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Trips

Serbia Sept 2016, BTS School

Novi Sad, Serbia September 23 - October 2, 2016

Within the Baptist Union of Serbia, the Baptist Theological School has been operating since 1939. However, with the chaos of the Balkan wars and changing country geographies, the school has undergone much upheaval. The Serbian Baptist Union, in strong cooperation with TLI, is working to rebuild the spiritual legacy of the Baptists in the former Yugoslav countries. This can only be accomplished through rigorous teaching and high standards of theological education. The desire and goal is to see the struggling fruit of Evangelicalism start to grow again in this hungry and gospel-needy area. Classes: Personal Evangelism / Discipleship Research Methodology

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Sep  30th,  2016Advancing the Gospel in Serbia

14445089_1738514669744493_1697045249723703061_oIt’s hard to believe that we have already completed four days of teaching here at the Baptist Theological School (BTS) in Novi Sad, Serbia and that we have only one more day to go.

There are twelve first-year students who are taking the course in Hermeneutics I am teaching and fourteen second-year students who have returned to take the Old Testament Survey II course taught by Petar.  Both first and second years students are taking Evangelism and Discipleship course taught by Josh.

I have a great class of first-year students who appear to be grasping the importance and the process of hermeneutics. Each day I would give them an opportunity to apply some of the principles of hermeneutics to a passage of Scripture.  There is just so much material to cover in one week. I wish I had more time with my students.

Yesterday, we looked at the importance of the historical-cultural context and the literary context of a passage in determining the meaning of a passage.  We also examined some passages of Scripture that are often misinterpreted and misapplied because the context was ignored (i.e. 1 Chron 4:10; Matt 18:20; Phil 4:13; Rev 3:20).  We had a good time of discussing how some churches and ministries would often use one verse that has been taken out of its context to emphasize a particular theme or subject.  

Spending time here at BTS and interacting with the leadership and the students has helped us to have a better understanding of what the Lord is doing here.  The school was established in 1939, was closed for a number of years, but was reestablished last September with the help of TLI. The vision was for the school to establish a sound theological training institution in Serbia.  We were told that this is the only institution of its kind in the country.  During this short visit, we learned that there are very few Gospel-centered and Word-centered churches in the country. Having spent the week here teaching, we see how vital the ministry of BTS is the advance of the gospel and the growth of Christ’s church in Serbia.  

Please pray for BTS and pray for the students. Pray also for the salvation of students who might not genuinely know Christ.  Pray that the Lord would use His Word to touch and transform the lives of each of the students   Pray for TLI as we continue to send teams here to help train pastors and church leaders in Serbia.

For the Advancement of the Gospel,

Weymann Lee (for the Serbia team)

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Sep  26th,  2016Starting Classes at BTS

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Lunch in Belgrade after arriving in Serbia

Thirteen minutes from now, classes will start at Baptist Theological School in Novi Sad, Serbia. First year students will study Hermeneutics with Weymann Lee, seated to the left of the picture above. Second year students will study Old Testament Survey II with Petar Nenadov, middle right above. This afternoon, I'll have all the students together for a class on Evangelism and Discipleship.

Our team of three arrived Friday afternoon in Belgrade and were met by Dwayne Baldwin, a TLI missionary serving as the Academic Dean of the recently restarted school and seated to the right in the above picture. Dwayne, his wife Kimberly, and their sons are gracious, enthusiastic hosts and we've had a wonderful few days exploring northern Serbia and adjusting to the time change before classes start.

Friday afternoon was spent in the capital city of Belgrade before the hour drive to Novi Sad. On Saturday, we drove to Sremska Mitrovica and spent time at a museum and the ruins of an old Roman palace. That afternoon, we toured the Petrovardin Fortress in Novi Sad, a medieval fortress designed to halt the advance of the Ottoman Empire. The fort overlooked the Danube and three bridges, one of which was still being rebuilt after the NATO bombings of the 1990's. Advancing from a Roman palace to a medieval fortress overlooking the modern city gave us a wonderful, firsthand glimpse of Serbia's history.

On Sunday, we worshiped with the local Baptist church here, were given a tour of the school, and met many of the students at an open house at BTS.

And now it is time for classes to begin. During one of our dinner conversations with Dwayne, he mentioned that Serbians thought Americans smiled too much. "Smile too much?" I thought. "Why would that be considered a negative?" Dwayne explained that after decades under communism, the Serbs had become so pessimistic after their life direction had been essentially determined for them, hope was virtually gone.

There was an exception. As we joined the church in worship, smiles of hope were common. Serbia has a violent and brutal ancient and modern history, but there is a small, growing church that has realized "the joy of the Lord is [their] strength]" (Nehemiah 8:10). As we teach this week, be praying that knowledge of the word would grow, ministry skills will be shaped, but most of all, that the joy of the Lord because of the work of Christ would be our strength.

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Looking down at the city of Novi Sad from the Petrovardin Fortress

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