About this partnership
The Estonia partnership has primarily concentrated on working in the largest area of population in and around Tallinn. Estonia is the least 'religious' country in the European Union with less than 1% of the population being evangelical Christians.
We have a vision of ringing the capital city with life giving churches and a goal of seeing 7000 people come to Jesus in the next 10 years. Our 'guy on the ground' in Estonia is Pastor Miguel Zayas who has lived in Tallinn for nearly 15 years. He has pastored Vineyard Tallinn since its inception, he initiated the 1st ever National Prayer Breakfast which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and he leads a Bible study for members of parliament. Our work in Estonia has also involved working with several orphanages, numerous camps, concerts and a residential maternity center, all with the goal of bringing the Gospel to this former Soviet block nation. Our next initiative is to form a Baltic partnership and plant churches in the nations of Latvia and Lithuania as well as Estonia. We desire to see a network of thriving Vineyard churches throughout all the Baltic States.
By Anthony Jessop and John Brown
Anthony Jessop will officially “be handed the keys” to become the Senior Pastor of Vineyard Tallinn in April 2017 as he takes over to build on the foundation laid by Miguel Zayas [featured in Video].
Many wonderful people fill the beautiful nation of Estonia. However, many Estonians have felt manipulated by institution and religion over the years, and they carry high suspicion of church and of anything Jesus-related. People here crave authenticity and the church has to be willing to do what they believe, even if it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient. So we are learning to open up our homes and lives to those around us, to show them how much the Father really does love and care for people, and that real life comes only through Jesus.
Our congregation has become an amazing mixture of people, from a variety of backgrounds. There are numerous nationalities represented, as well as families, singles, older people, and those who are working through numerous challenges in their lives, such as addiction, homelessness and abuse. Although this diversity presents great challenges, especially financially, it exemplifies the Kingdom of God, where everyone, no matter what background they come from, can find a seat at the table and join the celebration as we follow Jesus together.
The vision of our congregation, leadership and partnership can be summed up in our desire to be “A family of Worshippers sent by God to Serve.” We want to be at the centre of the community, lifting up Jesus, planting churches, serving the needs of people in Tallinn and being a family for those who don’t believe in family.
We are so encouraged by the young people who have come to faith and continue to follow Jesus, despite society, friends, and often even parents telling them that they are wasting their lives. To continue to follow Jesus in an environment where your parents and friends are pressuring you to pursue a life of hedonism is truly admirable. These young people’s authentic love for Jesus is a constant inspiration.
For personal growth, Anthony is currently reading, Now to Him by Neil Bennetts and Simon Ponsonby. “But,” he says, “I’d also encourage everyone to get God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. I read it in a day and a half, and I’m dyslexic!”
We welcome new local churches to join the partnership team, it is easy to jump on board especially since we are in a time of transitioning the senior pastor
Population: 1.2 million
Number of Vineyard Churches: 1
Primary Religion: None
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Ave. Education: 16 years
Estonia, a country in Northern Europe, faces the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. Including more than 1,500 islands, its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forest and many lakes. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, it's dotted with castles, churches and hilltop fortresses. The capital, Tallinn, is known for its preserved Old Town, museums and the 314m-high Tallinn TV Tower’s observation deck. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Estonia's economy fell into recession in mid-2008, as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the bursting of the real estate market bubble and a decrease in export demand as result of economic slowdown in the rest of Europe, but the economy recovered strongly in the five years up to 2014.
John is the senior pastor at Harmony Vineyard Church in Kansas City Missouri. He has been involved in the nation of Estonia for 14 years and has been involved in church planting there since 2004. He has taken teams to Estonia since 2006 and has made over a dozen trips to work with churches in the capitol city of Tallinn.
We have a need for mature Christian people and Christian couples to model Christian living and leadership for our fledgling churches. We need help in bringing people to faith in Jesus and discipling them so new indigenous leaders can be raised up make disciples who make disciples. The fields are very ripe!
Consider joining our partnership by clicking the link atop this page. Together we can impact Estonia for generations to come.