How Calvary began in Hungary...

By the grace of God, there are now Calvary Chapels (Golgota’s) in almost 20 cities throughout Hungary.  God has called many people, Hungarians and missionaries, to the ministry in each of these cities, and yet we are constantly and prayerfully moving forward as the Lord continues to move.

As you read this, our hope is that you would join us in intercession for our country, that so needs the gracious and healing hand of the Almighty.

In 1990, Pastor Brian Brodersen (then pastor of Calvary Chapel Vista, California) came over to Yugoslavia and Hungary to do outreach. Joining the outreach was a Hungarian pastor, who had ministered through the communist era and had even spent time in prison for the gospel.  He was drawn to the simplicity of heart and the fruit of the ministry among the people who had come over to bring the message of God – that He had sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  In 1990 this Hungarian pastor invited Calvary to come to Hungary to minister in the town of Baja in Southern Hungary, and that's where it all began.

In the beginning of 1991 Brian, ministering in Baja, had asked Greg Opean (then youth pastor of Calvary Chapel Redlands, California) to come over and help him. Rod Thompson, (who at the time was the plumber at the Calvary Chapel Conference center in Austria and who went on to direct the Castle and Conference Center ministry for many years), joined Greg. In order to serve the people around them and to learn Hungarian they started an English club in the Baptist Church in Baja.

As the fruit of their work a small group of Hungarians started to gather together in the School of Special Needs in Baja. We started an effective ministry towards children with special needs. In September 1991 our Church in Baja had officially started and we immediately started to serve people from Tompa who first started to come to our gatherings, but soon we had Bible studies in Tompa as well.

At the time there was very little western influence, especially in Southern Hungary (the last Russian military post which happened to have been in Baja had pulled out just one month before Greg and Rod arrived). Just being a foreigner in their land was something that drew the people to the missionaries. Every time any contact was made with anyone, the question came up, “What has brought you to our country?” and thus doors were constantly opening to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Soon there was a fellowship of people gathering, who had one by one given their lives to the Lord. They weren’t satisfied with just one Bible study per gathering so at their request we started to have “back to back” bible studies on Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night and then just one bible study on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.  We were very happily busy in the will of God (we took Sundays off!)!

Soon, the Lord began to open doors into other cities as people came and saw the simplicity and joy in the lives of those that were being saved.  So we went into Szeged by invitation and the Lord began to move and the handful of believers soon multiplied greatly.  As we were reaching out in the town center, a family from Northern Hungary who were vacationing in Szeged, came to the Lord along with their children.  For the next several months we received letters from them every couple of weeks pleading with us to come up to their town of Esztergom on the Northern border of Hungary.  “Please send us someone to teach us the Word and to lead us in Worship” was their request.

God in His provision had then prepared a group of guys to venture up into the Northern region of Hungary.  To make a long story short, God has now opened the way for new churches in not only Baja, Szeged, and Esztergom, but also into Budapest, Debrecen, Kaposvár, Vác, Dunaújváros, Eger, Miskolc,  Nyiregyháza, Pécs, Sárbogárd, Szombathely, Tatabánya, Tompa, and Vése.  And we sense that a time of further church planting and sending out missionaries is upon us.

To see a list of all the Calvary Chapels now in Hungary, please click here.