“Romania used to be a country where everybody thought they were a Christian, but things are changing now,” Vlad Oara said. Vlad is an Acts 29 church planter in Timisoara, Romania—an increasingly secular culture full of confusion about God.
Redeemed from a life of drug abuse and atheism, Vlad now longs to see the hope-giving gospel of Jesus proclaimed in his home country and worldwide through the multiplication of gospel-preaching churches.
God’s Work Through a Local Church
Like many young people in Romania, Vlad grew up without any Christian influence. “By the age of 14, I started using drugs; at the age of 19, I declared myself an atheist,” he said. At 21, Vlad moved to England to work—while his drug addiction increased. He was cleaning out an old property when he found a Bible left in one of the rooms. He picked it up and took it home.
“That evening, I started reading it from the first page,” Vlad said. “The more I read, I felt this fire burning inside of me, and I really wanted to talk with other people about what I was reading.”This got stuck in my heart—that church planting is the best way to reach a group of people with the gospel. —Vlad Oara Click To Tweet
For two years, Vlad had thought the building down the street was a garage. But one morning, after he started reading the Bible, he walked by when the side door was open, saw a man inside singing and playing the guitar and realized, “this is a church!” Vlad went in. “This guy stood up, opened the Bible, and started talking about Jesus from the Gospel of Mark.” Vlad had found Cornerstone Church Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Steve Robinson and his wife, Sian, had partnered with a small congregation to plant Cornerstone Church. They’d been going a few months with no converts, so they decided to spend a week meeting to pray for people they knew. A couple of women said, “could we pray for the young man we sat next to on Sunday, named Vlad.”
“Ten minutes after that, who walks in?—Vlad,” said Steve. After the meeting, Steve talked with him, heard his story, and began explaining the Bible. “By God’s grace, Vlad became a Christian, and that’s where our journey with him began.”
Church Planting Is the Agenda
The Lord dropped a Bible into Vlad’s life, used it to work in his heart, and placed him in the right place, at the right time, to stumble upon a gospel-preaching church—a church that was there because people understood the importance of church planting.
Vlad grew in the faith at Cornerstone, which became his home and family. Steve and Sian had always prayed that Cornerstone would grow to be a church-planting church, so the air Vlad breathed as a new believer was about church planting as God’s strategy for spreading the life-giving gospel to the ends of the earth. “This got stuck in my heart—that church planting is the best way to reach a group of people with the gospel,” Vlad said.
As Vlad matured in the Lord, it became clear that he was gifted to lead. People at Cornerstone noticed his boundless desire for God’s Word and encouraged him to consider ministry.
The Work Continues
Vlad eventually met and married Oana. Though he once thought he would never live in Romania again, as they visited their families, they saw the need for gospel-preaching churches. God gave Vlad and Oana the desire to go back to Romania to plant a church.The Lord used the preaching and prayers of a small church in Liverpool, England to save a drug-addicted Romanian atheist, and now a new church in Romania is proclaiming Christ. Click To Tweet
Romania’s communist history, combined with the tremendous influence of the Eastern Orthodox Church, has left Romanians confused about the gospel. “Like most countries in Europe,” Steve said, “Romania is desperate for the gospel; therefore, it’s desperate for churches to be planted—desperate for communities of gospel people living in a context where there’s no gospel witness.”
Vlad and Oana planted Adulam Church in Timișoara, Romania in 2019. They’re a small church of only a few families with a big vision for mission. “We want to be a group of people that invest ourselves in helping others plant churches in other parts of the world,” Vlad said. That’s why they’re part of Acts 29.
“I pray that we will become a church where drug addicts can come in, where homeless people can come in and find the love of Christ in our midst,” said Vlad. They long to share the gospel message in word and deed, actively showing a confused society what the love of God means. “That’s why we wanted to plant the church, so that as many people as possible will hear the good news about Jesus Christ.”
Like a stone dropped in a lake, the ripples of God’s work through one gospel-centered church keep spreading outward. The Lord used the preaching and prayers of a small church in Liverpool, England to save a drug-addicted Romanian atheist, and now a new church in Romania is proclaiming Christ. Who knows what God might do next to advance his kingdom through church planting?