Hungary
Republic of Hungary
May 28-29
Europe


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 93,030 sq.km. A landlocked, central European state on the River Danube.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 10,035,568 -0.38% 108 per sq. km.
2010 9,626,550 -0.43% 103 per sq. km.
2025 8,900,388 -0.59% 96 per sq. km.

Capital Budapest 1,812,000. Urbanites 64%.

PEOPLES

Magyar (Hungarian) 88.8%. About a third of all Hungarians live in other lands; Romania 2 mill.; Slovakia 600,000; Yugoslavia 450,000, USA 450,000, Ukraine 170,000, and many in other nations.

Minorities 11.2%. Rom (Gypsy) 380,000; Ruthenian 280,000; German 170,000; Jews 80,000; Romanian 38,000; Slovak 30,000; Polish 21,000; Croat 20,000; Serb 20,000.

Literacy 99%. Official language Hungarian. Languages with Scriptures 6Bi 1NT 2por 2w.i.p.

ECONOMY

The first Communist bloc state to begin privatizing its economy, and to record positive economic growth. Poor in natural resources but with a developed industrial base and productive agricultural land. Following a painful period of adjustment, the economy grew well after 1998 with an improved standard of living. HDI 0.795; 47th/174. Public debt 33% of GNP. Income/person $4,340 (14.3% of USA).

POLITICS

Hungary lost 60% of its land area at the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, leaving large Hungarian minorities in surrounding lands. During World War II the Russian army occupied the land and imposed Communism, only leaving in 1991. The Hungarian uprising of 1956 brought terrible revenge from the Russians; 80,000 were killed, wounded or deported, and 200,000 fled to the West. The first Communist bloc state to abandon Marxism and institute a multi-party democracy in 1990. The first freely elected government stabilized the country. Hungary joined NATO in 1999 and aims to be a member of the EU by 2003.

RELIGION

In 1600, Hungary was 90% Protestant. Many reverted to Catholicism during the Counter Reformation and in the periods of discrimination that followed. The Communists enforced strict controls on all Christians from 1948-1988 through discrimination, intimidation and infiltration. In 2000, the 1,000th year of Hungary's conversion to Christianity was celebrated. There has been freedom of religion since 1990.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 92.01 9,233,726 -0.6%
non-Religious/other 7.09 711,522 +2.6%
Jewish 0.80 80,285 -0.4%
Muslim 0.10 10,036 +4.2%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 14 20.70 2,078 -2.2%
Independent 30 0.85 85 +22.5%
Catholic 1 60.29 6,050 -0.7%
Orthodox 4 0.27 27 -1.4%
Marginal 5 0.47 48 +16.1%
Unaffiliated   9.43 946 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 2,000 4,548,872 6,050,000
Reformed P 1,210 400,000 1,600,000
Evangelical Lutheran P 398 107,500 430,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 280 20,690 40,000
Faith Church I 305 20,000 40,000
Baptist P 333 11,118 22,236
Romanian Orthodox O 18 10,526 16,000
Fell of Ev Pentecostals I 126 5,042 11,200
Seventh-day Adventist P 106 4,471 10,000
Comm of Ev Brethren I 80 4,000 6,800
Congregation of God I 46 2,000 4,000
Other denoms [39]   586 31,042 57,300
Total Christians [50]   5,488 5,165,300 8,287,500

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 2.7 273 +6.0%
Charismatic 1.7 172 +6.4%
  Pentecostal 0.6 61 +15.1%

Missionaries from Hungary
P,I,A 122 in 13 agencies to 16 countries: Hungary 99.

Missionaries to Hungary
P,I,A 489 in 67 agencies from 18 countries: USA 317, Canada 30, Korea 26, UK 20.



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Answers to Prayer

1 Hungary's peaceful transition from Communist dictatorship to parliamentary democracy and preservation from conflicts in the Balkans.

2 The advent of religious freedom, new opportunities for Christian ministry in public and in the media, also encouraging signs of renewal. There are now Christian schools all over the country.

Challenges for Prayer

1 Hungarians are groping for life solutions amidst uncertainty and rapid changes in society. There has been an increase in stress and many fall prey to alcoholism, suicide, burgeoning cults and the occult. Opportunities to minister exist in church and public schools, hospitals, prison, and in almost every element of society. Pray that the Church might truly be a relevant witness to Hungarian society, displaying both compassion for the lost and confidence in the Saviour.

2 Suspicion, mistrust and division, legacies of Marxism, still affect attitudes and, more sadly, the Church. This has been particularly noticeable in tensions between the emerging and the traditional churches in Hungary. Pray for a deep work of the Holy Spirit bringing repentance, reconciliation and renewal within and between all denominations. Pray for acceptance, trust and unity to truly characterize the Church.

