What the Croatian Church Really Needs

This update is related to the Crossway Global Ministry Fund campaign.

Theological Resources: Resulting in a Profound Impact on the Croatian Christian Landscape

Imagine beautiful, deep blue water, lush green coasts, stunning historical sites, and quaint European towns. This is the scenery surrounding coastal Croatia, seemingly a desirable retreat for rest and rejuvenation. And yet the spiritual reality of this country is far less inviting, as it is home to less than 0.5% evangelical Christians.1

This means that most Croatians, while claiming to be Christian, don’t know the truth of the gospel. Stevo Vuletić, a native Croatian, has set out to see the gospel preached in truth to men and women throughout Croatia through his organization Radosna Vijest and partners with Crossway to make resources available in Croatian.

We recently had a conversation with Stevo about the evangelical landscape in Croatia and about the impact of these books.

How many evangelical Christians make up Croatia?

In Croatia, there are roughly ten thousand evangelical believers including a couple thousand Baptists, a couple thousand Pentecostals, and some non-denominational groups like the Church of Christ. That may make it closer to seven to eight thousand because all of these denominations are composed of smaller churches. Croatia’s total population is almost four million, so even ten thousand is a very small number.

How do Croatian pastors access theological training and education?

There’s a big need to train pastors for local ministry. A lot of pastors in Croatia and the surrounding region are bi-vocational because churches are small and typically cannot afford to pay them full-time. In some cases, this can work well so that the pastor is not a burden on the congregation and has another source of income. But that also means that there’s very limited time and ability for them to be theologically trained. A lot of times, their sermons are not text-based. . . . I know this reality well from the churches where I grew up. The pastors were laymen—great men of God and active in ministry through outreach to the community. However, they were not theologically trained, and the very little training that they had been able to receive in the past was very broad and theologically quite liberal. As a result, most pastors don’t teach and preach expositionally. Therefore, the pastors need to learn how to walk through the text and preach what the text says.

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The Supremacy of God in Preaching was a resource translated to Croatian several years ago. Why is this book especially helpful for these Croatian pastors who haven’t received theological training?

When I first started preaching, I did so in my second language, English, and this book was very influential for me. Everything in the Word is God-centered and pointing to Christ, and I didn’t originally think of texts in that way. I took them in isolation to highlight whatever moral truth I was teaching. So, this book opened to me the greatness of God from a new perspective. Because of the impact it had on me, I knew this resource was what people throughout Croatia needed as well. It is what pastors would benefit from . . . because although people pick up things throughout life, it’s not a very systematic educational journey. And they all have a variety of different religious influences they’re learning from: a lot of pastors, because of living in small communities, learn the Word from their reading and in the communities where they grew up.

The church would benefit from better evangelical scholarship and resources like The Supremacy of God in Preaching because the church in Croatia today is not training or producing pastors. They’re focused on teaching theology for theology’s sake; they’re academically rigorous and, therefore, reputable, so they have a voice in the broader community. Evangelicals need to up the game as far as making scholarships and resources available. Moved by this need, we started a new publishing ministry in 2023, Radosna Vijest. Our vision is to unite and equip evangelical believers in Croatia in worship of God, in living in accordance with the message of the gospel, and in faithfully following Christ’s call to make disciples.

This vision compels us to present and teach the entirety of God’s revelation in his Word. We seek to train and equip pastors for fruitful ministry and supply the believers with biblically faithful and theologically sound resources.

Since the publishing of The Supremacy of God in Preaching and other theological resources, Crossway has partnered with you to translate Confronting Christianity to Croatian. Why is this title specifically helpful for the younger generation?

Young people in Croatia are heavily influenced and impacted by the progressive social and cultural issues that dominate the West. They’re not small issues, and those topics are excellently addressed by Rebecca McLaughlin in Confronting Christianity for today’s generation. So even though that book was originally published in English addressing a different audience, those issues cross the boundaries of language and culture because they’re present everywhere. It’s a great, up-to-date apologetics book.

Another book we’ve partnered on is the translation of Gentle and Lowly. Why has this book been pertinent for the Croatian audience?

Gentle and Lowly has found fertile ground among many readers in Croatia. Evangelical Christianity in Croatia has often promoted moralistic and legalistic teachings, with a strict view of God’s holiness and wrath without the biblical concept of God’s love through Christ. Gentle and Lowly presents a fuller, more accurate description of who God is and what he is like. As such, it preaches the true gospel to those who punish themselves because of weaknesses or past sins by “trying harder” to “be good” and earn favor with God. Reactions of most who have already read the book have spoken of comfort, of finding rest, and therefore of their increased love for the Lord.

Through the Global Ministry Fund, Crossway partners alongside Stevo and other ministry partners to translate theologically sound resources into their heart languages. By God’s grace and through the generosity of donors to this project, we are partnering with Radosna Vijest to translate and publish Scribes and Scripture in Croatian to help pastors and church leaders more clearly understand the history of the Word and rightly interpret it.

By donating to the Global Ministry Fund, you are supporting projects like these and many others as we seek to make God’s Word and theological resources available worldwide.

Pray for the process of translating Scribes and Scripture and that church leaders and lay believers alike would better understand and love the Lord and his Word.

Pray for evangelical Christians in Croatia to remain steadfast in their faith and be bold witnesses to their communities of the good news.


  1. “Croatia,” Countries, Joshua Project, accessed January 18, 2024, https://joshuaproject.net/countries/HR.
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