Trends and Issues Affecting Asian Missions and The Next American Spirituality

September 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, Publication

“Three Trends and Three Issues Affecting Asian Missions” and the figures given by David Barrett present a Macedonian Call to 3.7 billion people with some 9% Christians, which is no small issue in global missions today. At the same time, America becoming the third largest mission field in the world is the obvious antipode of missionary need in the Western hemisphere. The parallels in post-modernity are many.

About 20 years ago, a book called “The Next American Spirituality” summarized the culture of today’s American spirituality and its relation to the apostolic church. The main question is, “What would a theology of the church look like that took seriously the fact that North America is now itself a mission field?”

To answer the question, Gallup and Jones examined how America does Biblical spirituality, using the gathered data to analyze its shift and direction. According to their survey, the marks of the next American spirituality were going to be (in short):

  1. Bull-market church growth
  2. Self-centered religion of me and thee
  3. Hunger for experience – any experience
  4. Search of roots amid the relativism
  5. Quest for community resulting in self-belongingness and self-realization

In our current context of ministry two decades later, all of the above signs are evident and true. This is due on hand to the constant shift in the cultural paradigm, as well as the obvious shift in the identity and practices of the Christian church in the postmodern context. It almost seems like instead of being the model, the church is following a model, which not only changes the churches identity but interferes with its original evangelistic goal and global mission.

First Day of School in Bulgaria

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

2021 Prayer Meetings and Testimonies

July 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

A second round of 2021 elections in Bulgaria is scheduled for July 11, 2021. With this unstable political situation, our churches and adherents in the country are rightfully feeling the time for fervent prayer is at hand. As many other ministries, we have been too holding virtual prayer meetings online. But with everything happening in Bulgaria right now, it was much needed to dispatch team members in various directions as a response to several urgent prayer requests.

Several Mondays in a row now this summer, following the regularly scheduled Sunday services, our people have been gathering to pray and anoint one for another, serve Communion in key locations around the region. With pandemic regulations threatening to tighten once again after the elections, this small window of open air ministry has proven quite beneficial. Several healings were reported from small villages on the rout after prayer for the sick and anointing was conducted. In another place, a meeting place became available with the assistance of local regional government. The committee members that made this happened then requested prayer for their families, businesses and the whole village.

It will be an overstatement to say, that both prayer and answers have been much needed after the last year of pandemic shutdown. We are excited with anticipation for the upcoming Anointed Prayer Communion meetings scheduled for July 4th with a break for the July 11th elections, and then again with special gathering on the 19th. We continue to pray and wait on the Lord for provision of a more central location well our several ministries can gather and operate again independent from the ongoing government regulations.

Historic Trail of Tears Connects Polk Homeschool Families

July 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Historic Trail of Tears Connects Polk Homeschool Families

by Dony & Kathryn Donev

During the past 10 years Polk County, TN has seen a shift in its demographics with an insurgence of families from New York, Florida, California and even Eastern Europe.  The latter location is perhaps overlooked not officially recorded having the most complex reasoning behind the numbers.  One explanation could be adoptions or perhaps another could be due to immigrants being attracted to Gateway Cities.  Such are the larger towns as Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Sanibel areas of Florida.  In California these would be Cerritos, South Gate, Long Beach or Sacramento.  And of course New York City provides the ultimate gateway. Therefore, these individuals are simply recorded as being from these Gateways.

Many of these families which have sought refuge, so to speak, in rural areas are ones that homeschool.  But this is not the reason for this article; for it is only natural that one leaving a busy urban area would naturally want to get away from all aspects of city life and create a more intimate learning experience for their children. Such is readily available through the natural amenities and safe seclusion along the original Trail of Tears which had many routes and roundup or dispersion points other than the three main roads which are thought of first. One of them just happens to be in Polk County, TN described below.

