My job as a certification engineer may not sound enthralling. However, after I take off my engineering hat, I am involved in a different work altogether, serving in the life and ministry of three churches in the Reformed Church of Hungary. Tamás explains.
The largest of these is in Nagyk a, east of the capital, Budapest, and we have two smaller daughter-churches. In the past five years our church has had three different pastors, and yet God has used these changes of leadership to strengthen the church. The ministerial leadership works really well together, and as leaders we strive to work for the glory of God. The spirit of the team reflects the spiritual maturity so needed in today’s churches in Hungary.
The situation caused by Covid-19 was difficult for us, as for many churches around the world. Between one Sunday and the next, we had to stop our regular services and move to the internet, a sphere less familiar to many, especially the older generation.
Statistics as to how many listened to the preaching were encouraging, but we did not know if they were from our church or just “visiting” by clicking on the church’s YouTube link.
During this time, we learnt to rely on God and trust that He was using us as His means to maintain and nourish his flock. We had to learn that He has ownership over His church, and our ministry had to continue faithfully even when the set-up was so different.
When the church was finally free to meet again, it had changed – some had stopped coming, but new people started to attend. Please pray that the new ones will be established in their faith as the most foundational truths of the gospel are explained.
Hungary is a changing nation; Christianity is becoming shallow because many people claim to be a Christian of some sort. We need wisdom in how we proclaim the uniqueness of the message of salvation with its clear call for true repentance and a change of heart.
There have been several occasions when friends and colleagues asked meaningful questions about Christ and the Bible, which often led to them attending church services.
One church member’s work colleague came in his ‘Sunday best’ as he didn’t know how casual we are; we thanked him for dressing up. Another’s friend arrived late with his children, as he didn’t know where the church building was. The main thing was that they were there! The same week, we were able to discuss how they found the service and when they would return.
One newcomer even had the idea of making the church noticeable by transforming the village fence
New growth after Covid
One of our greatest challenges was recently answered in a most unexpected way. One of our daughter churches has seen a decline in attendance. Sometimes it was only the caretaker who set up the church hall and remained to sit through the service and hear the Word preached. Then came Covid. The services had to stop. And yet when we returned, new faces came, offered help and showed commitment.
Now there are over a dozen people and on one occasion we almost ran out of communion cups as we had not prepared for the unusual turnout!
One newcomer even had the idea of making the church noticeable by transforming the ordinary village fence into a unique style to catch the eye of passers-by. When the day came, over thirty people were busy on a bright November day working hard to change the fence and pave the path to the church entrance.
We were both humbled and encouraged, and we look to God to do great things in the life of this daughter church.
Pray that this newly-forming congregation will remain faithful.
Tamás and Berta Burjan serve in Hungary with their two daughters
Photos: Bob Matze, Unsplash and UFM