Since emerging from decades of Communist rule, Romania has experienced dramatic economic growth. Still the average monthly household income is only 550 EUR (600 USD). Cluj is Romania’s second-largest city, after the capital of Bucharest, and is a thriving center for culture and the arts. With 11 universities and more than 100,000 students from Europe and beyond, Cluj was named the 2015 European Youth Capital. Some of these students are the children and grandchildren of ethnic Hungarians who experienced tremendous spiritual revival during Romania’s Communist era. While genuinely valuing the spiritual heritage of earlier generations, many struggle to find and express their own faith in a rapidly changing world.
The Serge team in Cluj serves primarily among Romanian-born Hungarians through a university student ministry, publishing house, addiction recovery ministry, Montessori school, and Kinship, a local adaptation of Serge’s Sonship course. The team also works closely with those involved in Cluj’s fine arts and theater communities that are creatively searching for ways to come to terms with the trauma of the nation’s Communist past.
The team strives for a spirit of mutual mentorship between their host community, visitors, and team members. They believe that members of Christ’s Church, made up of people coming from both east and west, have much to teach each other.
Recently, the team has explored opportunities to work among Roma people who live at the outskirts of the city.
Members of the Serge team have lived and worked in Romania since 1996, when a married couple was invited to assist in an indigenous ministry among artists and university students in Cluj. Today there are two weekly Bible study groups, a weekly prayer meeting, and individual meetings throughout the week. The Serge team offers prayer and encouragement, as well as help in discipleship and in organizational planning and visioning. The team seeks to bridge the gap between generations, while receiving the local community’s hospitality with gratitude.
A monthly worship service in English has also drawn interest from university students, leading the Serge team and local leaders to pursue planting an English speaking international church in Cluj.
Building the Team
The Serge team in Cluj seeks to form a church-planting team consisting of pastors, mentors, disciplers, evangelists, and administrators, who will work alongside an indigenous pastor to grow an English-speaking church in the city. There is also a need for counselors to work with university students and business-minded individuals who have a passion for ministry. We also seek team members who have gifting in caring for the poor and marginalized.
- For God to bring complementary people to the team as they are needed;
- For the Kinship course, that it would have an impact locally and internationally, offering grace and hope;
- For the university ministry, both the Hungarian- and English-language Bible study groups, that the Holy Spirit would transform people beyond what is humanly possible;
- For God to continue to guide clearly about the possibility of an English-speaking international church;
- For natural mentorship across generations;
- For the younger generations, that the gospel would penetrate their hearts and that God would give them a missional calling as future leaders of the community.
The Romania Leadership Fund provides scholarships to local students and young professionals, enabling them to participate in training opportunities like the Kinship course. The people of Romania still have limited discretionary funding, which means outside funding for training events is still crucial.