VISION & MISSION
Europe is spiritually dying. More than 97% of Europeans do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For decades, Christianity has been steadily declining across Europe making the continent once famous for sending out missionaries, now in urgent need of them.
European Initiative exists to bring the gospel to a lost Europe. As an American mission organization based in Europe, EI serves as a spiritual bridge between the continents. EI mobilizes teams of Christians to partner with European churches and ministries on a variety of short-term mission trips. Our primary mission is to share the gospel with unbelieving Europeans in one-to-one conversations. The focus of our American and European staff members is to change Europe, one life at a time.
Since its inception, EI has mobilized hundreds of mission teams to Europe. Tens of thousands of Europeans have been impacted for eternity by the gospel. EI teams engage in one or more of our five initiatives: evangelism, compassion to the poor, church equipping, prayer/worship, and blessing the Jewish people.
It is our great privilege to teach, train, inspire and mobilize our European partners to move beyond the four walls of the church, and to engage in the harvest fields of their continent. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our European brothers and sisters, committed to helping ignite a spiritual awakening across Europe.
Europe is not without hope. Jesus is moving mightily across this great continent calling prodigal sons and daughters home. The fields are ripe for harvest and by His grace, we won’t stop until all have heard.
Jeff and Barbara Serio founded European Initiative in December 2006. The vision began with the careful observation of an overwhelming spiritual need throughout Europe. This frontline mission organization has been conducting evangelism and humanitarian outreaches in Europe since 2007.
European Initiative currently operates regional bases in Berlin, Budapest, Madrid and Istanbul. Each base is staffed with dedicated, servant-focused team members. The organization also networks with European churches and local ministries coordinating the incoming teams that come on short-term missions trips to Europe.
Jeff and Barbara have always had a heart for missions. Following his successful 20-year career in television advertising, Jeff served on staff as an elder at a vibrant missions-sending church in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. He and his wife were honored to be sent out by the church on multiple short-term missions trips, providing pastoral care and oversight for missionary families. These trips deeply impacted Jeff and Barbara’s lives and were instrumental in their decision to relocate to the mission field.
The Story Continues...
In 1998, Jeff and Barbara moved their family of six to Budapest, Hungary to launch a Bible school, discipling Eastern European Jewish people who had come to faith in the Messiah. It was during these years from the late ‘90’s to early 2000’s, that the Serios began to develop a burden for all of Europe. In December 2006, Jeff and Barbara formed European Initiative. Nine months later, in the summer of 2007 they moved their family to Berlin, Germany, and European Initiative was in action! The following summer, 5 American church teams came to Germany to share their faith in Jesus Christ - 11 Europeans were saved. Since that time, hundreds of teams have come to Europe. Through the years, EI staff and incoming teams have reached tens of thousands of Europeans.
The tapestry of God’s faithfulness continues to impact lives today through the diverse ministries of European Initiative. What began as a “mustard seed” of vision in 2006, today is a growing team of European and American staff who relentlessly share the gospel across the continent. Europe will be saved, one life at a time.
“God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him.”
First missionary to China
According to Operation World, only 2.1% of Germans are evangelical Christian. Despite being the country that sparked the Reformation, Germany’s provocation with both world wars caused many to abandon their spiritual roots and veer towards skepticism. Today over 65% of the population are atheists and agnostics. The majority of Germans have never heard what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
European Initiative established its first base in Berlin, Germany in 2007. God spoke clearly to the Serios to enact a spiritual airlift, mirroring the Berlin Airlift of 1948. The Berlin Airlift was a lifeline for 2.5 million West Berliners during the Russian blockade of the city after the end of WWII. American and British aircraft delivered food, water and other essentials to the besieged city. In a similar manner, it is the calling of EI to airlift spiritual food and water to a spiritually besieged Europe.
The Berlin base is engaged in weekly evangelism outreaches, boldly sharing the gospel in the city’s bustling city squares, parks and universities.
The EI Berlin base is also involved in facilitating evangelism training weekends in partnership with local churches and believers throughout Germany. Through these training weekends, we have seen God powerfully ignite the hearts of local German believers to evangelize and see Germany reached with the gospel.
