We Used to be Considered a Cult
This picture (above) requires a little explanation. Our church, Golgota, is a member of the Alliance of Christian churches here in Hungary. This group is made up primarily (though not exclusively) of Evangelical churches. All across the country, the first week of the new year is dedicated to prayer. Every night of that week we go to a different church, worship and pray together. It is always tremendously edifying.
The men in this picture represent Golgota, the Lutheran church, the Brethren church, the Reformed Church, an evangelical Catholic and the Baptist church. I’m the one giving the “rabbit ears” to the Baptist pastor! Why would I do that? Because it’s funny... and he is a funny guy with a great sense of humor and an incredible love for God. I did it because we are friends. We are not in competition with each other.
When Golgota first came to Hungary we were considered a cult. When the “walls” came down, every religious group made their way into Eastern Europe. Most didn’t last long, some are still here. There was a lot of animosity about who was really “Christian” and who was not. The transition for us from cult to friend has been a long road but one worth going down. And honestly there are still some groups that don’t like us very much. That’s ok.
Why we Need other Churches
In Europe, evangelicals are a small group and we need each other. We need each other for encouragement, support in outreaches, prayer and a plethora of other reasons. Most importantly, our connection to each other serves as an example to our community that Jesus is not divided. We may have different types of churches but we are of the same Spirit.
Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Our unity is not seen by us holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.” We go back to our churches and our ministries. The Baptist pastor gets back to serving the people God has given him and he prays for how God wants to reach more people. So does my Lutheran friend.
The Basis of Our Unity
We are unified because we love the same Jesus who is bigger than my church. We are unified because we are learning that the world benefits by different churches existing for the glory
of God. We are unified because we are not competing with each other. We fight against the devil.
I have watched one of our Golgota pastors in the south of Hungary not only work with the churches in his city but find amazing favor among them. When he needed a new building
for church it was another local church that opened its doors. His outreach into a youth prison was in danger of stopping but a local church stepped in to help with all the paperwork. These churches are not only coexisting but thriving. Churches grow when they move out of their buildings and onto the streets of their community.
Golgota has existed in Hungary for over 20 years. We are no longer the “new guys” in town. Recently, we received an email from a new church plant in our city that was looking for some musical equipment for worship. As we were discussing it among our staff I realized why I love these people so much. Our conversation wasn’t about whether or not we should support them but how we could support them and was there more we could do. This is certainly not my first inclination! In the end we helped with equipment and sent some of our worship people to help out.
Because we are not here to build up our church alone. We are here to preach Jesus.