Annual Conference of Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in North America

May 30, 2008 by  
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The seventh annual conference of Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in North America was held in Minneapolis May 24-26, 2008 under the theme “Fruitful in the Spirit.” The conference gathered Bulgarian evangelical believers from various parts of North America, but unfortunately the attendance was lower than previous years as the Bulgarian groups in Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN; Ft. Lauderdale, FL and the Evangelical churches in Canada were without representatives.

Having worked with Bulgarian communities across the United States for some 15 years now while studying them for the purposes of our doctoral and postdoctoral research it is easily noticed, that the trends that led to the disappearance of Bulgarian Protestant communities in North America some 100 years ago are in the process of repeating themselves. This has been a personal concern of ours since we participated in the establishment of the first Bulgarian Church of God outside of Bulgaria in the city of Chicago. These issues can be summarized as follows.

Firstly, the problem in ministry remains unresolved through the continuous failure to provide the tri-dimensional dilemma of leadership, finances and culture. The resulting strife for preservation of the typical Bulgarian post communist mentality and “underground” style of ministry proves itself again and again incompatible with the American reality.

Secondly, the “regular” biannual division of congregations, which has become almost inevitable in the Bulgarian context, is hurting the churches preventing them from implementing a successful healing and growth process. These divisions evolve mainly from a misunderstood cell group model for “home-churching” which has proven ineffective in the Bulgarian cultural settings. The lack of an adequate split protection plan also contributes to this issue. At best, congregations spent all their resources managing to retain structure and prevent splits, while leaving no resources for further growth through reaching unchurched Bulgarian immigrants.

And thirdly, just like it happened some 100 years ago with the established Bulgarian protestant communities across North America, loosing the second generations of Bulgarian evangelical believers has become a counter priority. Perhaps because, Bulgarian congregations in the beginning of the 21st century are beginning to realize that it will inevitably mean the disappearance of Bulgarian Evangelical churches across North America as a whole. It is there, in winning the second generation of Bulgarian believers, where the key to survival of Bulgarian congregations lays.

It is encouraging, at the same time, to observer that one of the positive estimates provided by our doctoral project is also coming to reality. In 2002-2004, based on analyses provided by the New Religious Immigrants Project, our research suggested that the next Bulgarian Evangelical Church will be established in the last of the Seven American Gateway Cities which was still without a Bulgarian Church, namely the city of San Francisco. Our resent visit in the area of the Bay Area showed that this prediction is already progressing into a reality as the Bulgarian Diaspora there is already producing a Bible study group out of uniting Bulgarian college students from Barkley and young computer professionals in the area.

Resources for Further Study:

Seven Churches of Revelation

May 25, 2008 by  
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While Bulgarian Protestant churches and missions in Northern America have been present since the early twentieth century, networking between them is a rather new phenomenon that has occurred for less than a decade. Because of its recent existence, historical records and documented information on the subject is not yet available. However, the mission and vision of such a movement is not new to the Bible.

Cross-cultural church planting is seen repeatedly in the Scriptures. The Synagogue Movement during the times of Jewish slavery is a prime Old Testament example. The New Testament church and the spread of Christianity in the ancient East and the Roman Empire are other examples. In such cases, the mission and vision of religious formation presented in the Bible are applicable to the needs of a contemporary ethnic community of believers.

Of greater significance for this research is networking among religious communities in the Bible. The fact that such process exists is obvious from regular gatherings of New Testament church leaders in councils to make decisions and find solutions for problematic situations. The best example of church networking in a context of cross-cultural ministry is the description of the Seven Churches of Revelation.

This study will examine the text of Revelation chapters two and three in order to analyze similarities in problems and solutions in relation to the problem of ministry of the Bulgarian churches in America. The Scripture review will approach the Seven Churches from Revelation in a way very similar to the larger outline of the present doctoral project. Through establishing the general characteristics of the Seven Churches of Revelation, the cripture review will place the cultural, economic and leadership dilemmas within the churches’ context of ministry. It will then survey the churches and their relationships to the said dilemmas and will provide a statistical overview of the frequency of their occurrence. Finally, the Scripture review will analyze the results in light of the solutions proposed in the text of chapters two and three of the book of Revelation.

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New Website for East Coast Bible College Alumni

May 20, 2008 by  
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Cup & Cross Ministries is pleased to inform you about our newly started website for East Coast Bible College alumni The website is designed to serve as a community for students who can reconnect with old friends, exchange testimonies and ministry ideas and continue to partner together in the work of the Kingdom. Please forward this message to all East Coast Bible College alumni who you know. The address of the website is

How to Start a Bulgarian Church in America from A-to-Z

May 15, 2008 by  
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Administration of Mission Three Year Plan
Rev. Dony K. Donev, D. Min.
Church of God Theological Seminary, 2003

Since 1990 Cup & Cross Ministries International has provided a dynamic Pentecostal style of leadership to the global scene of Christian ministry. With a major influence in Eastern Europe, our efforts have been focused on developing and coordinating ministry teams and supporting pastors and evangelists in the country of Bulgaria. This vision has been persistently reached through the means of Christian education, personal development, ministerial conferences, leadership seminars, media broadcasting, and a great number of other nontraditional styles of ministry. As a result, groups of churches within the Church of God and other denominations and whole regions such as the Yambol, Sofia, Sliven and Pravetz regions of Bulgaria have bought into the ministries’ vision and have followed the strategies designed to empower and enlarge their ministerial productivity.

