Here is the text of why I believe Austria is a valid missions field. Just in case any of you might wonder.
Is Austria a valid mission field?
While no one has come right out and said it the question of whether Austria is as valid a mission field as China, Iran, Afghanistan, or some other closed or impoverished country is a question I know a lot of people have. My short answer to this is yes it is. Below is my elaboration on that.
Despite what most people assume Austria is not a Post-Christian country; it is a Pre-Christian country. In all of Austrian history, Protestant Christianity has never had a foothold. Whenever it came to Austria, Protestantism was stamped out by the Catholic Church before it could take root. However, in the last 10-20 years missionaries have begun to make an impact in Austria. While the last figures we have seen indicate only about 1% of Austrians are Bible believing Christians, missionaries we know involved in pastoring and evangelism say that a real stirring is beginning and that they believe God is getting ready to do some amazing things, things that have never occurred in it’s history.
The work that God is doing in Austria right now requires missionaries, as the church in Austria is not yet large enough or strong enough to support itself. The church in Austria is so new that the Christians are basically all first generational. That means that right now there are few indigenous Austrian Christian leaders. The vast majority of the Austrian churches are pastored by missionaries simply because there are very few trained Austrian pastors. Three big things work against creating more Austrian pastors: educational opportunities, cultural barriers, and finances. By educational opportunities I mean that there are no seminaries or Bible schools in Austria. In order to gain an seminary education Austrians need to leave the country, which has its financial burdens attached to it. The cultural barrier is that Austrians by nature do not like to make decisions; Austrians strongly prefer making decisions in committee; they are very uncomfortable leading. This has obvious implications with pastoring a church. Finally, there is the problem of finances: most Austrian congregations are relatively small, about 40-60 people. A congregation this small can’t support a full time pastor and facility rental. On the same note, a congregation that size can’t rent the facilities needed to grow the church so that the church can in turn grow its congregation. Even the church we attend, which by Austrian standards is a mega church at around 350-400 people, is staffed by missionaries and can’t afford to pay its secretaries.
So why am I saying all this? All of the above show that the church in Austria is not at a point where it can stand on its own without missionaries. Until there are seminaries it is the missionaries who can provide the necessary training. Until there are enough Austrian pastors it is the missionaries who can pastor the churches. Until the Christian community is trained to take leadership it is the missionaries who are needed to encourage and disciple Austrian believers to step out of their cultural norms and take leadership. Until there are congregations that can support a pastor and a facility it is the missionaries who, through their support from out of country, can help offset the costs that go along with growing the congregations. The missionaries I know would like nothing better than to see Austrians trained up and leading the church in their country, and they are working hard towards that goal. But that goal is not realized yet.
Our work at VCS is needed because the missionaries are needed. VCS is the only English speaking school that has tuition rates the missionaries can afford. We are missionaries and raise support because if we didn't and were paid a salary the tuition rates at VCS would be just as high or higher than the other schools which would force a lot of the families off the mission field because of their children's educational needs. VCS was originally founded by the missionaries from various missions organizations in Vienna because they realized their need for a school. That need is still there today and VCS is still here to fill it.If you guys could, please leave some feedback? Do you agree with what Mayson wrote? I will make it known that some person other than me wrote this, but it is pretty much what I believe about it. Consider this post an invitation to open discussion about this. God bless ya'll! :)