Home Blog

Nurturing Local Churches

0
nurturing local churches

Salt Ventures is committed to nurturing local churches in the Balkans. One of the most important ways we can serve our Christian brothers and sisters is by supporting their efforts to plant, grow, and reproduce faithful local expressions of the body of Christ.

Too often when we focus on evangelism and personal disciple making, we overlook the need to nurture the local church as well. The church is God’s chosen instrument for fellowship and Christian growth, and healthy local churches are an important testimony of God’s grace, love, and action in the world.

Nurturing Local Churches in the Bulgarian Free Church

Our primary vehicle for nurturing local churches is the Bulgarian Free Church. Serving Holy Trinity Church, now an independent church in Sofia, Bulgaria, was one of our first projects as an organization when Salt Ventures was created over 10 years ago.

Today we still support the Bulgarian Free Church and its church planting efforts around Bulgaria, including congregations meeting in Vidin, Varna, Asparuhovo and Staro Oryahovo.

Nurturing Local Churches Around the Balkans

We rejoice in the opportunity to encourage local churches, minister to them and with them, and worship together as brothers and sisters in Christ. In addition to our efforts within the Bulgarian Free Church, we support local churches of all denominations, with a particular emphasis on churches located in the towns and cities where we have other work.

Over the years we have developed friendly relations with many churches around the Balkans. We do what we can to support them from time to time, without interfering in their church government or pressuring their leaders to be like us. We recognize that local contexts and cultures lead to diverse local expressions of the Christian Church, and do not consider conformity of worship style, liturgy, or service order necessary to enjoy fellowship together.

Sharing the Gospel

0
sharing the gospel

Sharing the Gospel is of utmost importance for every Christian church, and a cornerstone of the individual Christian life. We encourage all believers to participate in the evangelistic outreach of their local church fellowship and master the art of sharing one’s faith with friends and neighbors in community.

Salt Ventures Sharing the Gospel Around the Balkans

Salt Ventures is primarily an evangelistic organization, sharing the Gospel in both formal and informal settings. We start churches through the Bulgarian Free Church, providing fellowship, encouragement and accountability to pastors and lay leaders throughout the association. We make ourselves available for preaching, teaching and pastoral services there and in other churches who ask for our assistance.

Through local churches, Salt Ventures supports community bible studies, youth ministries, vacation Bible schools, and Christian camps.

We encourage all Salt Ventures workers to develop personal means of sharing the gospel, including friendship evangelism, community bible studies, volunteerism, and active participation in local church ministries.

 

 

Developing Leaders Through Theological Education

0
developing leaders

Salt Ventures is committed to raising up the next generation of leaders for Balkan churches and society. Developing leaders is a particular challenge in this part of Europe, where years of oppression and social disruption have weakened public institutions throughout society and driven many talented individuals to seek a prosperous future somewhere else in the world.

Leadership development requires a large investment of time and resources, by qualified professionals, in order to achieve success. Salt Ventures has committed a significant portion of our attention and resources to this vital task.

Developing Leaders Through the St. Trivelius Institute

St. Trivelius Institute is the primary institution through which Salt Ventures works to provide training for pastors, lay leaders, and others interested in education from a Christian perspective. Salt Ventures provides direction, regular faculty, guest instructors, fundraising, and administrative support to the school.

About St. Trivelius Institute

St. Trivelius Institute is the largest and most diverse Protestant theological training school in Bulgaria. Built upon a heritage of committed believers meeting secretly during the Communist era, the current school is the spiritual successor of the Bulgarian Biblical Academy “Logos” and the former United Theological Faculty of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute. St. Trivelius Institute is committed to teaching from an historical, biblical Christian perspective, preparing kingdom workers to serve the church and society in Bulgaria, the Balkans, and beyond.

St. Trivelius Institute welcomes students from all walks of life to participate in its degree programs and other educational activities. Students hail from many different countries and ethnic groups. School graduates work around the world, in all sectors of society.

Offerings include multiple BA, MA, and certificate level programs with specializations for particular areas of interest and vocation. The school operates from a headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria, with satellite centers in Burgas, Varna, Stara Zagora, Sliven/Yambol, Pazardzhik, and Sandanski.

Inquiries by potential instructors are welcome. For more information about educational opportunities and events, visit St Trivelius Institute online.

 

 

Serving Communities

0
Salt Ventures

Transforming Lives

0
transforming lives

Transforming lives is the heart of the Salt Ventures mission in the Balkans.

The post-communist era has not been kind to the Balkan people. Rapid industrial decline, depopulation, and crumbling social institutions have resulted in difficult and stressful life situations for families and individuals throughout the region. One of the worst tragedies has been the loss of opportunity for many Balkan children to achieve their full potential.

How Salt Ventures is Transforming Lives in the Balkans

Salt Ventures is a leader in developing long term solutions for transforming lives in the Balkans. Keeping in mind our goal of earning the right to share the Gospel with our neighbors, we work long and hard to address the immediate felt needs of children and families who have fallen on tough times or who have been marginalized in society.

