A Report from the Croatian Evangelical Alliance
After a crisis in the Croatian Evangelical Alliance (CEA), the Alliance was able to achieve great accomplishments in a revitalization process in the last year. The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) would love to see their inspiring testimony being an encouragement to other Alliances as they encounter difficulties along the journey.
For several years, the Croatian Evangelical Alliance (CEA) was facing a period of stagnation, which resulted in a deep crisis. Recognizing a need for change, the CEA leadership came together in 2018 and made the decision to adopt a new course and take active steps to revitalize life and work of the Alliance. Therefore, Toma Magda was appointed as interim president to lead them through the first two years of the process. Inspired by his ideas, the following three major goals were set, which were to be implemented in the following period: (1) the restoration of the relationship with the EEA, (2) the involvement of young leaders, and (3) the active generation of new members.
Within a period of 12 months, the CEA was able to achieve great successes in meeting the above-mentioned objectives. Firstly, CEA´s EEA membership was being renewed, which involved a visit of Croatia by EEA´s General Secretary, Thomas Bucher, and the active participation of CEA representatives during the EEA events. To increase the involvement of the younger generation within the CEA, members were encouraged to nominate young leaders, which resulted in an increase of young leaders by fifty percent of young leaders within the new leadership. In order to extend the member base, potential members were invited, many if which showed a real interest in a membership after the meetings.
Aiming to not only achieve a restructuring, the CEA was greatly inspired by the Hope for Europe Conference in Tallinn to start a process of inner transformation. Croatia is coming from a communist context, which led small evangelical communities into isolation. This resulted in a reserved culture of evangelical churches, where the protection against the common enemy, the sinful world, was the connecting link. But thirty years later, the new circumstances demand a change in culture. “That is why we are undergoing the process of exchanging our fences for a strong Christ-centered vision that will keep us together”, says Toma Magda, president of the CEA. CEA now aims to develop a culture that is not turning away from the people but turning towards them. This shall be achieved through the implementation and promotion of networks, which connect Christians and ministries, and enable them to raise a more united and stronger voice within their society. Through the organization of a series of conferences for church leaders and organizational representatives under the topic “Building the Future”, CEA further aims to spread their new vision and to address essential, but oftentimes neglected topics in the Croatian evangelical community. The first conference took place in June 2019 with 35 participants and has been a complete success.
The CEA is thankful for 12 blessed and successful months and is welcoming prayers as they continue their journey of revitalizing their Alliance.