Christ-following Christians are the best citizens for any state government . . . unless the State forces Christians to choose between “Caesar” and Christ. During the Cold War, Christians in Russia and Eastern Europe found themselves disobeying government authorities in order to obey God. Entrust began in 1979 as a ministry to help Christians who were isolated from other believers by authorities who wanted to suppress and eliminate them. Several ministries secretly working behind the Iron Curtain, focusing primarily on discipleship and evangelism, recognized the need for training for pastors and church leaders. They decided it would be more effective to join forces for maximum Kingdom impact.
Under the name Biblical Education by Extension, International (BEE International), this historic cooperative venture brought together staff members from Campus Crusade, Navigators, Open Doors, Operation Mobilization (OM International), Slavic Gospel Association, International Teams, Taking Christ to the Millions (TCM International), European Christian Mission, Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society (World Venture), East European Bible Mission (EEBM) and Church Resource Ministries (CRM) with a goal of providing comprehensive training for pastors and church leaders denied training by antagonistic communist governments.
Staff members lived in Austria and traveled regularly in and out of the communist countries, presumably as tourists. All was done with great secrecy. A Christian document carelessly left in a bag could result not only in being expelled from the country, but might also lead to great suffering for the Christians contacted in that country. To attract as little attention as possible, training was done in small groups, sometimes in believers’ homes at night in whispers, with materials often smuggled in by Bible smuggling organizations such as Open Doors.
BEE International could not adopt the commonly accepted mode of formal seminary training as such an option simply wasn’t available. Over time, BEE International’s traveling trainers-of-pastors came to appreciate the value of facilitated, interactive learning and how small groups allowed for powerful life-on-life instruction, much like the example set by Jesus. In 1989, with the fall of communism, former totalitarian states were suddenly thrown open. BEE International was in place to help new mission groups become established. Many of BEE International’s staff members in Austria chose to move into the various countries in which they’d served. Hundreds of new missionaries flowed in, many local believers chose to exercise their new right to move to freer lands and the local church experienced drastic, rapid change.
To this day, much of the church leadership in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the former East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the republics of the former Yugoslavia and all of what was once the USSR, was trained by BEE International. BEE International staff continued to train church leaders in Eastern Europe and Russia while simultaneously exploring additional strategies and avenues of service. New ministries were formed, such as East-West Ministries (which focused on evangelism and church planting) and BEE World (which focused on closed countries in Asia). BEE International began to receive invitations to take its training expertise to Africa and Asia.
In 2005, the leadership of BEE International selected a new organizational name that would characterize the distinctive nature of its mission, “Entrust,” signifying its calling to utilize Christ’s example of small-group discipling and to follow the apostle Paul’s words indicating this generational training when he said, “And the things you (Timothy, a second generation trainer) have heard me (Paul, a first generation trainer) say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful people (third generation trainers) who will be equipped to train others (a fourth generation)." 2 Timothy 2:2
The legacy of Entrust’s Cold War years is an organization strategically positioned to equip other ministries with the tools necessary to train men and women to lead a rapidly growing church around the world. Currently, Entrust is equipping indigenous ministries to train leaders across Russia, Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, with new initiatives underway in Asia, Latin America and even in North America.