SOBERING REALITY

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Dear Praying Friends,

It’s hard to believe but it has been over 2 years since we’ve moved to the U.S. to help launch a new ministry within Cru called Church Movements. We’ve experienced what Paul describes so well:“Wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” [1Cor 16:9] There is UNBELIEVABLE progress we’ve seen in the past two years. But before we share those, let us share with you the sobering reality that gives us a growing burden and motivates us.

SOBERING REALITY(1)

  • Currently the U.S. is the 4th largest unchurched nationin the world with more than 200 million unchurched people.

  • In 2016 48% of Americans(160 million) defined themselves as post-Christian(someone who doesn’t believe in God, in the Bible, in Jesus) and that number is growing 4% each year.

  • There are361 unreached people groups(UPG) in the U.S., making us the nation with the 3rd largest number of UPGs. 13.5% of the U.S. population (37.5 million) are foreign born immigrants from unreached people groups.

  • There are 10 States where 96%[!] of the population are unchurchedand there are 100 counties in the U.S. where the evangelicals are less than 2% of the population. Would it surprise you that even in the South, in Texas, 74% of the population is unchurched?

  • Atheism doubledin Generation Z (the age group of 13-19 years old).

  • Only 17% of church-goers have heard the Great Commission and know what it means. Half of the church-going, Christ-confessing millennials are saying that it is morally wrong to evangelize.

  • 80% of the churches in the U.S. are declining.And although 16% are growing, but they are growing not through conversion but through addition from other churches. Only 3.6% are growing through conversion and almost 0% are multiplying (which should be the biblical model).

Every research shows that churches in the U.S. are rapidly declining, increasingly secularizing and becoming less and less mission-focused

These stats are screaming to us with a demand for radical change. Ed Stetzer writes:“It’s becoming clear that our churches in North America… have lost their once fervent passion for missions work… many in the church are largely DISENGAGED or, worse, SIMPLY DISINTERESTED.” 

In light of these realities you might not be surprised by a comment a student made during our summer mission in Kansas City: “Why did a Hungarian missionary have to come and tell us things we’ve never heard in our churches?”What they’ve heard from us was nothing that can’t be found in the Bible.
(1.) SOURE OF RESEARCHES

ENCOURAGING PROGRESS

Two years ago we’ve arrived with trembling hearts into a totally insecure situation in every possible way. The mandate was clear from Cru leadership to help launch - with Dave and Karen RobinsonChurch Movementswithin Cru to partner to make Jesus known, multiply the church and serve the city. In the past 2 years, by God’s grace, we’ve seen great progress. 

Here are a few highlights of the past 2 years:

  • Major partnerships had been established with key players (denominations, mission organizations and networks).

  • Direction, alignment and organizational structure is established to support the mission of Cru Church Movements.

  • Our team partnered to plant 61 churches in 8 cities since May 2017.

  • In 24 months the staff team grew with 22 new staff, from 41 staff to 63 staff; we have added 5 new cities to our team (now we are in total of 26 cities).

  • The local Kansas City team grew from 7 to 15full-time staff.

  • The Changing Face of Evangelism & the Well-being of the Cityevangelism training is packaged and is multiplying. Over 1,600 people went through the training in 13 cities. 25 new Master trainersare trained who themselves will train others.

  • A faith-community multiplication tool and process [called Sent 6:7] is developed and test piloted. In 6 months we’ve seen multiplication from 4 groups to 21 groupsin Kansas City.

  • Over 4,700 people had been trainedin different kind of evangelism trainings and workshops by our staff team.

  • Church Movement staff ledmore than 1,100 people to become professing new believers.

  • In the City for the Citysummer missions in KC was a life-changing time for many students and became a model for immersing students into ministry outside of their campus world.

  • YTL [Youth at the Threshold of Life curriculum which we’ve developed in Hungary and utilized in 62 countries] translation is finished[yes ALL 600 pages!] and now we are in the process of editing, proofreading and typesetting.

  • International partnerships are established with Western-Europe, Latin-America, Australia, New-Zeland and East Asia.

The list could go on! We’ve never seen such significant progress in such short time! A wide open door of effective work has been given to us with a growing and enthusiastic team. What a tremendous privilege to be a part of this and help co-lead this effort! Both the NEED and GOD’S FAVOR is obvious!

