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An adventure with God in Vienna 

Will Cumbia was one of the first participants on Project:Vienna, a new gap-year opportunity for young people in Europe. He explains more 

Project Vienna - Will

When I boarded a plane at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington D.C., I had little idea of what I was getting myself into with this thing called Project:Vienna. All I knew was that I was going on an adventure with God.

I knew a rough guideline of what my year would look like in Vienna, Austria, but the fun and growth and love I’ve experienced during this program has far exceeded all of my expectations.

Project:Vienna is a new gap-year opportunity for young people in Europe. Co-sponsored by the European Baptist Federation and the Austrian Baptist Union, it combines a Bible school, mission work in the city, and work in a dynamic Baptist church, projekt:gemeinde. I have had the privilege of being one of the first participants in this exciting program.

Participants in the program spend a year living in Vienna blending together a variety of experiences. First and foremost, Project:Vienna is a Bible school, taking participants through a broad range of theological topics from Biblical hermeneutics, to Christian history, and in-depth studies of different cornerstones of the church like the trinity and the Kingdom of God. projekt:gemeinde has an incredible team of pastors and theologians teaching classes, leaving participants with a solid foundation in theological studies.

The second main aspect of the program is social and mission work in the city. Here participants can choose focus projects that align with their passions and giftings.

Project Vienna500

Projects range from youth and children’s work to work with prostitutes in Vienna to refugee integration work. Refugees have a particularly special place in the heart of projekt:gemeinde as close to half of the church is made up of refugees from Iran and Afghanistan. Participants gain meaningful, hands-on experience with important social work in the city.

The last aspect of the program is time spent working with the church. projekt:gemeinde is a wonderfully unique community consisting of young families, refugees, students, and a hodgepodge of other interesting people. We hold services in Spanish, Farsi, and German, with English sprinkled in between. It doesn’t fit the mold of a normal church. We meet in irregular places, like an old gutted out hotel and a grungy, yet homey cellar. We take faith seriously, but also prioritize fun together. It is an amazing experience to serve in a community that is rethinking what the church can look like in the 21st century.

projekt:gemeinde empowers participants to serve in meaningful ways, both encouraging them to use their individual gifts and pushing them to try new things. This includes worship leading, preaching, teaching, media design, and helping out with the everyday ins and outs of a crazy church.

I think one of my favorite parts of this program is the word “and.” Project:Vienna combines so many different aspects together into a completely unique experience. It’s theological study and social work and church work. It’s German and Farsi and Spanish and English. It’s students and refugees and toddlers. It’s building on traditions of the past and asking questions about the future of the church. It’s genuine faith and genuine fun. And most importantly, seeing the beauty of how all of these things interact together in the messiness and richness and nuance of life.

All of this done in Vienna, an incredibly beautiful, historic, vibrant, and livable city.

For me it has been such a marvelous year. Living in Vienna has pushed me to grow and learn in a completely different context than I am used to. At projekt:gemeinde, I’ve been able to explore ministry with my whole self and from that see God work in unexpected ways. And the year has given me the confidence to live out my calling; to pursue further theological study at seminary and eventually a life of ministry.

Project:Vienna is a wonderful opportunity for young people to explore their faith, think deeply, have hands on experience in dynamic ministry work, and have a lot of fun. It is a perfect opportunity for young people who are considering ministry work or just looking for a year to serve and discern what comes next.

So what are you waiting for? Come on an adventure with God in Vienna.

Will Cumbia is a recent university graduate from Virginia, USA. He is participating in Project:Vienna through a partnership between the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Austrian Baptist Union. 

ProjectVienna is a year out programme run by projektgemeinde church in collaboration with the Austrian Baptist Union and with support from the EBF and the German Baptist Youth department.

It's a programme for young adults where they can get a year of Bible school and missiology, experience in serving in development work and a church placement. It's open to applicants from British Baptist churches.

Find out more here - and apply here

Baptist Times, 09/05/2018
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