by Victor Hulbert, courtesy Adventist News Network
In Estonia where church growth has been slow, or even stagnant, several new initiatives have been started with a desire to reach out to new people in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, including a Centre of Influence called Terve Elu Keskus (Whole Life Centre), and a lay-led ‘Kompass Church’, focused on and reaching out to young adults and university students.
Estonia is one of the Baltic states with an Adventist membership of just 1,460 in a population of 1.3 million. Part of their membership decline has been due to significant emigration throughout the nineties and noughties, shrinking the population for the already small but strategic country tucked between Russia and Latvia, and just across the Baltic Sea from Finland.
Now immigration is providing new ways for the church to serve an international community that is developing in Tallinn, the capital, and also in Tartu the second largest city in Estonia. The church has recognised that there is a growing number of international people working, studying or married to locals. “Thinking of this new open door for ministry and evangelism, the Conference invited a family of missionaries to initiate an English speaking ministry for the growing international community,” says Ivo Käsk, president of the Estonian Conference and one of two pastors serving the Tallinn First Church. “God blessed our work by leading a lovely mission minded family to us.”