Our primary vehicle for touching the lives of children and families is the PINK Foundation, a Bulgarian registered charity organized for public benefit around the country. The PINK Foundation operates a life transformation program for children and families at risk, enlisting local governments, schools, churches, and civic institutions to unlock potential in the lives of children and youth. The PINK Program emphasizes five specific areas of personal development: socialization, education, health and hygiene, community service and job skills/life skills.

Community Programs Transforming Lives in the Balkans

Salt Ventures supports independent programs that offer educational opportunities to local children and youth. The BEST Foundation operates English language speech and debate tournaments in Bulgaria, transforming the lives of promising youth who gain valuable communication skills and experience. The Bulgarian national English Language Spelling Bee challenges Bulgarian students to improve their english skills as they compete for local, regional and national honors.

Transforming Lives Through Christian Outreach

Salt Ventures works through the Bulgarian Free Church to plant and nurture churches and encourage individual Christians in their personal walk with the Lord. We support local churches of all kinds who ask for our help, and were instrumental in bringing Young Life to the Balkans for ministry to teens and youth.

Making Friends

0
Salt Ventures making friends

Making friends is one of the most important things we do. At Salt Ventures, we realize the importance of demonstrating the love of Christ in the communities where we work. If we expect our neighbors, colleagues, customers, vendors, and friends to listen to what we have to say, we need to live up to the message we preach.

 

Building Bridges in Society

0
building bridges in society

Salt Ventures is building bridges in society through municipal partnerships, community service projects, programs for at risk children and youth, schools and educational institutions, church bodies, ecumenical activities, and humanitarian aid.

Building Bridges through Welcome to Bulgaria

Welcome to Bulgaria is a relocation and destination services company based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Started as an agency to support visa applicants, primarily church and other non-profit workers moving to Bulgaria, over the years it has developed into a model service sector company demonstrating good business practices, social action, and community development. Welcome to Bulgaria sponsors projects of its own, organizes projects for others, and provides human resources, equipment, and financial assistance to worthwhile projects on an ad hoc basis around Bulgaria. For more information, visit Welcome to Bulgaria online.

Building Bridges through the PINK Foundation

The PINK Foundation operates a life transformation program for children and families at risk, building bridges in society to improve prospects for children throughout the Balkans. Built upon the conviction that all children deserve a fair chance to live a happy, healthy, and productive life, the PINK Program engages whole communities to equip children and youth in five distinct disciplines: Socialization, education, health and hygiene, community service, and life skills/job skills. For more information, visit the PINK Foundation online.

Building Bridges through Worker Bee Tours

Worker Bee Tours is a specialized tour operator based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Established in 2016, Worker Bee Tours organizes volunteer travel opportunities for individuals and groups. Built on over 15 years of experience organizing and fulfilling community service projects throughout the Balkans, current offerings include volunteer opportunities serving one or two week service projects, educational activities, outdoor adventures, church programs and summer camps in Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Greece. For more information, visit Worker Bee Tours online.

Fundraising Books for Missionaries

0
fundraising books collage

Fundraising can be scary. So scary, in fact, that it is one of the major obstacles preventing otherwise serious missionary candidates from ever making it to the mission field. Fortunately there are a lot of fundraising books and other useful resources available to help missionary candidates develop a successful fundraising plan. We hope this list of fundraising books will help even the most reticent candidate gain the tools, confidence and skill to become an exemplary fundraiser for their work.

Fundraising Books for Missionaries

fundraising book nouwenA Spirituality of Fundraising

By Henri J. M. Nouwen

This small booklet explores the spiritual foundations of fundraising and the blessings that accrue to both the donor and recipient when generous giving joins people together. Nouwen approaches fundraising as an integral part of ministry through which needs and resources become the building blocks of spiritual vitality and authentic relationships.  Get it now

 

fundraising books barnett

Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team that Lasts

By Betty Barnett

A practical how-to for the aspiring missionary. Focuses on sincerity, generosity, relationships, and communication. Includes a valuable chapter on hindrances that get in the way of effective team building. Some of the recommendations are a bit dated, but easily reimagined for our always connected world. Get it now

 

fundraising books morton bookcoverFunding Your Ministry:An In-Depth, Biblical Guide for Successfully Raising Personal Support

By Scott Morton

Perhaps the most important aspect of this book is its guidance about how God views ministry, missions, and finances. Provides help to overcome fear, rejection and disappointment, which is an important component on the way to support raising success. Good use of images. Includes useful bible studies in an appendix. Get it now

 

fundraising books missionary lettersHow to Write Missionary Letters

By Alvera Mickelson

A practical guide to writing engaging, memorable letters to describe your work. Helpful hints, instructions and advice for producing letters that connect with potential donors. The chapter on Principles to Practice is a must read and sure to benefit even the most experienced letter writers. Get it now

