Population: 4.4 million (2012)
Official language: Croatian
Major religion: Christianity
IFES movement: Studentski Evandeoski Pokret (STEP)
Croatia is a Mediterranean country with a turbulent political and cultural history which includes conflicting nationalistic and communist heritages. It is also a meeting point of Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Islam.
- 4 state universities, many private tertiary institutions
- STEP groups only in Zagreb currently
- 1 full-time and 2 part-time staff, 10 student volunteers
- new graduate ministry
- largest group at the University of Philosophy in Zagreb (15 members)
- smallest group has 5-6 members
STEP is a small movement but they are excited to see Christian students with wide-awake spirits and well-reasoned faiths. These students bring new enthusiasm and competence in articulating the gospel among sceptical students.
Modest in numbers does not mean modest in impacting universities. A couple of well-promoted academically high-level events put STEP on the map of the media and university staff. A series of lectures by Dr John Lennox in Croatia’s capital Zagreb got significant media attention and packed lecture halls. So STEP received public exposure in the best possible way. Journalists asked STEP members to keep them informed about other initiatives in the future. STEP has out of obscurity into public light as competent to dialogue about issues regarding the university and beyond.
View from the inside
Roko Kerovec is the General Secretary of STEP. He says of his calling to student ministry, ‘I am writer and a musician; my audience in both cases are young, intelligent and vibrant people – mostly students. This makes them the most interesting and appealing group of people for me. Therefore, leading a student ministry is a natural extension of my being and interests.’
Roko is encouraged by Romans 8:21 and its vision of a future where ‘the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.’
- for students to have courage, vision and competence to start their own evangelistic initiatives;
- for new partnerships with churches to flourish;
- for STEP to capitalise on the newly gained publicity and public favour;
- for the next generation of student volunteers;
- for financial stability in the long term.