Pastoring and/or Bible Teaching
Jan Henzel is President of his church’s denominational board, the Evangelical Free Church of Slovakia, and a visiting professor at a seminary.
When did you trust Christ?
I accepted Christ in 1969, at the age of 15, during an evangelistic summer camp. My decision was preceded by several months of personal spiritual struggle, during which I was acutely aware of my sinfulness. I knew about Christ’s death for me, but it was only at the camp that I surrendered my life to Him.
What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?
My pastor and predecessor discipled me for several years and helped develop my love for the Bible and sound theological books. In 1972, I applied to study theology, but was not allowed to do so by our Communist state authorities. After that, I was closely watched by the secret police and was unable to receive a promotion at work until the fall of Communism in 1989. In 1992-1993, I was able to complete my first theological degree at London Bible College. In 2001, I completed my PhD in Systematic Theology.
Why do you want to attend the Forum?
I have participated in its work for several years because it helps me to keep up to date in recent developments in theology and in the way evangelical theologians may respond to them. The Forum has made it possible for me to make personal contacts with other European theologians. It has helped to widen my horizon within the evangelical movement in Europe, something that I am still working to instill into the thinking and ministry of my denomination, as well as in other churches. Around the world, but in Eastern Europe especially, believers are divided by denomination. It is frustrating as a leader of leaders to know that there are many great Christian men and women in my country with resources and ideas that will spread evangelical thinking, and yet without the Forum I would have never known them. I am now able to unite with other evangelical leaders and spread the Gospel more efficiently and effectively as we work together rather than on our own. I would not be able to say this was happening without the work of the Forum. I want to continue developing all the benefits I mentioned and would like to build and strengthen the connection between great resources provided by the Forum and our needs in Slovakia.
What is your ministry?
As General Secretary of Cirkev Bratska I represent our denomination to other denominations inside and outside of Slovakia and to the state. I also serve on the Theological Committee of the International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches, where I oversee the ordination process of new pastors, organize and teach seminars on expository preaching, and hold an annual conference on Biblical proclamation. I am also a senior lecturer in Christian Ethics and Historical Theology the University of Matej Bel in Banska Bystrica.
Why should someone invest in your ministry?
I desire to enrich and expand my expositional preaching ministry, not only in my church, but abroad. It is so important for people to focus on what God wants to say to us through His Word rather than focusing on what makes us feel good. I want to be able to serve and teach a wider range of people. By investing in my ministry, you will be able to encourage the integration of Eastern European ministry and theological research into the international Evangelical movement. We as evangelical Christians are called to be agents of hope for Europe.