The Georgia Road or present day Federal Road was a route of the Trail of Tears with the Tellico Blockhouse as its starting point. The route ran from Niles Ferry on the Little Tennessee River near the present day U.S. Highway 411 Bridge, southward into Georgia. The road continued southward via the Federal Trail connecting to the North Old Tellico Highway past the present site of Coltharp School, intersected Tennessee Highway 68 and passed the site of the Nonaberg Church. East of Englewood, Tennessee it continued on the east side of McMinn Central High School and crossed Highway 411 near the railroad overpass. Along the west side of Etowah, the road continued near Cog Hill and the Hiwassee River near the mouth of Conasauga Creek where there was a ferry near the site of the John Hildebrand Mill. From the ferry on the Hiwassee River, the road ran through the site of the present courthouse in Benton, Tennessee. It continued south on Welcome Valley Road and then crossed the Ocoee River at the Hildebrand Landing. From this point, the road continued south and crossed U.S. Highway 64 where the Ocoee Church of God is currently located. Proceeding south near Old Fort, the route crossed U.S. Highway 411 and came to the Conasauga River at McNair Landing. Near the south end of the village of Tennga, Georgia stands a historic marker alongside Highway 411, which states the Old Federal Road was close to its path for the next twenty-five miles southward. This is some 15 miles from the historic Chief Vann Plantation. It would have been at this point in Tennga that the Trail of Tears would have taken a turn onto GA-2 passing the Praters Mill near Dalton Georgia to connect in Chattanooga.

The reason for this article is to make the connection which goes deeper than simply establishing the Hildebrand Crossing route with Welcome Valley and Old Federal roads as the connecting path of one of the last detachments of approximately 1,200 with the original Trail of Tears. A careful reader would quickly discern the obvious geosocial connection between the new homeschool families in the Polk area and the historical Trail of Tears, which was brought to light in a recent discovery in the Polk County TN Homeschool Network. Nearly a dozen of these families, which in the last decade made their journey to rural living in Polk County live nowhere else, but along the historic trail. Coincidence?  Perhaps.  Planned?  Doubtfully so because most were not aware of this information as this route of the Trail is not a popular one and as such has remained virtually enigmatic. Now, we are in a quest for the logic behind such happening as well as to see if there are other Polk Homeschoolers that happen to also live along this route.  If you have any contributing information to this ongoing project, we would love to hear from you.  Visit us at www.PolkHomeschool.com or reach out to admin@cupandcross.com.

Cup & Cross Great Kinder Joy EASTER Egg Giveaway

March 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, News

Cup & Cross Ministries in corporation with the Polk County TN Homeschool Network has partner with the FLIP Kids Program in Polk County, TN to have a Great Kinder Joy Egg Giveaway.  Over 200 chocolate eggs will be given away to the children in the FLIP Kids Program this Easter season.  No need to social distance in this egg hunt, the hunt will be delivered to your door.  Each egg has chocolate and it’s own “Incredibles” Movie character surprise toy along with scripture reminder of the Resurrections from Acts 26:8.

“..it [is] incredible that God raises the dead.”

For more information go to cupandcross.com or polkhomeschool.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Church Survey to Reveal State of the American Church in 2021

March 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Media, News, Research

National church survey reveals important data about the state of the church in America today

The survey has been conducted for the past several years in several hundred congregations from all denominations across the United States. All collected national trends provide information about essential ministry dynamics and characteristics of the local congregation like:

  • Church Type & Membership
  • Teams & Leaders
  • Praise & Worship
  • Pastoral/Personal
  • Mission & Vision

Subscribe to ChurchInfluence.com weekly newsletter to receive free each published report containing important information about current church trends in America today.

