What we do
Following the strategy of coming alongside networks of churches throughout Eastern Europe to help them respond to God’s call to be a light in this world, 4D’s most important target group is the pastors and their teams of volunteer leaders from their churches.
4D wants to help them to mobilize and equip their own people for ministry. Realizing that academic training is not enough and often is ignored, much emphasis is put on ministry models within people’s own cultures and denominations. These models are both reproducible and sustainable.
4D also helps with training, planning, and resources such as curriculum, evaluation and reporting. Part of the training is on how to raise funds locally, as a very large part of the expenses are covered by the people themselves, even in the poorest countries. Again, it’s vitally important to make the program both reproducible and sustainable.
4D also comes alongside ministry in countries where freedom is restricted.
4D sends US teams to partner and come alongside national ministries as requested by our European leaders.
Grants and scholarships – Financial help is often provided on a limited and matching basis. 4D also sponsors Eastern European leaders for a short-term learning experience to the US or a European country to see, learn, interact and network for the purpose of field-testing and possible application back home. Those that also mentor and train others beyond their own ministry in their home country, have priority. Leadership development is a crucial part of 4D’s capacity building efforts.
Generosity and financial stewardship – They are encouraged, especially in developing economies, to help ministries become less dependent, more self-sustaining and sharing with other countries. We often share that “if God loves the cheerful giver in the US, He also does so in Eastern Europe.” (2 Cor. 9:7)
Examples of how 4D works
Ambassadors Together is not a program 4D invented in the US and does it for the churches in Europe, but it is a program the Eastern European churches initiated, with 4D as their strategic partner.
Ambassadors Together was the result of a Romanian student saying to her leader, Rei Abrudan: “Rei, we have been so blessed by the American teams coming over to help us. Now it’s our turn to be a blessing and help others. Can we?” Rei responded with excitement and was encouraged to see his people move from a receiving mindset to a giving mindset. Only this current year we have partnered with about 73 churches, reaching out to more than 5,700 kids with at least 50% of them being unchurched.
VIA – a church model
VIA is a model for training leaders from around Romania and beyond. VIA (which means way or vine) was started in November 2015 in Cluj, a university city in central Romania. After one year, the new church had grown to over 400 in attendance, all members being in small groups and equipped for ministry. Every small group has a service component. Only in their first year, three teams were sent out to help other church planters with camps and VBS.
The first public meeting for VIA church was held on November 15, 2015. Hank Paulson, 4D’s founder, said, “One year later, when I visited Rei (who has been a friend and ministry partner for more than 25 years) I witnessed God’s work especially among the young professionals in their city.” Dorotheea, one of Rei’s staff and also the Romanian Coordinator for Ambassadors Together, explains, “The leadership for the church was easily formed due to the 25 years of investment in young people. The ministry of 4D Ministries was the foundation on which we built a strong army of loyal and dedicated people. Also, the children and youth ministry owes so much to 4D Ministries, due to its investment in people. To sum it up, VIA church was launched on a 4D Ministries platform and is grateful for all the investment in people and resources we benefited from.”
The church is now a platform for promoting the 4D vision: it’s all about empowering national ministries to help their churches be missional.
Czech Republic – multiple ministries in the same country
In Czech Republic, 4D partners with multiple ministries involved in church-planting, church revitalization, publishing, LeaderXpress, youth and family ministry, all with the same purpose: to minister to the needs of the faithful and to be a lighthouse to one of the top three non-religious countries in the world. A special partner in Czech is KnowingGod Czech with Honza Hermansky, who was recruited and is also mentored by Hank Paulson. Honza leads the ministry using the Internet and social media as a tool for the church to reach out. A nationwide network of trained volunteer e-coaches are connected with seekers who are asking questions on the website. Presently over 100 requests per month are connected this way. Online follow-up and study programs, small group efforts, and ultimately, local church involvement are part of a process referred to as “stepping stones approach.”
4D is also investing into online resources for ministry:
- Evangelism in partnership with the Jesus.net team, has been especially effective in Poland and in Czech Republic, with results that were beyond expectations. Many Czechs are afraid of the Church, but are eager to explore about God and Jesus on the Internet.
- Follow-up through trained e-coaches and courses like Why Jesus? gives those who respond with a commitment to Christ on the Evangelism site, an opportunity to discover more about who Jesus is. At the end of the course, the e-coach invites the person to a small group meeting, such as an Alpha course, and ultimately seeks to introduce them to a local church.
- Equipping takes place through special 4D sponsored websites and mobile platforms, such as LeaderXpress for (youth) leaders in both Romanian and Czech. These sites provide locally tested programs, games, ice breakers, links, opportunities for networking, training and more. They also encourage field driven local ministry ideas and creativity and are a resource for those involved in ministry.
- Media Safe, is an educational project covering a very specific and controversial area of the Children, Youth and Family Ministries. This is an often ignored topic in many churches, but proved to be more and more dominant in our time. The project reveals the impact of the Internet on our kids and offers some ways to filter out its negative aspects, as well as to redeem and use its positive aspects.
Why is 4D uniquely positioned? Because of its track record of trust and ministry of over 45 years. 4D is known for its reputation and partnerships across denominations, cultural and geographic borders.
Why is the local church so central in what 4D does? It’s God’s idea to use it as an instrument to proclaim redemption through Christ and reconciliation with the Father. Christ did not only call us to gather the redeemed ones, but to also go out as ambassadors of reconciliation to a broken world. The local church is a multi-talented community, relevant to the needs of the unchurched.
What does it mean to be field driven? A value that results in ministry not starting with our US staff, our finances or programs, but it starts with looking at the fields (John 4:35). It starts with questioning and listening. It’s about validating, building bridges, and empowering according to their felt needs.
How can we help the church to be missional? To share with them God’s vision and plan, to coach and to nurture the leaders, to develop partnerships and to provide tools for stewardship ministry, online materials, public school ministry, camps and other resources for follow up such as LeaderXpress.
Why is generosity so important? Generosity reflects the God we follow (who gave His Son to redeem us) and who’s ambassadors we are called to be. Generosity is not a reflection of percentages or amounts, but our hearts’ condition and closeness to our Lord. Generosity is demonstrated in material, relational and organizational ways. It basically says, “Your Kingdom first”.