Working Strategies

January 30, 2006 by  
Filed under Missions, Publication

During our time of ministry in Bulgaria, we use several strategies for ministry, but that of Market Place Ministry proved to be best suited for the setting. Theoretically, this approach to ministry is not new for the Christian church. It simply implements taking the Gospel to the people, instead of expecting the people to come to the Gospel.Fundamentally, Market Place Ministry is a Biblical method, which has also found its place in a number of modern day management paradigms. John Maxwell finds it implemented in the business paradigm called “Management by Walking Around” (MBWA).

Being rather an Oriental approach, it is often seen in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles, it is normal that in a Western context it remains difficult to implement. However, for Bulgaria where the economy, social life, and the community are built around the market places, it fits perfectly.

We are combining the Market Place Ministry with media ministry into a dynamic paradigm which takes the Gospel to the people and transformed their lives in their own social context. The downside of such paradigm is that a ministry team cannot be confined to a certain location like a church building or an office, but must be constantly on the go. This however, turns to be the very effectiveness of the paradigm as it brings the church out of its comfort zone to a place of real life-changing ministry in the market place.

Bulgaria: Political Situation

January 25, 2006 by  
Filed under Publication

Our preliminary impressions of the political and economical situation in Bulgaria were based on the recent acceptance of the country into NATO and its anticipated admission into the European Union in 2007.Immediately before our arrival, the elections were won by the Socialist party which brought extra tension to the country, although less than 50% of the population participated through their votes.

The Bulgarian Christian Coalition, representing Evangelicals, won only 21,000 votes while struggling to remain politically active. Nationalistic urges among political circles were also common.

Violent public executions among underground cartels have become a normal event in Bulgaria’s everyday reality. The economy has also been dramatically affected as over 90% of the population lives on the verge of poverty. The price of gas grew in the fall and led to the increase of the cost of food, electricity and travel.
Various evangelical churches, some of which are pastored and attended by friends of ours, were targeted by the media. Articles against them infiltrated many evangelistic activities among Romani and other minority communities.

These media attacks remind of similar anti-protestant campaigns during 1990-93. Hopefully, this time, the evangelical churches may be prepared to respond adequately.


January 20, 2006 by  
Filed under News

In 1996, we participated in the establishment of Shalom TV – a Christian television production company located in Yambol, Bulgaria. Through the past decade the company has been involved in a number of television productions, but struggled to provide cutting edge Christian television. Upon our arrival in Bulgaria, we used the already established foundation, to contact pastoral fellowships around the country to discuss with them the need for a solid media presence of the evangelical churches in Bulgaria.One of the main reasons why our ministry in Bulgaria reached such an extraordinary potential was its direct implementation of media. Many of our events were broadcasted directly via radio or Internet. Various newspapers reflected on our work and two TV channels aired news coverage about the ministry. It was natural then, that as we worked directly with pastors and churches we were constantly asked about the use of media in ministry.

As a result, an old dream of ours came to reality. In the fall of 2005, we were able to reactivated the Shalom Group—a media consortium of evangelical churches which promotes Christian values and provides media representation for Bulgarian Protestantism. As a part of this media consortium, our team has designed a series of strategic websites focusing on various fields of Christian ministry. A website dealing with pastoral issues ( has already been launched, and another one dealing with chaplaincy is awaiting its release by the end of the year. Additionally, Shalom TV released a video sermon series for cable televisions in ten large Bulgaria cities. The series are also featured online via the websites of the consortium.

This media campaign has already brought attention with its actions. Recently, the group represented the Bulgarian Evangelicals in their opposition of a TV show mocking God and Christianity. An open letter was designed and broadcasted presenting the evangelical position on social issues like violence, pornography, foul language and negative subliminal messages via media like TV, radio and internet.

Romani Women in Bulgaria

January 15, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Less than 1% of the Roma women in Bulgaria have higher education, a survey has shown. The report set the number of highschool-educated among them at 4%. Meanwhile, the average age at which Roma women tie the knot has increased, according to the report of the Amalipe center for ethnic dialogue and tolerance. Presently that age is 16 years, up significantly from the previous 12-13.

Resurrection in Bulgaria

January 10, 2006 by  
Filed under News

by Kathryn DonevThe Old Testament reports of three resurrections from the dead and the New
Testament reports of at least seven more, including the daughter of Jairus
shortly after her death, a young man from Nain in the midst of his own funeral
procession and Lazarus, who had been buried for three days.

It was at the very moment of Christ’s death that tombs opened and many who were
dead awaken. According to the Gospel of Matthew, after Christ’s resurrection,
many of the saints whom were dead came out of their tombs and entered
Jerusalem, where they appeared to many. These are the accounts of which we
read in Scripture.

