Faith Church in Budapest, Hungary

"We hear of about 20-30 believers in many small villages," Németh says, "and we plan to plant new churches all over the country. There are very many 10-year-old Christians in our churches that we intend to train and commission, and we are presently intensifying our training programs for domestic missionaries."

At the continental European level, Németh is expecting the arrival of a 21st-century revival that will be the result of the "restoration of the apostolic ministry," he says.

In addition to the "invisible aspect" of the work of the Holy Spirit in his own church, Németh pinpoints two other key components that are fueling the fires of revival at his church and in the others under the Faith Church umbrella.

First, there is the ongoing persecution that has changed--but not ceased--since the fall of European communism and the establishing of democracy in 1989 (see related article on page 94). Second, there is the strong emphasis on transforming people's political worldview, on both individual and national levels.

"Without a biblical worldview our faith is hollow," Németh stresses. "I always preach two to three hours--and I always did--because I want to accustom the believers to living by the Word."

Faith Church runs its own elementary and secondary schools and is in the midst of a dispute with the Hungarian government over the church's request to be licensed to establish a university. Such initiatives are progressive and stand out within European charismatic circles.

Faith Church also publishes the political weekly Hetek. Church members played a critical role in founding one of Hungary's new democratic parties during the 1990s.

Even during the Sunday service in Budapest Németh spends much of his time instilling biblical worldviews into his congregation, while assuring the 15,000 attendees that if they put their trust in God's Word, God will not fail them.

At one point, Németh and Peter Hack--a leading politician in Hungary and an elder in Faith Church--thumb through the latest issue of Hetek together, commenting on current articles and urging congregants to give themselves to changing Hungary.

It is all part of a routine Sunday church gathering at Faith Church, where business as usual is anything but for churches throughout Hungary and across Europe.

Two hours after the 10 a.m. service began, the congregation is just warming up. At 1 p.m., Németh starts preaching. At 2 o'clock he is halfway through his sermon. At 4 p.m. the service ends, and the people show signs of leaving--but not of fatigue.

During the offering Németh paces back and forth with his hands folded on his back. "Critics say that we are forcing you to give financially," he reasons with the crowd. "But the Word says that giving will result in rich blessings, and the freedom of religion includes the freedom to live by the Word."

He keeps talking, like a daddy speaking to his children, correcting and encouraging, turning people's attention away from the secular influences that abound in society.

"When you get home from work, pick up the Bible--not the mobile phone or the remote control for the TV," he exhorts. "These things have power today."

His sermon is a powerful warning against the sexual perversion that is permeating modern Hungary, and possibly more than a thousand church members respond by coming forward to confess their sins and renew their commitment to Christ.

One of Németh's co-pastors says the reason for the exceptional growth of the movement is plain to see.

"The most important factor is Sándor Németh's apostolic ministry," says Peter Lörincz, pastor of the 1,500-strong Faith Church congregation in Pécs in southwest Hungary, who views his own ministry as a continuation of Németh's. In Lörincz's words, Németh's anointing is "efficient in all of Hungary."

It is a description that rings true to Faith Church's impact on the nation. In the Hungarian language, the word for "faith" is hit. And Faith Church, or Hit Church, has been just that--a hit among thousands of spiritually deprived east Europeans who since the atheistic Iron Curtain parted have seen in Németh's ministry the power of a living God at work in the lives of everyday people.

Tomas Dixon is a journalist based in Sweden. He has filed reports for Charisma from a variety of locations in Europe and Asia, most recently from Bosnia, where he reported on God's work there in the wake of last year's religious and ethnic violence.

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