WHEATON, IL – It’s November 9, 1989. The world watches the fall of the infamous Berlin Wall that had divided the city of Berlin for 28 years during the uneasiness of the Cold War. Little could anyone see beyond the opening of the wall to the more significant opening for sharing the Gospel behind the proverbial Iron Curtain.That is until a group of American youth pastors saw it while ministering to soldiers on U.S. military bases. They could see an entire generation of young people who were hungry for the truth of God’s Word and to experience Him in their lives.Open HighwaysIn 1992 three husband-and-wife teams committed to investing 10 years of their lives to work with local churches in Central and Eastern Europe to disciple teens and young adults for Christ.One year later, the Josiah Venture, two of those couples, in conjunction with Sonlife Ministries and International Teams, had boots on the ground in Czechoslovakia and Poland. Josiah Venture grew, becoming an independent missions organization in 2002.
The operational model for the Josiah Venture team is to “Emmanuelize” (our word) by being living examples of Christ living among the young people of Europe. Their vision is not merely to count professions of faith, but to lead unbelievers to Christ and then to help them become passionate Christ-followers. According to their website, “The disciple-making process can be summed up in five primary challenges directly from the personal ministry of Jesus Christ:
|Come and see||EXPOSE|
|Repent and believe||EVANGELIZE|
|I will make you fishers of men||EQUIP|
|I am sending you||SEND|
Josiah Venture reaches out to the young people of Europe along four “Evangelistic Highways” where they live, where they gather, and where their interests lie.
- Fusion – The Music Highway. “Fusion is a network of youth rock/gospel choirs and performing arts groups that are based in and led by local churches,” ministering in camps, festivals, and workshops. JV uses the power music has to bring people together.
- Exit – The Schools Highway. Josiah Venture engages with students in public schools through an innovative prevention program to introduce those young people to a better way found only in Jesus Christ.
- Edge – The Sports Highway. Organized athletics has proven to be a highly successful evangelism tool. Josiah Venture uses structured sports to coach young people on what a well-played life looks like and to equip them to live that life.
- Speak English – The Language Highway. JV has partnered with local churches for more than 20 years to sponsor thousands of camp ministries where young people are taught conversational English as a second language using Bible-centered curricula.
Josiah Venture is active in the post-Christian culture in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
The fall of the Berlin Wall opened European nations to political freedom, but only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can offer spiritual freedom. Josiah Venture is taking that message of freedom along the highways that intersect with Europe’s youth and leading those young people to live passionately for Christ.
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