Cup & Cross Ministries International has seized a great number of global harvest opportunities as well. It has been active in the church involvement with the European Union integration with Great Britain in 2001 and 2003, Finland in 1997, Israel in 2000 and Romania in 2001. By the use of modern technology, we have also been able to assist in ministry endeavors in Russia, the Ukraine, Macedonia, South Africa, India, the Philippines and France. Since 1994 the ministry has assisted churches across the United States and has strategically planned and developed a process which incorporates Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in North America. The first success of this endeavor was the establishment of the Bulgarian Evangelical Church of God in Chicago in 1995. Since then twelve more Bulgarian churches have been started in strategic immigration gateways across the United States and Canada. For the past four years our team have been involved in the process of starting a Bulgarian Evangelical Church in the city of Atlanta. Read complete paper (PDF)

Bulgarian Churches in North America: Contextual Assessment

May 10, 2008 by  
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After awaking in the morning of the 21st century, the world was rapidly introduced to a new postmodern movement called globalization. At a top political and economic level, globalization is the process of denationalization of markets, politics and legal systems purposing the implementation of a global economy. However, globalization is much more than an economic event as it affects social status and human rights of people worldwide. For the world community the process of globalization is a process of internationalization describing cross-border relations between countries, growth in international exchange and interdependence. It is also viewed as a liberalization process of removing government-imposed restrictions on movements between countries in order to create a borderless world. Globalization further implements spreading various objects and experiences to people at all corners of the earth creating universalization. In a cultural context, globalization is often seen as Westernization of the world. Finally, globalization carries the meaning of deterritorialization – reconfiguration of geography reforming any social place in new terms of independent territory, distance and borders.

Since the church is a global event, inevitably this process affects the community of believers. The “global believer” seeks to connect with people of similar nature independent of race, location and social status. Thus, church mission and church ministry reclaim its original Biblical global perspective. In this process, the church of postmodernity is liberated from its nationality and reaches toward internationalization establishing a new multicultural identity with a global perspective and mission. As a result multicultural churches gain a contextual new function serving as identity sources. Such is the case with the network of Bulgarian churches in North America.

Established to unite all Protestant Bulgarian churches in North America, it reaffirms the participation of Bulgarian immigrant communities in the global multicultural ministry. This present contextual assessment will explore the process of establishing a network of Bulgarian churches in Northern America. Read the complete paper (PDF)

Bulgarian Churches in North America: Statement of Problem

May 5, 2008 by  
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Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the world has witnessed a miracle. In the corner of Europe, coming out from the severe Communist persecution and surrounded by the Balkan religious wars, one growing group of Christians is making a difference for the Kingdom of God. Placed on the crossroad of three world religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia), the country of Bulgaria has experienced an on-going spiritual revival in which hundreds of thousands of people have been touched by the power of God.

In the midst of extreme poverty due to prolonged economical crises, revival has become an answer for many. Yet, in the fifteen years of democratic post-Communism, more than one million Bulgarians have left their homeland in search of a better life and a better future. Receiving better economic opportunities, approximately 200,000 Bulgarians have established communities throughout the larger United States cities.
Having witnessed this remarkable act of God, some of them have brought the spirit of revival to their new land. Driven by the struggles of the immigration life, cultural adjustments and economic survival, these Bulgarians have been able to establish churches which serve not only as religious meetings, but also as communities of support.
Regardless of the vital integration and social functions for the Bulgarian  communities, the resources of the Bulgarian Protestant churches in the United States remain unexplored. Their home churches are too far away and too poor to help, while the local cross-cultural ministries are either are occupied with much larger ethnic groups or lack the training and tools for effective ministry among Bulgarians. As a result, in the
midst of the present context of post-modernity and cultural re-imagination, the stories of these Christian pilgrims remain unheard. The reason for this is a threefold problem that focuses on the cultural, economical and organizational dilemmas with which the Bulgarian communities in North America struggle daily. Therefore, the problem involves finding a way to empower the network of Bulgarian Protestant churches in North America to overcome these cultural, economical and organizational dilemmas. This ambition postulates the enhancement of vision and quality of ministry among the Bulgarian immigrant communities. Read the complete paper (PDF)

Bulgarian Churches in North America

May 1, 2008 by  
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During Memorial Day weekend Cup & Cross Ministries will participated in the 7th Annual Conference of Bulgarian Churches in North America. The conference will take place on May 24-26, 2008 in Minneapolis and will be hosted by the local Bulgarian Evangelical Church. Over 200 delegates from Bulgarian communities of Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal and Atlanta are expected to attend the event. Cup & Cross has worked with Bulgarian immigrants for the past 15 years, and our team has actively and purposefully observed the Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in North America for almost seven years as a part of our ongoing research.

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