Europe’s Backdoor for Drugs, Sex Trafficking, Jihadism—and the Gospel

Brian Jose | October 24, 2016

The Balkans: backdoor to Europe for illicit drugs, illegal weapons, Islamic extremism, human trafficking—and the gospel. 

Albania—modern day Illyricum (Rom. 15:19)—has a rough history. It was dominated by the Islamic Ottoman Empire for 500 years until the late 1800s. In 1967, it became the world’s first self-declared atheist state, and for the next 50 years suffered under a communism akin to North Korea’s. Who envisioned that it would emerge as a church planting engine for the Balkans? 

Since the end of communism in 1991, two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Albania has gone from having zero to more than 200 evangelical churches.

While foreign missionaries established the beachhead in the 1990s, and many are still active in church planting, a movement is emerging that crosses denominational lines. Approximately 25 churches were planted in 2015 by Albanian church planters. Many of these identify with “Church Planting 2020,” a network launched by Tirana (Albania’s capital city) pastors Kejdis Bakalli and Altin Kita with a view to see Albania’s churches double by the year 2020. 

What God Has Done

At a meeting with a small group of “2020” pastors recently, I reflected on the privilege of being among them. Back in…

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