 

 

fundraising books people raisingPeople Raising: A Practical Guide to Raising Support

By William P. Dillon

A step-by-step manual for people ready to start the support raising process. A very useful book for first time fundraisers, especially those unfamiliar with the practical requirements and social dynamics of asking other people for money. It’s like having a personal coach at your shoulder, helping you every step along the way. Get it now

 

writing a winning support letter bookcoverWriting a Winning Support Letter: A Copywriter’s Secrets to Missions and Fundraising Letters that Save You Time and Increase Donations

By Mike Kim

A how-to guide for writing missionary support letters. Written by a marketing expert, this book gives you all of the guidance you need to craft an effective written campaign. A simple explanation of the strategy behind effective sales letters, combined with step by step instructions for creating a compelling letter of your own make this a great tool. A blessing for anyone who struggles with the written word. Get it now

More Missions Resources

Young Life European Service Project 2014

0

Mid way through April 2014, a group of 280 teenagers descended on the town of Pernik for a week. It was an international group, with kids coming from England, Germany, Brussels and Switzerland as well as a great team of leaders who originated mainly from the United States.

YLSP20142

Students from international schools need to partake in a certain amount of service work hours per year, and so Young Life (who already had a ministry presence in many international schools around Europe) decided to combine this with a traditional Young Life camp set up to create the Service Project. Day to day the students would go in their groups to a work site at one of six schools and help to build a new playground for the students.

Despite the recent nice weather that has been gracing Bulgaria, the tides turned just in time for the group to arrive. Cold and rain were the theme of the week, with it even snowing on one day, but work continued without delays. All of the kids worked hard through some less than ideal conditions and got all of the playgrounds finished by the end of the week, even having time to celebrate with the schools on their final day.

YLSP20143

In the evenings, Young Life put on clubs for all those involved. Each club was comprised of some songs being sung together, games and entertainment and then a short talk. Night by night through these talks the gospel was presented to the kids. They also had a chance to discuss what they had heard with their leaders from their local area. It was a wonderful opportunity for some of them to explore their faith for the first time and an example of Young Life’s belief that every kid has the right to hear the gospel and make an informed decision about it.

Throughout the week there was much fun had, with late night pizza, square dances and even a concert to entertain all of the kids. The laughter and

enjoyment that everyone got out of the activities and the work that they did certainly had an impact on the visiting groups, and we hope on the local community too.

YLSP2014

Young Life Czech Service Project 2009

0

Unloading woodYoung Life Czech Republic led a group of Czech youth to Bulgaria last week to take part in a joint service project with Bulgarian teens at the public kindergarten in Tran. A couple of visiting Americans also volunteered for the project, so we wound up with quite a lot of variety in terms of background and personality. It was fun!

The purpose of the trip was two fold.  First, we wanted to find a worthwhile project that would be of service to society.  We asked Albena Krusheva of Welcome to Bulgaria  to come up with something for us and she pointed us towards Tran.  She is well known in the town because of her work among children in the orphanage that used to be there.  She asked around and realized the public kindergarten could use some help.  She also knew from experience with previous Young Life service projects that Young Life knows how to build and renovate playground equipment.  The kindergarten playground was in terrible shape.  So the service part of the project came together easily.

Everybody climb aboard!The second goal was to give Czech and Bulgarian teens the opportunity to make new friends from another country.  We thought that would be a little bit harder due to language barriers, but for the most part the teens were able to find a way to communicate.  Despite being from different countries, they naturally had a lot in common.  Teen interests and concerns seem to be similar everywhere.

The daily schedule was breakfast at the hostel, then work at the kindergarten until 4 pm, although most days at least a few stayed later.  The last day the whole team was there until 6 pm finishing up.  In the evenings we had dinner and then a short program of singing and a talk about service, which was the theme developed in the week.  Each night ended with small group sessions in which we got to know each other better and talked about the day or anything else that came up.  The town graciously gave us free accommodations at the hostel, which was a real upgrade from our original plan to stay in tents.  Many of the meals we prepared ourselves, with a four person team assigned to food each day.  My favorite was our barbecue at the Erma Gorge.

One difference we noticed was that the Czech team was more cohesive than the Bulgarian team.  Most of the Czechs have been meeting together regularly for over two years, so they were already close friends.  The Bulgarian team was assembled from different places, so most of them did not know the others before the project.  I think the camaraderie of the Czech group was a good example of what we can develop among Bulgarians as we develop Young Life here as well.

Super SashoAn unexpected blessing of the week was having some of the youth from the former orphanage in Tran participate in the project.  At least one of the Czechs mentioned how watching them work challenged what he had always been told about the Roma.  Instead of the lazy people he expected, he found them to be well skilled, hard working and serious about doing a good job.  So we can add breaking down stereotypes as an additional positive outcome for the project.

What do you think about this kind of event? Please leave a comment below!

And don’t forget to check out our photo album:

[nggallery id=4]