REALITY DEMANDS CHANGE

Millions of believers need to wake up to their call as ambassadors of Christ; need to be committed to get equipped to do the mission of Jesus and need to be willing to change their individual priorities, their lifestyle, their schedule and their customs. Pastors and church leaders need to be willing to break old paradigms in order to mobilize and equip millions of believers for the mission. Change is hard and risky, but it’s an absolute must! Otherwise, we’ll leave this world in a much worse state than it was when we’ve arrived in to it. Our God is on a mission to rescue people from hell! The greatest adversary of God’s mission is the Christian who is not awakened to the reality that we are the children of the Almighty God, that we are the citizens of His Heavenly Kingdom and that we are the recipients of His love, grace and power. 

The Kingdom of God is advancing through sacrifices.There is no other way around it. It is advancing through people who are loving Him more than their own families; it’s advancing through people who are willing to give up everything; it’s advancing through risk-takers, pioneering leaders who are willing to embark into the unknown; it’s advancing through people who are willing to repent and are willing to pray, to go and to give for the mission of Jesus. It’s easier to make those sacrifices if we love Him! Perhaps, the sobering reality shows that millions of believers have exchanged their love for Jesus for the love of what they could get from Him. Perhaps the gifts became more loved than the Giver. This moment in God’s mission demands bold, faith-filled risk takers. Pray with us that millions of believers in this country would awaken to their reality in Christ! 

Your partnership is critical and greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for standing with us in this mission!

Advancing the Kingdom of God together,

Gabor and Edina

online giving: give.cru.org/0636800
www.churchmovements.com

"It Bursted My Bubble..."

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Students from 7 States joined us to share the gospel, move to the broken and learn about the reality of gospel-ministry in adult life. Getting immersed into the reality and pain of the city “bursted the bubble” most of these students are coming from. Moving out from their protected, predictable life, being exposed to the brokenness of our world and for the VERY FIRST TIME in their life sharing Christ to the broad variety of society, and leading others to saving faith wrecked their world. As one student wrote:

“My heart has been broken several times over the course of these three weeks. I am leaving with an overwhelming sense of duty but also an immense amount of hope I saw the Lord show up time and time again. I saw Jesus show up as I comforted and shared the Gospel with a woman whose son had been shot the day before she met me and was fleeing for safety. For the first time in my life I saw reconciliation between white and black friends as we served Jesus alongside each other.”

They’ve learned how to move into the brokenness and lostness of our age with hope and confidence by sharing the gospel and showing the love of Christ. We’ve laughed together and cried together; we’ve heard horrific stories of exploitation and despair and saw restoration and healing of the soul. It’s impossible to share the hundreds of hours we’ve served together with these students and how many segments of the city we’ve had the opportunity to share the love of Christ with together. We’ll only be able to highlight few encouraging moments.

“FIRST FRIDAY”

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On the first Friday of June KC celebrates art. Tens of thousands of people gather and walk around exploring the presentations and products of various artists. We were there with approaching people with two different evangelistic tools that help generate conversations around art and city problems (Soularium and Life in the City). We saw God at work. We initiated with 179 people, saw 2 women indicate a decision for Christ in the most precious way, and have 37 of those 179 who want to meet again to further explore their spiritual journey toward God. He led us to them and them to us! People searching for the Lord - for answers, for truth, for peace - engaged us on a wide scale.

“STORY OF THE SOUL”

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At “Story of the Soul” we utilize art to highlight a longing or a wound of the human soul and through that we communicate the gospel. Over 130 came to this interactive coffee-house experience, 94 turned in a comment card and 2 indicated a decision for Christ. Here are some of the comments people wrote:

“I lost my dad to suicide just under three months ago and I’ve been really struggling seeing the beauty and God’s grace. Today helped restore that in me. Thank you!” (this person put her faith in Christ)
“I came last year and it changed my life. Today I woke up sick and tired. I’m thrilled that I made it.” (this person also put her faith in Christ)
“It was a nice experience for me, as it was my very first time in a church. Thanks!” (a Kurd in the USA)
“It hit home in a time of despair and struggle.”
“I think this was a beautiful way to see the hope only found in Jesus Christ.”

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“VOICES UNSILENCED”

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Voices Unsilenced gave three city leaders a platform to share their burden for the city and the hope they experience as the Church engages in lifting the oppression of the commercial sex industry, celebrating the diversity of the people God created, and multiplying disciples who make Jesus known as they serve the city. Our eyes were opened and our world were wrecked!