Church Life, Leadership, and Planting
Pastoring and/or Bible Teaching
Athanasios Papatheodorou is a medical doctor and church elder.
When did you trust Christ?
I was born in a Greek evangelical family. Since 98% of Greeks belong to the Orthodox Church, evangelicals are labeled heretics and are not welcomed in schools or in local communities. When I grew up and enrolled in university, I decided to live my life on my own terms. After messing up my life when I was 21-years-old, Jesus said to me, “Don’t further harden your heart. Repent and I will accept you.” I knelt in my room and I surrendered my life to Jesus.
What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?
After I became a Christian, I started reading a lot and discovering my new faith. I joined a youth group and became involved in church life. I started helping in children’s summer camps organized by my church. I participated in International Fellowship of Evangelical Students-affiliated Bible study groups. I was involved in working with and organizing church youth groups and youth conferences. After several years I was appointed as an elder in my church, a position that I still serve in today. Besides these things, raising children and the Greek economic crisis have been important parts of my spiritual development.
Why do you want to attend the Forum?
Through the European Leadership Forum, I hope to meet other leaders. I hope we can exchange experiences and practical advice on pastoring church members, on church discipline issues, on evangelism, and on church planting. I also hope to find many useful books in the Forum’s bookstore.
What is your ministry?
I am one of the three elders in my church: Marousi Evangelical Church. I am involved in preaching and teaching in the church. I also pastor, mentor, and counsel church members. I am involved in the development of the church. I work regularly at a downtown ministry for the homeless and refugees, where I serve as a counselor and medical doctor.
What are your past leadership roles?
I was previously a member of the board of the youth committee of Evangelical churches. I organized three national youth conferences. I served as a youth group leader in my church. I have also given public apologetic speeches in evangelistic expeditions in Greece and its islands, and for university campus Bible study groups.
Why should someone invest in your ministry?
In Greece we have many immigrants from Muslim and other closed countries that urgently must be evangelized. We currently are expanding our church outreach programs, working among Muslim refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran. Our goal is to form a new church for new converts from those refugees in the downtown Athens area. Multiple issues have to be met, from practical everyday issues to language lessons to counseling for family and marital issues and, of course, Bible teaching.