Austria & OM EAST

AUSTRIA

Creating a movement to make hope tangible

Background

Austria is a country famous for its culture, music and arts. It has breathtakingly beautiful scenery with magnificent lakes, large forests, high mountains and a huge diversity of animal life. Austria also has a long and painful history as a country set in the heart of Europe. In the 16th century the Habsburg dynasty not only ruled the Austrian provinces but also Spain, and large parts of the New World. At the time the emperor coined the phrase that he ruled an empire where the sun never set. Today Austria is a small country in the centre of Europe.

Austria also had a turbulent history during the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It was first Roman Catholic, and then the ‘new’ gospel of the Reformation won the hearts of approximately 80 percent of the population. But only 30 years later the Counter-Reformation led by the Roman-Catholic Church and the Habsburg ruler resulted in suppression, persecution, expulsion and murder of thousands of Protestant believers. The Austrian Empire became one of the strongest Roman Catholic countries in the world, with more than 90 percent Roman Catholic believers. It was strictly forbidden to read or even own a bible.

Although there was some little relaxation in the restrictions for the Lutheran church, freedom to proclaim the gospel in public only came in 1860. Therefore all the European revival movements bypassed Austria without visible influence. The drama in the 16th century had a strong impact on society, not only in religious beliefs but also in cultural behaviour, values and personal beliefs. Believing in God or not became a private, hidden aspect of life. Being part of the religious system was the keeping of tradition, and obedience to the ruler.

Today the influence of the Roman Catholic Church is decreasing – only 62 percent of the population is still nominally Catholic. However, on the increase is not the protestant-evangelical denomination but rather Islam, the second largest confession in Austria with more than 6 percent of the population. Since World War II, the fastest growing group is those who claim ‘no confession’, now representing more than 20 percent of the population.

OM Austria

OM started the first evangelistic summer outreaches in 1961. Since then several thousand young Christians have spent their summer holidays or even up to two years in Austria in order to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. OM Austria is as passionate today as at the beginning in desiring to be an instrument of hope in the hearts of communities, to see lives changed and society positively influenced.

What we are passionate about

  • Building Bridges: loving Muslims by building bridges between them and the Christian majority
  • Arts & Culture: impacting society through professional initiatives in the area of music and arts
  • Go Global: mobilising and supporting the Austrian church to be become part of God`s mission around the world
  • Go Austria: partnering with the Austrian churches in new church planting initiatives, projects and outreaches in the country
  • TeenStreet: supporting Christian youth in helping them grow in faith and use their lives for God

Pray:

Please pray for hearts to be reached; that people will find hope in God.

Please pray for more artists using their gifts to reach people with the good news.

Please pray for the young generation to grow up with a strong faith and a zeal to reach others with God’s love.

Give: Please find here http://www.a.om.org/deine-moeglichkeiten/geben how to support our work in general as well as through special projects.

Go: Explore some ways in which to use your talents in Austria here: http://www.a.om.org/index.php/deine-moeglichkeiten/gehen/mitarbeit/austria or contact us at info.at@om.org

Contact us: info.at@om.org or visit www.a.om.org

 

EURASIA SUPPORT TEAM

Supporting ministries throughout Eurasia

Background

The EurAsia Support Team (OM EAST) serves and strengthens the Church in Eurasia, especially former communist countries. We provide local OM teams and other organisations with vital resources, particularly literature and media, to meet the needs of churches and share God’s truth among unreached peoples.

Previously known as Greater Europe, our work of bringing hope to this region started in 1968 by smuggling Bibles and Christian literature into Communist Eastern Europe.

Based in Austria near Vienna, the OM EAST team supports partners in countries from Slovakia to Central Asia and from Albania to Siberia through various ministries.

What we are passionate about

  • Media ministry: High-quality print and digital media produced in over 25 different languages are powerful tools to spread the Gospel and disciple believers in areas where they have few or no Christian resources in their heart languages: http://www.east.om.org/ministries/media
  • Anti-trafficking:  Through outreaches, prevention and awareness raising, OM EAST and our partners seek to defend the cause of those at risk of human trafficking or trapped in prostitution: http://www.east.om.org/ministries/anti-trafficking
  • Schoolbags for Bosnia: Each summer we supply schoolbags, which local believers distribute to disadvantaged children in Bosnia-Herzegovina to invest in their education, build relationships and show the love of Christ in the community: http://www.east.om.org/ministries/schoolbags

Pray:

Please pray for graphic designers, editors and translators working on books and eBooks.

Please pray God would lead those involved in distribution among individuals, including the Roma in Eastern Europe, Nenets in Siberia, and women in brothels and on the street in Central Europe.

Please pray individuals will respond to God’s Word and find freedom and new life in Christ.

Give: To support local churches and help share the Gospel in Eurasia, please give here: http://www.east.om.org/give

Go: Explore opportunities of how you can use your skills to serve God and bring hope to people groups in Eurasia: http://www.east.om.org/go

Contact info: http://www.east.om.org/contactus

 

More information about Austria

  • Population: 8,5 million
  • Official language: German
  • State of economy: member of the European Union since 1995, stable economy
  • Religious make-up: 62 percent Catholic, 20 percent non-religious, 6,5 percent Islam,  4 percent Protestant
  • State of the church: Freedom for evangelism on a big scale has only become possible since 1945. Therefore the Free Church movement in Austria is still young but growing strongly. The word 'church' was very much connected with Catholicism and free churches were regarded as sects. The changes in society and the recognition as a church by the state a few years ago bring a growing acceptance and new possibilities. Today the influence of the Catholic Church is weakening. As elsewhere in Europe Islam and the orthodox churches grow, mainly through immigration.