Located in central Europe, Austria is bordered by eight countries. Three-fourths of the land area consists of the Austrian Alps. The typical Austrian is a fun-loving person who enjoys his leisure to the fullest in this beautiful country. He spends much of his free time strolling through the woods or hiking on mountain trails. The Austrian prefers keeping to himself. He has only one or two friends in a lifetime.
Born-again believers account for a mere one-tenth of 1 percent of the population, or about 3,500 people. About 78 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. The majority of Austria's 3,346 towns and villages have no Protestant group that preaches the Word.
The work of Baptist Mid-Missions in Austria began in late 1967 when Roland and Betty Shelton arrived in Vienna. Others came to Austria for a time and ministered. In 1992 BMM missionaries baptized their first Austrian believers. In 1994 missionaries organized their first independent Baptist church in Austria in Fulpmes.
In recent years, BMM missionaries have noticed a type of spiritual inquisitiveness. Many Austrians are starting to question the doctrines and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and are increasingly coming out of the church. Some seek answers from the Word of God. Unfortunately, many disillusioned Roman Catholics turn to the cults, mysticism, and other non-Christian religion.
The most effective type of outreach to the Austrian people continues to be one-on-one contacts.
Baptist Mid-Missions' continuing goals for Austria are evangelizing and discipling, establishing local Baptist churches, and expanding into other areas of the country. To have a work in or near each of the five major cities, eight couples (four teams) are needed. Numerous towns and villages have no gospel witness as well.
We currently have no missionaries in Austria, but missionaries who are burdened for this country will find opportunities to serve in church planting.