About

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Welcome to the Illyrian Gospel Trust website!  

Our aim is to help stimulate a church planting movement among the Albanian peoples beginning in Albania itself and moving out to the rest of the nations. We aim to help the planting of churches which are:

  • Self led – we believe that leadership is vital to the health of churches so we are committed to helping the development of Albanian church leaders.
  • Self supporting – our aim is to see Albanian churches able to not only support themselves but also to contribute to the planting of others.
  • Self reproducing – we want not only to see churches led by Albanians but to see these churches planting yet more churches themselves.
  • Self theologising – we want to help Albanian churches to mature sufficiently to be able to express the truth in their words rather than simply accept Western expressions of theology.


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The Challenge

The task of bringing the gospel to Albanians is an enormous one. Albania has a tiny evangelical church of between 2,000-4,000 believers out of total population of just over 3 million.

The first generation of believers after 45 years of the most ruthless communism ever seen in Eastern Europe is struggling for its very existence. In the early 1990’s there was an unprecedented growth in the church as thousands of people were saved and new churches were planted in towns and villages across the country. The number of missionaries per head of population was higher in Albania than anywhere else and there was an emerging generation of Albanian leaders who seemed poised to lead the church on to plan churches in every neighbourhood of every town and village.

However, several factors have hampered the growth of the church. The civil unrest of 1997 in Albania nearly halved the missionary force, many emerging leaders fell away because of a lack of financial support, the turnover of believers in local churches was staggering as many either emigrated or went to the capital city, Tirana, to find work and added to that has been the fact that the primary focus of missionary activity has been in Tirana leaving the churches in the provinces to flounder.

Not only that but many promising workers have been recruited by para-church organisations who have little or no link to the local church thus robbing it of vital resources. Kosova, Europe’s newest state, has a population of some 2 million, 90% of whom are Albanian and in desperate need of the gospel. There are more fingers on our hands than Albanian believers in Macedonia which has a large ethnic Albanian population and Albanians in Serbia and Montenegro are untouched.

There are over 600,000 Albanians in Greece who have only a handful of workers sharing the gospel with them, Italy has over 400,000 Albanians and the United States has countless thousands with only a few churches catering for them. Many thousands of Albanians can be found in Great Britain from London to Inverness.

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Where we work:

Currently the Illyrian Gospel Trust is supporting the work of Will and Doreta Niven who are serving in the “Way of Peace” churches in Fier and Patos. These churches, initially founded by missionaries from the European Christian Mission, are in the process of growing. Our aim is not only to see an indigenous leadership established in each church but to see these churches planting new fellowships in their area and beyond.

The Trust also is involved in supporting the Albanian Bible Institute in Durres and a number of other projects both humanitarian and church based. We also partner with the Albanian Evangelical Mission and John Blanchard to produce his evangelistic literature in Albanian.

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The Purpose of the Illyrian Gospel Trust

The purpose of the trust is to promote the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the planting of indigenous Albanian churches and to be a resource of Christian work and co-operation in general amongst the Albanian peoples wherever they may be.

■ To provide support for expatriate and indigenous Christian workers.

■ To raise awareness and promote opportunities for mission to Albanian peoples from amongst the churches of the United Kingdom.

■ To support the training of Albanian workers for Christian Leadership.

■ To plant indigenous churches amongst the Albanian peoples which will be self governing, self supporting and self propagating.

■ To identify new fields and ministry opportunities which could be opened by Albanian and expatriate workers.

■ To promote and assist in the propagation of Christian media in Albanian

■ To promote and assist in any educational and humanitarian work associated with the Albanian churches

■ To promote partnership with other likeminded groups.

 

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