A Profile of Kishe Ungjillore, Bilishti, Albania
11.10.17 – ë enjte (3rd revision)
Edited by members of Bilishti Church – Rjuika, Merita, Teuta, Lençi, Klydi, Skender, Katrioti (Translators; Mariglen, Children’s Ministry in Pogradec & Dennis Kopliku, a Church planter in Shkodër) during the Global Leadership Summit at Udhëkryq
- In the summer of ’94, following the fall of Albanian Communism, a mission’s team (a pastor, laity, youth) from Trinity Presbyterian Church, Anchorage, Alaska, was invited to come to Albania and work with the remnant of Albanian believers to proclaim the grace/forgiveness of Jesus, to give newly published Albanian Bibles in the town and do “street evangelism.”
- Soon, many came to faith in Jesus and house churches began in Bilishti.
- Arjan Larashi, a graduate of the University of Tirana, began to provide pastoral care & leadership in this church.
- The number of believers grew so the church rented a tavern for worship and fellowship.
- In early 2000s, the church received property at the edge of Bilishti. For several years, believers and short-term American teams walked and prayed over the property.
- In 2007, finances enabled the construction of a well-designed and functional building for Kishë Ungjillore with a worship center (holding upwards of 120 persons); a welcoming Sunday School and youth rooms; functional office and meeting rooms, kitchen and dining/fellowship space.
Our demographics – Bilishti is…
- Located in a mountainous, rich agricultural area of eastern Albania near the Greek border & has a population of 6500. The major sources of income for the city are…agricultural, sewing clothing, seasonal work in Greece.
- Home for an Albanian majority and a Macedonian minority. In recent Bilishti elections, a Macedonian minority succeeded in electing one councilor to the 17-member city council.
- After over 20 years of faithful service and commitment, Arjan has moved in a new ministry, Freedom in Christ (Liria në Kristin) that will challenge and grow him more. Currently, he serves as our pastor on Sundays (Preaching, teaching, pastoral care) but is in other locations during the week. (He and his family now live in Korçe, 27 km away).
- Arjan will continue this schedule until a new pastor is found. At that time, he will hand over the pastoral work to the new pastor.
Theological/faith convictions of Kishë Ungjillore
Our faith/theological foundations are based on the Apostles’ Creed (180 AD) & Nicene Creed (325 AD), concise statements of theological truth held in common by Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant Jesus believers.
The church is part of the Protestant/Reformed tradition beginning with Martin Luther in 1517.
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
- Kishë Ungjillore believes that God is eternal, infinite, invisible, all powerful. He chose to communicate with humans by becoming human through the incarnation of Jesus. (Matt. 2:1-11; John 1:1; 14).
- Though Jesus was without sin, His life, recorded in the four Gospels, describes Jesus’s passionate love for all types of sinners. (Matt. 2:1-11; Luke 5:27-32; Mark 10:17-27; John 8:1-11)
Human sin (Mëkat)
- Kishë Ungjillore believes that women, men, children are reconciled with a holy, loving God, NOT by religion or good works, but through faith, reliance upon Christ who died to pay the penalty for our sin (mëkat). Jesus invites us NOT to religion but to a relationship with Him. (Eph. 2:8, 9; Rev. 3:20)
- We believe that there’s compelling evidence that Jesus who was crucified, dead, buried was found – three days later – standing again. He was alive! (John 20:24-29).
- The CHURCH is NOT an organization or a building.
- But, “the church exists wherever there are persons committed to Jesus and to one another.” (Mt. 16:13-18; Acts 2:41-47)
Leadership in the Church
- Spiritual/pastoral leadership in the church is a team relationship among the elders and the pastors. It is NOT a “one man show.”
- After the 1st Missionary Journey, Paul and Barnabas wisely appointed elders (presbuteros) to spiritually lead the Jesus followers in the new churches. (Acts 14:21-24)
- According to Romans 6:1-16; baptism whether by sprinkling or immersion dramatically points to our old, sin-dominated life as “dead and buried” when we come to faith in Christ. The lifting a person out of the water (immersion), points to a new, resurrected life through one’s faith in Christ for salvation.
The Holy Spirit, 3rd member of the Trinity
- We believe in God…the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Kishë Ungjillore relies on the power (dunamis, dynamite) of the Holy Spirit for a person’s emotional, relational, physical healing.
- Our church engages in healing prayer after each Sunday worship service.
- We rely upon the Holy Spirit’s power for the church’s work – worship, evangelism in Bilishti and beyond, local and distant missions. Our foundation is…“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The mission work of Kishë Ungjillore includes…
Acting on the Great Commission and showing Christ’s love through acts of mercy through:
- House churches, home Bible studies, children and youth ministry, compassionate care for the financially disadvantaged.
- Ministry of the surrounding towns of:
- Ponçare…Bible studies, worship services, children’s meetings (30-40 children attending. 60 adults)
- Koshniça…two Bible studies for men & women. During Easter, the church gave 30 food parcels for needy persons.
- Stropan…two Bible studies with women and men as well as a children’s ministry. Vasil and Rujka, leaders of the Bilishti church provide spiritual direction for new believers.
- Biçkë…Bible studies and children’s meetings.
- Bitinçkë…a Bible study with women and children’s ministry.
- Rakicke…a women’s Bible study.
- Trestenik, a women’s Bible study.
The church has also taken the Gospel to various locations in Macedonia and Greece.
√ Other key comments from the group – “We need to create a vision statement that expresses why we exist as a church.
THE PROFILE OF OUR NEW PASTOR (Below are some suggestions) We want a pastor who…
- Recognizes that we are a part of the Body of Christ
- Agrees with the above church profile.
- “Mirrors” Christ in his life, family, relationships
- Is married with a supportive spouse – the family life in a pastor is very important.
- Some people in the discussion circle made the case for a pastor NOT from Albania. Such a person would be perceived as more objective.
- Can preach and teach the Scriptures effectively,
- Has strong relational and conflict management skills.
- Is an effective communicator both publically, in small groups and in “one-on-one” settings.
- Has personally experienced the love and forgiveness of Christ.
- Desires that others in Bilisht and beyond know and love Christ.
To apply for this job email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org