In June, BrookLink sent Dr. Dan and Lynne Green to the Czech Republic to teach at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Prague (ETSP). Dan taught a course to pastors and lay leaders, and also continued his consultation with the seminary faculty on the subject of forgiveness research. Here are Dan and Lynne’s impressions from their time in Prague.
Fifteen days in the Czech Republic, all without encountering anyone who has English as their first language. Time was spent with seminary and university faculty, students, pastors, church members, Preaching Station groups, Christian Psychologists, and citizens of a few villages.
Christ followers are approximately 2-3% of the Czech population. The culture is now several generations post-Christian, with little to no biblical literacy. Religious institutions are viewed as governmental institutions – neither are trusted.
We saw God working in ways which fit this post-Christian culture. Many times, the seminary faculty shared their appreciation for helping them see how academic psychology and counseling can be integrated with Christian faith. We shared in the celebration of the baptism of four young men in a local river in Vysoké Mýto. The entire church—four generations—gathered in the woods on the banks of this river. They sang, heard each of these young men share their story of coming to faith and their commitment to follow Christ, prayed with them, and then celebrated together for the rest of the afternoon. While there is no open persecution of Christians now, these men may be limiting some business and social opportunities and risking family rejection for their stand.
We were with a pastor who, with some volunteers, offered an English day-camp. This is a primary outreach ministry in the Czech Republic, as most Czechs desire to strengthen their English skills. A man who had come the prior two years made a decision to follow Christ that day. A colleague of ours in the counseling ministry shared of a person who has received counseling through the ministry, came to faith a few years ago, and is now ministering to the Roma (Gypsy) community.
We observed tender care and welcoming of each other at each church event. Individuals with significant physical and mental health disabilities were welcomed as an integral part of the community. Pastors shared stories of people they have met with for several years who have made the decision to enter faith. In this post-Christian culture, people are attracted to Christ by seeing love in the Christian community. We saw John 13:35 lived out: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Our last night in country, a pastor and seminary professor told us that he liked our form of teaching. When asked what he meant, he stated that we come regularly and teach the same principles with new applications every year. “This is what we need in our culture; we need to build relationships of trust. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you.”
For those of you interested in learning more about the Green’s ministry in Prague, please visit their blog.