Literature in Serbia—Essential to its Development

In the UK we take for granted the many Biblical resources available to us. It is comparable to making a purchase of something basic and simple, such as bread from the local shop. Suppose for a moment that bread was very scarce and difficult to obtain. Then we would appreciate more of what we had and would always be seeking ways to make it more available.

In many ways this illustrates the problem facing many believers in E Europe today – getting access to good Biblical literature. Serbia is one of those countries where this is difficult. SGA has supported literature projects there for many years, mainly through the labours of Dane and Melita Vidovic who have been supported and encouraged in their ministry since they first met SGA workers in 1985. Dane maintains that the need for Biblical literature is becoming more and more urgent as Serbian culture changes and develops.

Three-quarters of the population are Orthodox in religion; around 15% are Muslim, and the remainder a variety of ideologies. Evangelicals number around 10,000 for the whole of Serbia. There are encouraging signs, especially among Roma people many of whom are open to the Gospel. In Serbian society as a whole, the blight of low employment is forcing key young people to leave by the thousands. Commercial investment is at a low level, and where western companies have become involved many have taken advantage of the situation and the people.

Pastor Dane with Melita

Spiritual investment through Biblical literature is a crying need in Serbian society. Dane and Melita have been attempting to address this for many years now, by translating good books by godly authors. The recent SGA literature project has resulted in the provision of Serbia’s first Biblical Theology, According to Plan by Goldsworthy, along with John Stott’s Commentary on Acts, and his book The Cross of Christ. Bruce Milne’s Know the Truth was the fourth of the ‘quartet’ making up this valuable project.

Cross of Christ
According to Plan

Translation work is long and at times difficult. Decisions about what resources are most beneficial also take time and wise discernment. There are specific areas of need which help in identifying good useful resources:

[1] Evangelism – to help believers reach their own people with the Gospel.

[3] Edification – to help believers to develop and be encouraged in their faith.

[2] Education – to help Biblically educate believers to understand Scripture for themselves.

[4] Equipping – to help give ‘tools’ to believers to influence their culture and its needs, and strengthen the Church and its witness.

The advertising, selling and distribution of literature also present a challenge. Dane and his associates have set up a Christian publishing house called Soteria, and the results of that initiative have been very encouraging. Since their publishing house is ‘registered’, government departments such as libraries have taken an interest in the Christian material available. Three hundred copies of both The Daily Life of Jesus and of the Bible Speaks Today Commentary on Ruth have been purchased for use and distribution in public libraries. More titles are to follow.

Thanks to SGA and its supporters, ‘bread’ is getting to the people. More is needed, for as the face of Europe rapidly changes, the challenge is increasingly urgent. According to UNESCO, Serbia has a comparatively high literacy rate – 98.84% – and this has increased in recent years. This means that whatever resources Serbia gets, it will use. Biblical resources are essential to the development of Serbia educationally but especially spiritually.

Please Pray,

  • for Dane and Melita as they seek to reach their changing world.
  • for evangelical believers – that more literature will be made available to them.
  • for more doors to open within the government and more books to reach the public, especially through libraries.
  • for good translators to join the team. It is a long and difficult work to accomplish properly.
  • Praise God for what has been achieved so far, but continue to ask Him to move throughout the nation of Serbia.