practice. There is no state religion. The Constitution states that religious communities are separate from the state and are equal and free in the exercise of religious affairs. There were some instances of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.
What Does the Eastern Orthodox Religion Teach? That there are three Divine Persons in God, distinct, yet equal, That the Son is begotten from the Father, of the very essence of the Father. He is God and also truly man like us, because He assumed human nature from the Blessed Virgin Mary, except for sin. That the Son died on the cross to save mankind and He ascended into heaven. He will come again "to judge the living and the dead,” That the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, That the world is not self-created but is the work of one God. That there are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Ordination, Marriage, and Holy Unction,
That no one can be saved unless he is baptized, That the Holy Scriptures and Sacred Tradition are of equal value, and that they complete each other, That God assigned to every man an Angel to guide and help him, That after death, man's body goes to earth, and the soul, which is immortal, is presented before God and, according to its actions, pre-enjoys happiness or pre-suffers punishment until the General Judgment, That of all Saints, the Mother of God has a supreme grace, That God knows which road man will take, but He does not predestinate him. What Does the Eastern Orthodox Religion Teach? (cont’d)
Role of Women Domestic violence is a widespread problem in Montenegro. Montenegro is a patriarchal society with traditional views on gender roles in a family and in a community. Power belongs to men and women are the ones who obey. In Montenegro, men have the advantage when it comes to employment, even if women have better qualifications.
Filling in the Gaps – What Does Christianity Offer Anna? Religion is not based on tradition, but Christianity is from the heart. God doesn’t want your ceremonies – He wants your soul and your heart. Christianity puts ordinary people into extraordinary situations (Mary, the mother of Jesus). God doesn’t care about an individual’s social class or gender- He love everyone! True religion lies in how you treat others, not infrastructure or tradition.
References for Part I “Montenegro Economy.” www.mapsofworld.com. “Montenegro Economy 2011.” www.theodora.com. “10 Top Hot Sports of 2011.” www.yahootravel.com. “Montenegro.” www.infoplease.com. “Official Montenegro Website.” www.gov.me/en/government. “Montenegro Government.” www.montenegro.cong. http://stopvaw.org/Montenegro_Country_Page.html “2008 Report on International Religious Freedom – Montenegro.” www.unhcr.org.
PART II – Church Plantingby KerenGerstenlauer Now that we have insight into Montenegro, let’s introduce Anna, her conversion, and how she can be instrumental in church planting in Montenegro.
Who Is Anna? Anna is 15 years old and a new Christian convert. Anna is probably from an Eastern Orthodox religion. She probably speaks Serbian. Her family is probably employed in the service industry and is exposed to tourists from all over the world. Since Montenegro became independent in 2006, she and her family are just experiencing liberation from an outside influence.
How Was Anna Introduced to Christianity? Anna was converted to Christianity six months ago through a correspondence course from the World English Institute. Anna’s teacher was from Texas, and she was a former Harding University graduate. Anna’s teacher worked with Anna to teach her about the New Testament church. She traveled to Montenegro to baptize her.
Resources Available to Anna Montenegro is a developed country Anna’s family is middle-class and can afford computers/laptops Anna has internet access There are several libraries in Montenegro Including a virtual library Anna has support in the US Her previous teacher who graduated from HU Orthodox Christian churches The Bible
Resources (cont’d) Internet access Anna can easily contact international supporters such as her teacher (Skype/email) Libraries could have Christian literature Anna can use material for devotionals, and her own growth Orthodox churches Though there are differences, she can still learn from their services If her recruited group cannot find a location to worship, they could join an Orthodox church and have studies
What Can Anna Do to Plant a Church in Montenegro? Start a house church Begin by reaching out to family Anna and her family can then reach out to friends/coworkers Seek out the homeless and lower-income families Start with a smaller group The group can help Anna in recruiting
Recruitment Family – people you are comfortable with and trust Friends/coworkers – Anna and her family can reach out to even more people Low-income/homeless – Give them something reliable in their lives Sometimes they have the best testimonies
What Should Anna Teach? Begin with the Gospel Why do Christians believe in the Gospel? Why does Anna believe? Who is Jesus? Why would God send His Son to die? If Jesus had the choice, why did He agree?
Teachings The Gospel Christians believe in the Gospel because it is the only written record of Jesus’ life Jesus is the Son of God God sent Jesus to give those who believe in Him redemption for our sins Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to die
Finances Supplies Bibles Hymnals (possibly paperback) Communion Secretarial supplies Contribution income would be used to pay for these supplies.
PART III – The Future of the Church in Montenegroby Kaylea White and Jeremy Haak Now let’s assume Anna is regularly worshiping with her friends and family in a home. What is sufficient growth of the Church body? At what point should the congregation consider meeting outside of a house and in a church building? How should this small congregation network to achieve their goals? How does this small congregation continue to bring in others?
What is Sufficient Growth? Considering Anna and her friends and family have not had much exposure to Christianity before, Anna’s house church should not expect exponential growth. Five to ten new members each year is most realistic. The small house church should try to get as many visitors as possible.
When should the congregation move out of the house? Because the congregation will be limited on funds until it is well established, the congregation should try to stay in the house as long as possible while saving money for a building. The congregation should move to a building when the house is too full and they can afford to meet in a building.
Networking Anna should try to keep contact with the woman who converted her utilizing Skype and Facebook. Anna should try to meet other Christians around the world. These connections could help her congregation spirituallyand financially.
How to grow the congregation Utilizing her connections with Harding graduates, Anna should encourage the Harding Community to do a Spring Break Mission in Montenegro. Anna and her congregation should aim to have a few visitors each week. Hopefully, these visitors will come back on a regular basis.
Mission Trip Destination? Harding students could help Anna’s congregation in many ways Moral and spiritual support Biblical knowledge Bring in evangelistic experience (i.e. VBS) Manual labor (building, volunteering around the community, etc.)
Promising Future It would take Anna several years for her church to grow to become a sizeable congregation but there is definite potential! The future of the Church in Montenegro looks very promising! There are endless possibilities and with much prayer, patience, and hard work, Anna and her friends and family can spread Christianity in Montenegro.