3 The 1990's was a time of responsiveness and growth, but it was not on a scale for which Christians had hoped because the Church was ill-prepared to respond to the opportunities. Hungary had revivals in 1939 and 1946-50 which touched the Protestant Churches by which God providentially prepared the Church for coming persecution. There are strong charismatic and renewal movements in the Catholic Church and in the Baptist, and Reformed and other denominations. There is a Bible Union within the Reformed Church. There are several growing independent charismatic congregations and also a developing intercessors movement, including one in the national parliament. But this renewal and growth has not occurred evenly across the country, nor through all denominations. Pray that reconciliation of the nation to God, spiritual renewal, restoration and revival might flourish, affecting the whole of society.

4 The need for evangelists is great. The Church in general needs to mature in its ability to evangelize and overcome feelings of inferiority that restrain boldness in witness. There are many towns and cities where the number of nominal Christians is high and there are people with only a cursory contact with the good news. There is still resistance to the gospel in much of Hungary – pray for Spirit-led, creative forms of witness. There is, however, not a single town in the country without an evangelical congregation. Pray that God might raise up many workers, as well as enthusiastic support for them from the national believers.

5 The denominations have a leadership crisis. Pray for:

a) Leaders of high morals and fresh vision. There are many evangelistic challenges as yet unmet, many eyes scrutinizing the conduct of Christian leaders, and many leaders cautious because of the past. Pray that God might anoint and inspire those already in leadership.

b) The release and empowerment of lay leaders. Most pastors are overworked and spread too thinly. There is a flourishing Reformed Elders Association and a growing involvement of the laity in church planting and evangelism in most denominations. Pray that the Church might mature in its giving so as to support nationals involved in both local and foreign Christian work.

c) Leadership training. Seminaries formerly closed by the Communists are open again and Bible schools are full and growing in number. There are four Christian universities providing education in theology, humanities and law with several thousand students enrolled. There is an increasing a focus on missions and evangelism. Pray also for the Protestant Institute for Mission Studies, the Pentecostal Bible School, the AoG ICI TEE programme in Hungarian and for teaching seminars run by the East Europe Bible Mission and others. Hungary is becoming a centre for Bible training for Central Europe with several English-medium schools (Central European Bible School, Word of Life). Increasing numbers of churches are implementing lay training and education programmes. Pray that they might bear much fruit.

6 Ministry to young people, one of the most receptive groups to the gospel in Hungary. Pray especially for:

a) Teaching religious knowledge in schools, in several hundred Christian schools and also public schools that invite this input. Pray for the provision of high quality evangelist-teachers to take up these opportunities.

b) Children and youth programmes in churches. The Communists prohibited children's programmes outside the churches, but this is finally being redressed by denominational youth associations such as YMCA, AWANA, CEF, Dunamisz and others. Large-scale youth conventions are proving attractive. Foreign mission groups have contributed much in this area of ministry.

c) University students who are open to most spiritual influences, both false and true. Nationally-led international ministries such as CCCI, MEKDsz(IFES) and Youth for Christ all reach out to these students, accounting for over 150 workers.

d) Summer outreach programmes, by many Hungarian churches as well as those jointly run by The Bible League and OM, which train scores of young people from various denominations to participate in evangelism and follow-up work.

7 The less-reached:

a) The Jews. Before the Holocaust there were 800,000. Now their numbers are down to 80,000. There are several Messianic Jewish communities. Pray for a reconciliation between Christians and Jews.

b) The Roma (Gypsy) community which has not seen the same spiritual breakthrough as in Spain, France and Romania, but there are several new Protestant and charismatic fellowships among them. A number of agencies are attempting to meet their social and spiritual needs.

c) As many as 200,000 refugees from former Yugoslavia, uprooted from their homes and finding it difficult to settle in a foreign country.

d) Hungarians abroad – there is concern about discrimination against Hungarians in Serb-controlled Vojvodina and discrimination against Hungarians in Romanian Transylvania and southern Slovakia. Pray for reconciliation between these minorities and the various national majorities, and pray for Hungarian Christians to reach out to their own who live abroad.

8 Expatriate missions increased numerically in the 1990s, but have since levelled off. Pray for sensitivity and a true servant attitude in seeking to help the Hungarian Church. The main ministries required of expatriates are in leadership training and mentoring, equipping the laity and imparting missionary vision. There is still little understanding of missions in churches, but the great potential is beginning to be realized. The largest agencies are: CCCI (142 workers), ABWE (28), YWAM (27), OM (24), OMS (17), CBI (15).

9 Christian help ministries:

a) Scripture distribution. The Hungarian Bible Society was revitalized in 1989. Pray for its ministry in distributing the Bible.

b) Christian literature is in great demand. In the 1990s the publication of Christian books has increased – even by secular publishers. Many new Christian publishing companies have been founded. Literature ministry is actively used by many congregations. CLC has two bookstores in Hungary. The Hungarian Literature Mission is a major source of evangelistic materials.

c) The JESUS film. This is one of the best-selling videos in Hungarian.

d) Christian radio. In addition to several hours a week broadcast in Hungarian by TWR and IBRA, there are increasing local opportunities for Christian programmes on television and radio. The Hungarian Gospel Radio Foundation, the Reformed and Lutheran churches all have their own radio programmes. There is a vision for a 24-hour Christian radio station in Budapest. IT have set up a music recording studio to serve Central Europe.

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