Croatia Brief History
For 50 years, Croatia was one of the six republics within the communist country of Yugoslavia. In the early 1990's, the fall of communism lead to a brutal civil war that cost thousands of lives, displaced many people and devastated the economy. Though Croatia gained its independence and international recognition early on, the recovery has been slow. As a post-communist country, Croatia has reverted to its ethno-religious roots of Catholicism that date back to the eighth century. Most Croatians identify themselves as Roman Catholic although many would openly acknowledge their faith as nominal. The countryside is speckled with old stone churches, but most of them are empty and only cultural points of interest.
Out of 4.5 million people, less than 0.5% identify themselves as evangelical believers. The majority of those come from Baptist, Pentecostal and similar backgrounds. Both communist and Catholic environments have pressed the evangelical church to turn inward thus weakening its ability to lead spiritual transformation in the country.
In light of the small number of believers, Josiah Venture's primary focus in Croatia is evangelism and discipleship of youth. We partner with local evangelical churches to equip and develop young people in their faith. Our prayer is to see the existing churches revived and new churches planted through the infusion of young believers and reproducible youth ministries. New forms of church could bridge the gap between young people disillusioned with traditional religion, yet hungry for something real and genuine in their lives.