When I first moved to Prague, Czech Republic, many stateside supporters had heard little about it; however, that did not last long. After hitting multiple top-10 lists for best places to visit in Europe or most beautiful cities in the world, Prague has become a major tourist destination. In less than three decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, it has developed into an extremely modern, cosmopolitan, and increasingly affluent city.

This could deceptively lead one to assume that there are few challenges to life and ministry here. Even though its skyline is formed by cathedral spires and its streets filled with religious art and sculptures, Prague is regarded as the most atheistic city in Europe and one of the least-believing in the world.[1]

Czechs are among the most educated and well-read in Europe[2]. The average one you meet is likely to have some historical knowledge of Christianity, but unlikely to have had any significant encounter with a believing Christian.

While there is no longer state-sponsored persecution of religion, there persists a large degree of indifference or skepticism towards it.

Unfortunately, in centuries prior to communism, the soil of Prague was bloodied in religious feuds and holy wars. One student worded her view this way, “Organized religion is a man-made invention that has always been used to control others.” This heartbreaking view of the church is one I have heard echoed time and again here.

So, how does one effectively minister in this context? How do we operate as a lighthouse in such a spiritually dark environment? While it is a question we continually ask ourselves, and remain open to learning more, our team has experienced some ways that are more effective in allowing God’s love and light to shine through us here.

One very important way is partnering with the local church. The Church of God has existed in Czech Republic for nearly seven years. Our local congregation is pastored by national bishop, Jerry Lillard, and recently adopted the name “Life Church[3]” due to its mission to bring God’s life into the community. The mission statement is to “Love God, love people, and live a life that truly matters.” It operates a “Life Center,” or community center, directed by Ulli Lillard, which reaches out in culturally relevant ways, including summer English camps and weekly after-school clubs.

Our missions team consists of three full-time missionaries, all of whom have a Master’s degree in counseling, including one Licensed Professional Counselor, Kelly Myers, and one trained Art Therapist, Michelle Saint-Loth. We each counsel individuals weekly, from within and outside the church, but also have partnered with the Life Center to respond to felt needs in the community. These include offering workshops for teachers and children in local schools on topics like bullying, healthy emotions, self-esteem, and suicide prevention. We also hosted art therapy groups for mothers in a local shelter, helped lead “Celebrate Recovery[4]” groups, parenting seminars, and are working towards cancer support groups. These are opportunities to build bridges between the church and community and will, prayerfully, help redefine the church in the eyes of society as a redemptive force for good.

We seek to offer services that are truly life-giving and can only do so through operating in, and bearing witness to, the true Source of Life. The goal is that the light of God’s love for the people here will be evident and proclaimed in both word and deed. Please pray for us and for the city of Prague to be a lighthouse in this region!

Sabrina “Sunny” Evans is a long-time missionary to the city of Prague, one of the Lighthouse Cities. She will play an intregal part in training ministers and helping plant churches there.

[1] The Washington Post. “Map: These Are the World’s Least Religious Countries,” by Rick Noack. April 14, 2015.

[2] “Which Country Reads the Most?” by Jason English. Source: World Culture Score Index @Amazing Maps, 2014

[3] www.lifechurch.cz

[4] Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-Centered 12-Step recovery program, www.celebraterecovery.com

To give online, click here: cogwm.org/prague