The unseen crisis in Greece
Greece | OM InternationalToday’s headlines about Greece often describe a country in upheaval, where people yearn for social and political change. However, beneath the scenes of turmoil, Theo sees a different crisis altogether – and for the same reason, an opportunity for the gospel.
“We Greeks used to be very proud of our heritage and culture,” says Theo. “Many people would pride themselves in being Christian Orthodox – but I haven’t heard anybody saying that for a while.”
We want to have a clear message of God’s love for everybody to understand.
Theo is a native Greek, from a country where more than 97 per cent of the population are members of the Orthodox Church. Born into an evangelical family, Theo took his faith seriously at the age of 19 when he felt a call to “build up God’s church”. Today, he fulfils that calling as one of OM’s team members in Greece, where he seeks to make the gospel “culturally relevant”.
For Transform 2011, Theo is leading a team to Athens and Volos where they are partnering with churches to serve their needs. Among the various activities planned, the team will also do something rather unexpected—pick up rubbish from the streets alongside a local church leader. By doing so, Theo hopes to send a message that is not very far from the gospel itself.
“Can you imagine an Orthodox person asking us who we are and why we are doing this? And wondering how our leader could be working alongside us too? We want to have a clear message of God’s love for everybody to understand.”
Further down the road, Theo sees two main needs for the church in Greece – building disciples and planting more churches. “We have not yet found a way to do church in a sustainable, reproducible manner,” he says. Part of the solution, he notes, is to build a generation of Christian leaders. “We need to have a proper succession of leaders in the church—that is something we’ve not had before.”
Nonetheless, while the challenges loom large, Theo believes that the ongoing crisis will soften hearts for the gospel. “At a time like this we realise that we have cast God aside. We’ve never truly been Christian, but rather nominal, cultural Christians. It was more about culture and national identity than real, transforming faith.”
Come work in the harvest
And yet, while the harvest is ready, the workers are few. For this reason, Theo urges people to pray for Greece and to think about helping the team. “We would love to have more people join us. We really believe that Greece is a fertile ground, but we don’t know how long this will last.” For more information, contact OM Greece.