In 2009, the first Crosslinks School of Bible Training (SBT) took place in Serbia. Started by Chris and Lotta Strajnic, the aim of the conference was to train up preachers for faithful bible teaching in a context where this type of training is rare. Since then, SBTs have taken place every year and have trained over 200 students.
Most of the teaching has been provided by visiting preachers from the UK and Ireland but in 2021 a significant milestone was reached: the course was led entirely by a team of Serbians. Pastors who attended the SBT over many years are now those training up others – Serbians training Serbians. Three of those involved tell us more about it:
The Crosslinks SBT has meant so much to me. When I attended my first SBT workshop as a young Christian it laid the foundation for understanding, interpreting and faithfully applying the Bible. I was given tools that have helped me to get more from the Scriptures. I can say without exaggeration that through the SBT God has shaped my approach to the Bible and therefore my whole Christian life.
This SBT is immensely important for Christians in Serbia. Many people have taken part and have been equipped to study and teach the Bible more faithfully. It is encouraging to see people's eyes opened as they learn and practice these simple but greatly helpful tools.
Through the SBTs, God has opened my eyes to see the only right way to approach the study of Scripture. I am encouraged to see people both young and old being convicted of the fact that this is the most accurate and most natural approach to the Bible. Every year we meet people from different backgrounds who have never seen this approach before and now many pastors have adopted this style of preaching. From doing this, churches are seeing root changes and blessings of freshness and power. Nobody is indifferent to it because the word of God works and does what God intends.
Through the SBT, God amazingly opened my eyes to the fact that this is indeed the way to preach faithfully. It gave me a strong desire to see expository preaching in every church in Serbia and the Balkans. I have been to every SBT since the beginning and I have met many of pastors who say that this has changed their ministry. The Crosslinks SBT has made a strong contribution to expository preaching becoming more widespread in Serbia.
Please pray that these training events will continue and pastors will be equipped to preach the word of God faithfully.
Pray for our plans to start a new SBT in Novi Sad in July (currently the annual SBT takes place in Belgrade in April). Pray for good and fruitful partnership with the Baptist Theological School there.
Pray for the word of God to spread around Serbia and that by God's grace we see many more people coming to Christ.
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Colin was part of the Crosslinks staff team from 2012 – 2021. He led Crosslinks camps, trained youth workers as part of Building to Grow and visited churches to speak about mission. Colin now works for St Donard's Community Church alongside training for ministry.
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