Evangelism is a strategic need in Central and Eastern Europe since evangelical believers number less than one half of one percent in most of the countries of the region. Within JV, we have created camps, Exit 316, and Fusion to serve as evangelistic tools to reach the next generation.
We use English, music, and sports camps as an effective model of evangelism for churches throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Camps provide a relational atmosphere for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with students who have rarely, if ever, heard the truth of who Christ is and what He has done for them.
In a typical year, close to 4,000 youth take part in JV summer evangelistic camps. Over a third of these are non-Christian students, many of whom are exposed to the gospel for the first time as a result of the week together. Several hundred make professions of faith each year.
Exit 316 is an 18-minute weekly television program that airs two to three times a week for 43 weeks throughout the school year. Music, interviews, stories, and true experiences give it authenticity.
Young people are sensitive to the style of their generation and to what is genuine and real as well. Because of that, the show is hosted by young people, and has a fast-paced, contemporary feel. It highlights real people and deals with genuine, relevant questions. Adding an unusual twist, the show is hosted by two angels who are reporting on the situation on earth for Heavenly TV. This allows them to represent God’s perspective and point to the unseen world.
The goal of Exit 316 is to explore the way of faith through the eyes of young people. In order to have a clear context, the way of faith is explained from a historical Christian perspective: faith in God, faith in Jesus, and faith in the Bible. The focus, however, is on the problems and challenges young people face: self worth, fear, relationships, addiction, honesty, doubt. In each of these categories, the hosts seek to discover how a young person would deal with this challenge on the way of faith. To understand more about the question, the hosts explore music, contemporary culture, stories, experiences of young people like themselves, and the teachings of the Bible.
Fusion is a project launched by Josiah Venture in January 2009 reaching un-churched youth through a network of youth rock/gospel choirs and performing arts groups based in and lead by local churches. During weekly rehearsals, the youth hear the gospel message and see Christ at work in the leaders and other Christian members. This ministry is already helping many local churches in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Slovenia reach almost 1,000 teens every week. Many of these have already put their faith in Christ and become active members of the local church community. God is now leading this ministry to further expand through Central & Eastern Europe, including both year-round projects and music/performing arts “rock camps”, workshops and festivals.