Sample reports from the national State of the Church survey include:

  • 5 common church types across the nation
  • 3 financial characteristics of the average church in America
  • College education take over church leadership
  • 4 leading types of pastor’s teams
  • The growth of congregational ethnicity
  • 6 dimensions of leadership training for small churches (80-120 members)
  • Top 3 problems in church growth
  • 8 Successful strategies to communicate with your church volunteer teams
  • 4 age groups within the make of church membership
  • 7 factors that make your congregational ethnos
  • 20th century paradigm for church training still used today
  • How can you improve worship within a church service
  • 5 ways to improve how the community views your church
  • 3 successful ways how to really spend half of your time in prayer and meditation

Though, the majority of participants were among Western North American Pentecostal/Charismatic congregations, the National State of the Church Survey brings results of the state of the church much similar to the ones presented by the Pew Forum, Barna Research Group and Gallup. While the said researchers present a more holistic to the Christian body information, the National State of the Church Survey brings a special focus of statistical data on Pentecostal/Charismatic congregations, their structure, leadership and praxis.

 

Hope for the Hippocampus

March 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

30 Years of Miracles: 2014

January 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Prophetic Message of Over 30 Years Brings Peace in 2014 and Beyond

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall, the physical representation of the Iron Curtain was brought down. The standing shoot-to-kill orders of the border guards fell.  It meant the end of the Cold War, a war which was waged on political, economic, and propaganda fronts and it meant the end of the Communist Regime in Bulgaria.

Seven months prior to this historic occasion, a Danish journalist by the name of Johny Noer along with his family came to Bulgaria traveling in a Pilgrim Convoy to share one message.  The message which was declared throughout Communist Bulgaria was not well received and many threats against his family were given to the point of arresting him, confiscating his passport, separating him from his nursing wife and children and escorting them out of the country via separate routs.  The outlawed message was: “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”  He literally shouted it from the roof tops of open air events in which there were thousands of desperate listeners searching for hope of liberation.  This message shook the spiritual foundations of Bulgaria forever.

In 2014, exactly 25 years later, our ministry invited brother Noer and his wife to Bulgaria again to proclaim the same message: “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” By miracle, we were successful in getting them into the country even though they had been blacklisted and were not permitted to return.  By miracle, we received permission to hold gatherings on election day and by miracle, the funds came just as needed to rent the largest auditorium in the city.  The year was 2014 and during one of the many sermons he preached during this revival crusade, along with declaring to “LET MY PEOPLE GO”, a prophetic message was given which was not fully understood until this past year.   The message, given in broken English translated into Bulgarian, was exact details of the Corona Virus Pandemic.  Astonished by the Word of protection for God’s people, we shared this video clip on social media in 2020.  But what astounded us the most was that the video was blocked for containing false information about Covid-19.  Over 30 years later this message is still being outlawed by the powers of darkness.

In Exodus 5, when the Israelites brought the words from the Lord and asked to be let go and be able to worship, Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” But regardless that “Pharaoh” does not know the Lord and forbids worship to the point of arrest and tries to keep God’s people behind the Wall, there is hope in the next part of the story.  There is God’s promise for deliverance, the plagues and having to make bricks without straw will be in the past.  And no matter the modern-day attempt at censorship, manipulative propaganda or shoot-to-kill silencing orders, we will shout it from the Mountain Tops, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”  We will worship even if we have to go to the wilderness, wherever or whatever that may be.  We will shake the spiritual foundations of this country once again.

In the beginning of 2020, the Lord spoke to us what the verse of the year would be for 2021.  It is only now that we fully understand its significance.  When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection in John ch. 20, they were hiding behind closed doors in fear.  But Jesus came, stood among them and told them “Peace be with you!”  This first command for peace and presence calmed fears restoring social order and justice.  And in 20:21, Jesus told them again, “Peace be with you”.  This second command was a strong imperative salutation to “GO”.  Then He breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit and sent them out as the Father had sent Him.

This year, we are not to live in fear behind closed doors.  We shall receive the Resurrecting Power of the Holy Spirit and go out.  It is this Power which shall be our covering which Johny Noer spoke of in 1989 and 2014.  Today, we have hope of liberation from any Wall, Curtain, Regime or Order. Jesus is amongst us standing undefeated.  In 2021, may peace be with you as you stand up to go out declaring “LET MY PEOPLE GO” and do not take no for an answer.