Additionally, the team has a growing heart to reach women from all sectors of society. The EI Berlin base is also involved in facilitating evangelism training weekends in partnership with local churches and believers throughout Germany. Through these training weekends, we have seen God powerfully ignite the hearts of local German believers to evangelize and see Germany reached with the gospel.
As a result of 45 years of socialism, Hungary is still a largely secular nation. Only 2.8% of Hungarians are evangelical Christian. The divorce rates are equally staggering and among the highest in Europe with over 60% of marriages ending in divorce. Hungary’s per capita suicide and mental illness rates are also among the highest within the European Union.
European Initiative has been mobilizing teams to Hungary since its inception in 2007, and established its second base of operations in Budapest in 2018.
In Hungary, God has opened the door for the EI Budapest staff and visiting teams to share the gospel in many public schools in and surrounding Budapest. During the school semester, the EI Budapest staff is regularly teaching English within the public schools. Among other topics, with the permission of the school headmasters and teachers, they are respectfully engaging in discussion with the students about the gospel and other foundational truths of Christianity.
The EI Budapest base is currently making plans to open a downtown ministry center as a way to continue to share the gospel and to facilitate greater means of discipleship with students reached during our English training. The staff is also involved in weekly evangelism outreaches in the city, ministry to the homeless, as well as home-to-home outreaches in Roma (Gypsy) villages within Hungary.
In February 2022, our Budapest base leaders felt compelled by God to offer assistance to Ukraine just days after the Russian invasion. What ensued was a supply line of the Budapest staff and international volunteers driving cargo vans into Ukraine which contained hundreds of tons of aid. More than one year later, the supply line continues. EI Budapest staff have courageously served our Ukrainian Christian partners and the entire nation. We have delivered nearly $1,000,000 in aid to help Ukraine during her time of great need.
The EI Budapest base is currently making plans to open a center in Budapest where everything from ballet to martial arts to English classes are offered as a way to continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and help new Christians grow in their relationship with God. The EI Budapest staff are also involved in weekly evangelism outreaches in the city as well as home-to-home outreaches in Roma (Gypsy) villages within Hungary. As well, they help facilitate mission trips for teams throughout Eastern Europe.
Istanbul is a city of immense historical importance. Its changing names echo to the past ruling empires: Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, was once the eastern capital of Christianity and home to the largest cathedral in the world, the Hagia Sophia. Now, modern-day Istanbul is Europe’s largest city and its once famous church is one of the most revered mosques in the world.
While the majority of Turks are faithful Muslims, many are searching for answers elsewhere - whether worldly pursuits or other faiths. Some have even turned to atheism. For those who are spiritual seekers, European Initiative staff and partners discreetly offer Turkish people a pathway to faith in Jesus.
The February 2023 earthquake devastated many towns and villages in southeastern Turkey. Sadly, more than 50,000 Turkish people lost their lives. EI staff have gone to the earthquake zone to talk with and pray with survivors. Our staff and volunteers have served the survivors by cooking food and building tents. EI has also sent financial aid to assist those displaced by the earthquake.
Few nations can match Spain’s historical significance. It was Spain, not England, who established the first global empire, stretching from the Philippines in the east to the Americas in the west. Spain, once known for its devout Christianity is now known as Europe’s “missionary graveyard”. Despite its formidable Catholic heritage, 21rst century Spaniards have by and large abandoned their Christian roots.
Spain is EI’s newest base, but we have been active in ministry here since 2010. Our base in Spain partners with the local church to equip and mobilize Spanish believers to reach their nation. The base is actively engaged in urban evangelism, and is beginning to see cracks in the spiritually hard ground.
While some would say that a revival in Spain is impossible, we are of a different opinion. Our outreaches in various cities across the country continually bear fruit. Many young Spaniards, put off by religion, are surprisingly open when hearing about a God who cares about their lives and desires to live in and through them. The fields of Spain are white for harvest!
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"One day in heaven, someone will come up to you and say: “Do you remember that day in Budapest? I rejected everything you said about Jesus, but 2 months later…”