Ministry in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia-Herzegovina is a small country in southeastern Europe. Today it has a population of 3,817,000. It used to be one of the republics of the former country of Yugoslavia, and after the civil war from 1991-1995 and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, it became an internationally recognized country.
Three people groups live in Bosnia-Herzegovina—Bosniaks (Muslims), Croats (Catholics), and Serbs (Orthodox). The country is divided into two entities—the Federation of Bosniaks and Croats, and the Republika Srpska.
Evangelical Christianity is not very developed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is a very small number of Christians of about 450-500 believers within about twenty churches and several mission stations. However, although in small numbers, evangelical Christians are recognized as the only or fourth option that builds a bridge between the three main religions in Bosnia: Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Orthodoxy. As a result of the war of the 1990s, there is still strong interethnic and inter-religious antagonism, in which the awareness of each people group about its religious and national affiliation is very strong. This factor has been a major obstacle in the evangelization of Bosnia-Herzegovina for years. But we strive with God’s help to walk in faith and not by sight, and that is why we believe that God is moving things and that He will still cause a spiritual awakening in our country.
About 750,000 children, aged 7 to 15, live in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They mostly live and grow up within their national and religious circles depending on which nation they belong to, and because of this, they have almost never had the opportunity to hear the true message of the gospel of Jesus Christ that has the power to save anyone who believes.
The team and their call to the ministry
In 2015, the Child Evangelism Fellowship ministry (CEF) was established in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The first CEF workers in the country were Vladimir and Marijana Kajiš, who after completing the Children’s Ministry Leadership Course in Romania in 2016, started the ministry of reaching children for Christ. In 2019, they were joined by Samir and Melani Harušaj, so that the CEF Bosnia-Herzegovina team has 4 full-time workers.
The main ministries of CEF are starting regularly-held Good News Clubs, organzing summer camps, distributing childre’s literature, promoting the need for children’s ministry, and educating and training other believers for this ministry. Through these ministries, about 500 children are reached annually.
Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the children is a ministry that brings great joy and privileges but also responsibility, especially in the circumstances in which we live, because we want God to raise a new generation of faithful followers of Christ from among the children of Bosnia–Herzegovina.
Along with the call to ministry, God has given us a vision for our country. We believe that the future of our country and the first generation of our church lies in serving the next generations. As God’s Word speaks of God’s people Israel in Psalm 78:
2I will speak using stories. I will tell things that have been secret since long ago. 3We have heard them and know them. Our fathers told them to us. 4We will not keep them from our children. We will tell those who come later about the praises of the Lord. We will tell about his power and the miracles he has done. …..6Then their children would know them, even their children not yet born. And they would tell their children. 7So they would all trust God. They would not forget what God had done. Instead, they would obey his commands. 8They would not be like their ancestors who were stubborn and disobedient. Their hearts were not loyal to God. They were not true to him.
Our vision is to reach every child in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a great and almost impossible task, and we as individuals cannot accomplish it without God’s help and the cooperation of believers from our country and also Christians from other countries.
CEF's Vision for the Children of Bosnia-Herzegovina
We will tell those who come later about the praises of the Lord. We will tell about his power and the miracles he has done. … Then their children would know them, even their children not yet born. And they would tell their children. So they would all trust God… (Ps. 78:4;6-7)
The vision that God has placed in our hearts is to reach the youngest generations with the gospel, because we believe that the future of our church and our country is in them. In addition, no serious spiritual work with children has been developed in the already existing churches, which are mostly in their infancy. We believe that Child Evangelism Fellowship is a response to that need so that within our churches we can raise children to spiritual maturity. We want to see them be the future spiritual leaders and workers. Our plan is to present the need for children’s ministry throughout our country across all evangelical churches, and to seek coworkers with the goal of establishing a strong team for this ministry at the country level over time.