January 1, 2021 Cup & Cross Ministries International, John 20:21

 

 

This book should have been published seven years ago in 2013. Its original subtitle was going to read “7 Years in Bulgaria.” Instead, it took seven years to finish it with all documents, research archives and new cases. Now, it is finally here and it finally reads like a story – not just choppy interviews, deposition documented testimonies or court records, but a story of struggle, strength and solitude. A story of life and a story of us.

1995-96 The establishing of the first Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago and its first split

2000-01 The contracted building of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Sofia

2002-03 The church split in Southaven and what followed next

2005-06 The post-communist split of the Bulgarian Church of God and consecutive sub-denominations

2010-13 The social media network that cost us millions (of souls)

2016 The vote that forced to kill a church

2019-20 The sale of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Bulgaria

READ: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

To Mark Alan
We know not why good people have to die,
but we do know we must tell their story…

Chapter I: Beyond the Church and into God

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.
That is your oath.
~Kingdom
of Heaven (2005)

 

Separation of church from politics of false religiosity

The phone rang heavy and long. It was 4 AM in Bulgaria, but I was already up. A friend on the other end of the line was calling from South Carolina with a warning of some bad situation. The following morning, I was going to be contacted by the Director questioning why we were ministering in churches outside of our denomination.

The truth was we had ministered in some 300 local churches across the Balkan country of Bulgaria crossing all denominational boundaries and gathering youth from just about every confession. God had used us not only to reach and minister and to lead, but to step into an untouched spiritual realm, to undertake an unfamiliar ministry paradigm and to approach a brand new dimension of reality where He was to be the center of it all. And we had obeyed without questions. Now it was time to pay the price!

* * *

Our denomination, the one to which I remain both critically loyal and loyally critical, spreads over some five generations. Through its century old existence, the struggles and tension between theology and praxis has been in the center. And there, in the very essence of Pentecostalism itself, while some are always celebrating and being celebrated in the office or temple, others are always pushed in the periphery of normal life, hidden from the world behind closed doors and seeking a much deeper experience with God.

These modern day mystics are not only forgotten, but often forbidden. For their riot for righteousness cannot be conceived, contained and controlled by the religious norms of organized officiality. They speak as prophets to a world they so fervently try to escape from, about a reality that does not exist in the normal believer’s mindset. A stage of spirituality that cannot be preached without being lived in the social existence. And a relationship of God that goes far beyond common relationism and into God himself. That God, Who does not abide in offices and temples, but on the cross outside of the city walls…

But I knew nothing of this until that cold winter morning when the phone rang through darkness of the night. Knowing what is coming, rarely changes what we have done to get here.

7 Years in Bulgaria: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher
by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.
Upcoming Releases for United States (October, 2020)

Call for Parents and Caregivers to Have Time of Uninterrupted Play with Their Children

April 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

As a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of play therapy, I understand the vital importance of play in the life of a child.  With the COVID-19 pandemic which has swept the world, our children are being exposed to stressors and events that no child should ever have to endure.  Children need play in their lives now more than ever before.  Play is their only way to communicate and to process these traumatic times. A time of play allows for children to increase their emotional strength and reduces stress which in turn increases our children’s immunity defenses.

