Discipleship in Eastern Europe
Young people provided much of the energy and momentum behind the revolutions that broke the power of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1980s. Today, Josiah Venture seeks to mobilize that same energy into a mighty force for the Kingdom of God.
Josiah Venture’s vision is to see a movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe that finds its home in the local church and seeks to transform society. In 1992, three couples made 10-year commitments to help local churches in Central and Eastern Europe reach young people. In November 1993, the first two Josiah Venture couples moved into the Czech Republic and Poland, learned the language, and began training youth leaders. Today, the Josiah Venture has almost 200 team members in 13 European countries.
One of Josiah Venture’s team members is Christy Owen, a longtime member of North Coast Church in Vista, California. She felt God calling her to join the ministry’s mission in Lviv, Ukraine.
“There is so much work to be done here [in Ukraine], and so many teenagers who are lost,” Owen says. “In Central and Eastern Europe alone, there are more than 2.5 million young people, and less than one percent knows Christ personally.”
In 2006, a small Josiah Venture team moved into Lviv and started working with local churches. They formed youth groups, trained youth leaders, and started evangelistic outreach through camps and English clubs. Owen joined them in Lviv in 2014 and currently leads a program called Fusion.
Josiah Venture launched Fusion in January 2009 as a means to reach un-churched youth through a network of youth rock/gospel choirs and performing arts groups based in—and led by—local churches. During weekly rehearsals, the youth who participate hear the Gospel message and see Christ at work in the lives of Fusion leaders and group members. In February 2014, two local church youth groups combined to become the first Fusion choir in Ukraine.
“Most of these teenagers are now Christians who were excited to be part of the first Fusion choir,” Owen says. “With this group of 30, we practiced for two and a half months and then scheduled seven school concerts to recruit new Fusion members.”
Owen and the Fusion group performed all seven of their planned concerts. The concerts were a huge success. About 160 new teenagers came to Fusion that week. With this increase in numbers, the team was able to create two Fusion choirs in Lviv.
“This ministry is all about sharing the Gospel, connecting teenagers to the local church, and discipleship,” says Owen. “The music really attracts them initially because they all want to be rock stars. Over time, it is our hope and prayer that these teenagers give their lives to the Lord and desire to walk with Him each and every day.”
Josiah Venture Gallery