During the last two decades, hundreds of new Baptist churches have emerged in Europe and they are now the spiritual home for several thousand new Christians. The Estonian Baptists have their share in this exciting venture.
Introduction to Estonia
Estonia is one of the Baltic countries. The country is inhabited by about 1,3 million people and nearly one-third of its population lives in the capital city of Tallinn. The Lutheran Church is a leading denomination, followed by the Orthodox Church and the Baptists being the third religious group. There are also Roman Catholics and Pentecostals, as well as other religious minorities.
Since Estonia regained independence in 1990 after the 50-year long Soviet dominion, people have been taking the opportunity to discover new freedoms. It also applies to sharing the Gospel and church planting even though Estonia is considered the most secularized nation in Eastern Europe.
The history of the Baptist Union goes back to the national awakening in 1876 which came from Sweden to Western Estonia. In the early days, the revival spread mainly among farmers. In 1884 the first Estonian Baptist church was started in Haapsalu. From that time on Baptist churches were multiplied across the country. The period of Soviet dominion 1940 – 1990 seriously hampered the growth of Baptist work. Baptist activities were allowed only in church buildings and leaders were regularly interrogated by the communists.
Currently the Union of Evangelical Christian and Baptist Churches of Estonia numbers almost 6500 members who worship in 85 local congregations.
Church Planting Program
The general secretary of Baptist Union, Sven-Joonatan Siibak, shares with EBF: “Our Seminary offers a course on church planting. Teachers share their rich experience and appropriate knowledge with students. Our church planters implement the M4 training method which is very contextual to Europe. It succors leaders to assess and recognize those who are ready for the job. In recent years the prevailing model of church planting has been an organic / community based.”
Church Plant K13 in Tallin - Ülemiste
Church planter Erki writes in his recent reports:
The K13 Church Plant started shortly before the pandemic Covid-19 hit the world. In the aftermath, we were forced to meet for Bible study and prayer using a zoom platform. We also managed to organize a campaign on our website www.1k13.ee. As a result, we got several new contacts who joined our group.
There is no traditional preaching in our meetings, but only sharing the Word of God that is followed by a conversation. In addition, I mentor 2 men. We take part in the life of our community in order to get to know people and build trustful relationships. We also find business chaplaincy as a good way to work among people in the Ülemiste business area. We are looking for a hall to rent.
In October we celebrated the first anniversary of the K13 - Christian Fellowship. During Advent Time we did a Christmas concert which was streamed through social media channels. It is by God’s grace that we are here, alive and the vision of a congregation of Jesus’ followers is taking shape.
The first half of 2021 was again overshadowed by Covid-19. Especially, the beginning of the year brought a disappointment. After a nice feeling of success at the end of last year, in March all face to face meetings were forbidden and we were again linked by zoom.
Discipleship ministry is growing, our people share the gospel with coworkers in business. Through all this time we have done a lot of personal work with several people. When the weather became warmer we started to meet in a local park.
Some of our man’s wives are not Christian yet, but they gladly take part in our meetings. Also, the newcomers need prayers for their personal life and different family issues. This is one of our important prayer requests. We are thankful to God for what He has done among us through the last months! We all need each other on this exciting journey!
Team building and leaders training is going on. Sven is now a strong leader helping me. His business office became a place for meetings with people who chat and pray together. In September Sven celebrated his birthday and invited his many friends - business partners. He himself shared his conversion story with them. I marvel at seeing his growth in faith and expanding influence!
We organize large meetings once a month in rented halls which are streamed online. We are so thankful to God for what He has done so far. We have seen many miracles and changed lives. Many of those who have come to Christ now regularly visit our meetings. Pray with us that many more who already heard the gospel may join our group.
Your prayers for the Baptist mission work in Estonia are greatly valued!
Daniel Trusiewicz, EBF Mission Coordinator