by Bob Gerow
Strategically located just seven miles from the Athens International Airport, AMG International's Cosmovision Center (CVC) is a one-of-a-kind multipurpose facility designed to address the spiritual needs of families, youth, and children of Greece and beyond.
The biblical land of Greece is a major cultural crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europe, and easily accessed from many parts of the world. Locating the CVC in Athens was an intentional way to serve many purposes for the cause of the gospel. Three major emphases dominate the ministry of CVC:
As a cultural and sports center, CVC served as a base for the evangelistic efforts surrounding the 2004 Olympic Games, and provided housing for Olympic volunteers. Today, the sports ministry continues at CVC under the direction of George Romeos. The facility's soccer field, climbing wall, dormitories, and meeting rooms are settings for sports programs, which in turn are settings for physical and spiritual transformation.
CVC conference and meeting facilities are also used throughout the year for families, church groups and youth and family outreach ministries, and a newly completed dormitory is a regular base for short-term teams that travel to Greece.
A second CVC ministry emphasis is the Zodhiates International New Testament Studies Center. The Zodhiates Center has grown out of years of ministry to U.S. college students through their institutions' Bible and Missions Departments. Now, students and their professors will be able to locate in Athens to study the New Testament where the biblical cities of Corinth, Philippi, Berea, and Thessaloniki are within driving distance. Israel and Turkey are also easily accessible.
The Zodhiates Center will provide Christian colleges and universities worldwide the unique opportunity to enhance their curricula through customized extension programs in Greece. God's people from Eastern Europe, the Arab world, and North Africa will also be able to attend high quality biblical studies, without incurring the associated high costs of studying in North America.
Most recently, students from Master's College in California took advantage of CVC facilities and location. Their 21-day trip began in Antioch, continued through Asia Minor and the churches mentioned in Revelation, moved on to Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, and to CVC in Athens. This cooperative academic program provided them opportunity to hear challenging messages and testimonies, and to study biblical history and archaeology "on location." Plans are in place for other students from Master's College, and from other U.S. schools, to participate in similar programs.
The third major emphasis at CVC will include the only Evangelical school in Athens. This private education initiative will be a pioneer ministry in Greece. The objective is to present the Christian message to present and future generations of Greeks, and meet an urgent need for a school for children of missionaries and foreign personnel serving in Eastern Europe, Arab countries, North Africa, and the Middle East.
In the first century, the Apostle Paul described his ministry to the believers at Corinth, in the following terms.
"For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you" (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
Each of the three emphases in the ministry of CVC follow the model of meeting the lost "where they are," so that "by all means, some may be saved." The CVC has enhanced the outreach of Greek Youth Ministries by providing facilities that draw youth of all ages to a place where they can see the gospel lived in the lives of activity leaders. The ministry of the Evangelical churches has been enriched with a facility that can accommodate larger and more diverse groups for meetings. The work of the Lord in Greece has been expanded because a Christian facility is centrally available for teams of students and volunteers for their studies, lodging and refreshment.
Bob Gerow is development administrator for AMG International.