Nearly 100 years ago the heir to the Austrian empire was gunned down in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina by a young Serbian radical. This catapulted Europe into the Great War, the effects of which eventually caused World War II and can still be felt today.

Throughout the continent people have largely traded the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a vacuous materialism and spirit of unbelief. In the summer of 2013 Croatia joined the post-Christian European Union, a move Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and other former Yugoslav republics hope to replicate. The new generations of Balkan youth appear to be joining their western European counterparts in the pursuit of materialism and an indifference or hostility to God.

Can this trend be reversed? What if, 100 years after the spark that sent Europe to war, a different kind of spark ignited in the Balkans? This region remains Europe’s problem child, born of hundreds of years of civilizational conflict between east and west.

But we believe this area is also spiritually strategic, as a potential unifier of east and west. What if the renewal of the church in this region could serve to impact Western Europe, and even parts of the Muslim world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a ministry of reconciliation?

This is our heart and prayer. The churches and communities of the Balkans need a new generation of Christian leaders to facilitate reconciliation and Kingdom influence in rapidly changing, and increasingly post-Christian cultures. They need Biblical and theological depth, cultural relevance and understanding, personal authenticity, and spiritual passion.

Our calling is to mentor and empower young ministry leaders from across the Balkans through the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia. We also help coordinate Zadarska 19, a ministry in the city center that reaches out to youth and university students with the good news of Jesus. “Z19” also provides an excellent opportunity for seminary students to engage in mentored discipleship ministry.