Bosnia & Hercegovina
In the midst of unemployment and corruption, young evangelical churches are spreading the Gospel of Hope in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Our vision is to see Vibrant Communities of Jesus Followers among the least reached people of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) by engaging and discipling them to become faithful followers of Christ as well as to strengthen, support and motivate local churches in their ministry.
The Bosnian War of 1992-1995 devasted the newly formed country as it began its independence from Yugoslavia. Strong ethnic and religious divides came to the fore as whole villages were burnt and the once majestic Sarajevo Olympic stadium and its surrounding sports fields were turned into graveyards. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people lost their lives and nearly two million left the country seeking refuge.
After the signing of a peace accord in December 1995, a painful peace and reconciliation process started along with the rebuilding of the country. Twenty-five years later, the economy is still in ruins, unemployment and corruption are at their highest points, ethnic and religious divides still run deep and young people continue to migrate to seek a better life.
In the midst of this, the young and small communities of Jesus followers are spreading the Gospel of Hope. Before the war, there were only three evangelical churches in the whole country. Now, there are about 25 to 30 small fellowships containing between 700 and 800 believers. Most of the current pastors and local workers found the Lord of Hope at the end of the war, and they are committed to helping their people come to know Him too.
OM started working in BiH in 1998. We currently have a team based in Sarajevo and another in the northwestern city of Bihać, and we are developing an arts team in the southern city of Čapljina.
About the Country
Bosnia-Hercegovina is on the Balkan peninsula, in Southern Europe, bordered by Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. It is divided into two entities, the Serbian Republic (49% of the territory) and the Muslim-Croat Federation (51% of the territory), with its capital in Sarajevo. The population is estimated at 4 million people, consisting of Bosniaks (44%), Serbs (31%) and Croats (17%).
Major religions include Islam (Bosniaks), Orthodoxy (Serbs) and Catholicism (Croats), with evangelical Christians numbering 800-1'000 people. Due to the recent war and political instability, the country is still struggling economically. The political leadership system is corrupt and complicated and unemployment rates are very high (50-70% in some areas). People are starting to lose hope for better future.
- Church Planting: OM is directly supporting the work of the small community of Jesus’ followers already existing in Bihać and reaching out to locals and people from other nationalities. Our prayer is that more people could join us in the task of bringing the love of Jesus to other northwestern cities that have no gospel engagement at all.
- Relief: Our teams in Bihać and Sarajevo are ministering to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants that have been crossing the country since 2017 by providing relief spaces for physical, emotional and spiritual care, following the Lord’s values of mercy, compassion and love for neighbours.
- Literature: We believe in the value of good books! Together with our partners in OM EAST, our team has helped get many books published in the local language and oversees their distribution around the Balkan region. We are also innovating new resources for reaching the next generations.
- Arts: Our team in Čapljina is using different artistic expressions as a platform for seeking out spiritually open people, having the opportunity to naturally engage with members of the community within a safe place for creating new, significant and deep relationships and thus share the love of Christ with them.
- Local church support: Apart from the direct involvement that our team has with the church in Bihać, our team in Sarajevo is directly involved in supporting local communities of Jesus followers through teaching, discipleship, worship, counselling and visition, as well as doing kids and youth work.
- For more people to join our efforts to see more Jesus followers among those in BiH who haven’t personally experienced His love
- For reconciliation, healing and genuine forgiveness among people historically involved in different ethnic-religious conflicts
- For the spiritual growth of the Body of Christ and bold proclamations of the gospel to neighbours
- For the local communities of Jesus followers—together with faith-based organisations—to respond in love, mercy and grace to the ongoing refugee-migrant crisis
- For united efforts to rebuild the shattered economy of the country: new sources of employment, development of industry and a halt to corruption.
You can financially support the work of OM in Bosnia and Herzegovina here.