It is for this reason that I feel the urgency to call all parents and caregivers to set aside a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour during the day to play with their children. This structured time should meet the following guidelines:

  1. If possible should be one parent with one child at a time even if you have to limit play to only 30 minutes
  2. Play time is uninterrupted with no texting, social media, online surfing or phone use of any type
  3. Should be in a safe place
  4. Parents and caregivers need to offer a time which is non-judgmental in the parameters of protection
  5. Needs to be led by child and not adult, offering no suggestions about what or how to play unless asked from child
  6. Do not interrupt the child’s process by being impatient for child to finish tasks at hand
  7. This is not a time for teaching. It is a time of reflecting and empathetic listening of feelings.
  8. Repeat back to the child their actions during play instead of offering your biased insight.
  9. Listen to what your children are telling you via their play
  10. Provide unconditional love and support

There is always time for play.  It should not be underestimated.  During this time of crisis it is a basic necessity and will strengthen our children.  We will make it through this together.

– K. Donev, LPC/MHSP, NCC

 

The Restoration of Chaplaincy in Bulgaria (History of Events)

June 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

chaplaincy-in-bulgariaWe are proud to announce that the Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program, we designed and launched in Bulgaria in 2006, has been selected to be part of the Social Service Program of New Bulgarian University. After being for years a valuable part of the regular curriculum of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute and the St. Trivelius Institute in the capital Sofia, the chaplaincy program has received the highest level of recognition as successful graduates will be finally able to receive government recognized degrees and apply their knowledge and training in chaplaincy on a professional level. The chaplaincy program can also serve within the Integration Proposal of local NATO programs and be instrumental in dealing with the enormous wave of Middle East migrants crossing through Bulgaria today.

05/12 Anticipated Date for Graduation of the First Cohort of Master’s Program of Chaplaincy Ministry in Bulgaria

2011
09/11 – Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program Module 3: Counseling Completed
07/11 – Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program Module 2: Theology Completed
03/11 – Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program approved by the Educational Committee of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute
01/11 – Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program Continues

2010
10/10 – Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program Module 1: Chaplaincy Completed
09/10 Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program begins in Sofia, Bulgaria
06/10 Chaplaincy Conference and Master’s of Chaplaincy for Bulgaria
01/10 Proposal masters program finalized and submitted for approval to the Educational Committee of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute

2009
10/09 Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association holds an introductory chaplaincy course in Yambol, Bulgaria

2008
12/08 Family Seminar for Military Men and Women held in Yambol
11/08 Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association Annual Meeting
09/08 – Bulgarian Chaplaincy Associations noted in Church of God publications
06/08 – The Case of a NATO Chaplaincy Model within the Bulgarian Army released
06/08 – Celebrating 10 Years of Military Ministry in Bulgaria

2007
10/07 – Bulgarian Chaplaincy Associations Recognized by U.S. Department of State
07/07 – National Chaplaincy Conference in Yambol, Bulgaria
03/07 – Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was officially registered
02/07 – Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association gains legal status
01/07 – Bulgarian Chaplaincy Assassination noted by international religious freedom watch dog Forum 18

2006
12/06 – Registration Rejected Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association by Bulgarian court
11/06 – A master program in chaplaincy ministry has been proposed for the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute in Sofia
10/06 – Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association Founder’s Meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria
10/06 – A contextualized course for chaplaincy ministry is offered at the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute in Sofia
08/06 – Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association’s Resolution No. 1 sets course toward chaplaincy in churches, education and government institutions
07/06 – National Chaplaincy Meeting in Yambol, Bulgaria
06/06 – Meeting with NATO Chaplains
05/06 – Cup & Cross Ministries submitted a research paper to NATO’s Manfred Wörner Foundation dealing with the case of underground chaplaincy within the Bulgarian Armed Forces
03/06 – A contextualized course for chaplaincy ministry was offered in Veliko Turnovo
02/06 – www.kapelanstvo.com was released to serve as the official website of the chaplaincy movement in Bulgaria

2005
10/05 – A national training seminar held in Veliko Turnovo
10/05 – The Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was presented before the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance
09/05 – Regional meeting in Nova Zagora which addressed the current issues
08/05 – A regional chaplaincy meeting in Sliven
07/05 – Publication of camouflage New Testaments and Bibles, some of which we distributed to Bulgarian army personal including the divisions currently serving in Iraq.

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