It is true that the same God, who raised people from the dead over two thousand
years ago, still works in the lives of His people today. He is still on
the throne and performs miraculous works including raising his children from
the dead. It is true that He still moves stones.

Last Easter, we reported of a gentleman who had been raised from the dead.
During this past term of ministry in Bulgaria we had the opportunity to
personally meet his wife who prayed for him as he fell dead. She was in
attendance of one of our services and we used the occasion to acquire some
details of the resurrection. She was able to give a full account with the
testimony of her whole family, reporting of the miraculous power of God who
brought her husband back to life. For a neverchanging, all-powerful God we
return to Him thanks.

Pomacs and Macedonians

January 5, 2006 by  
Filed under Research

Both groups represent special cases in terms of history, magnitude, and impact on political life. More significant are the Bulgarian Muslims (‘Pomaks’) because of their number and ‘borderline’ position between the Bulgarian majority, with which they share a common mother tongue, and the Turkish minority whose religion they profess. Bulgarian Muslims are ethnic Bulgarians who were converted to Islam during the Ottoman yoke. Their number was approximately 20,000 immediately after restoration of the Bulgarian state in 1878, and by the 1920’s reached 88,000. The sharp increase in figures between 1910 and 1920 was due to re-integration of Bulgaria with newly liberated territories in the Rhodopes and Rila regions. Present day their number is estimated between 200,000 and 280,000. In spite of their ethnic origin, Bulgarian Muslims’ historical fate is identical in many respects to that of other Muslim groups. Bulgarian Muslims have been subject to influences for assimilation in both possible regards. On one hand, study of Turkish language has been stimulated in order to integrate all Muslims into Bulgarian society as a whole. The result is that the Turkish language is perceived as a mother tongue by some 6% of community members.

The issues of ‘Macedonians’ are not any less complicated or controversial. One thesis defines them as a regional community based on the argument that they are an Orthodox population speaking a Bulgarian dialect in common with Bulgarian history, traditions, and values. Based on the right to self-determination, a contrary thesis defines them as a separate ethno-cultural community. Both views have political expression in the activities of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization -VMRO (a party seated in Parliament), and the United Macedonian Organization – OMO Ilinden (an unrecognized and unregistered separatist movement). Bulgarian policy towards ‘Macedonians’ has swayed between two extremes. In the 1940’s, much support was given to the idea of a socialist-oriented Balkan Federation (to includes all Balkan states and thus to resolve every and each ethnic and religious problem in the area). The population of the Pirin district bordering FRY Macedonia and Greece was stimulated, even forcibly, to identify itself as ‘Macedonians’. According to the 1956 census, 187,789 Bulgarians declared themselves as ‘Macedonians’. Later on, the policy altered sharply, and ‘Macedonians’ disappeared from official statistics. They have not turned up there till today.

2006: The Year of Promise

January 1, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Twelve months ago, God gave us a prophetic word about upcoming events in 2005 calling it The Year of the Spirit – a time of purposeful and determinate following of the leadership of the Holy Spirit independent from manmade strategies and organizations. As the weeks unfolded, we quickly understood that God was preparing us for a special time of ministry. Before the first quarter of 2005 was over, we watched how the words spoken by the Holy Ghost became a reality for many men and women in a way which no human group or organization could have planned or accomplished. As April of 2005 approached, we already knew that our presence in Bulgaria was needed and quickly prepared for our return. The days of ministry which followed upon our arrival in the country could have only been characterized as a miracle. As we continued to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, new doors for ministry were opened, new relationships were established and revival was revealed to the hearts of many Bulgarians as the new-yet-old paradigm for church ministry and personal growth. While watching how at times hundreds of lives were being touched by His move, our understanding of God and His power, our way of doing ministry and theology and our very lives and souls were slowly transformed to accommodate God’s heart for national revival emerging from supernatural individual restoration.

With this testimony in heart, we approached 2006, becoming more aware that it will be a new time of ministry called a Year of Promise. Perhaps ten years ago, such revelation for Bulgaria would have been looked at as inappropriate, but today the time has come when God is calling the restoration of Bulgaria through restoring His Own Church. Being aware of how literally and exactly the Word of the Spirit was fulfilled in 2005, we are expecting that in 2006 promises which have been given to God’s people for Bulgaria will become a definite and unquestionable reality affecting the nation’s political, economical and social realm and creating an atmosphere for church unity and growth. Such statement may seem bold today in the midst of various crises and misfortune; however, it is in 2006 that God is calling His people in Bulgaria to repentance and unity in order to fulfill His will on earth “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalms 33:4).