Gretchen grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Mark is a native of Windsor, Ontario. They each served as short- term missionaries in 1991 – Gretchen in France, and Mark as the first TEAM missionary in the former Czechoslovakia. Their paths crossed at TEAM’s orientation program for missionaries in 1993, and the following year God led them together in marriage and in ministry.
The Potmas have served as church-planting missionaries in Prague since 1996. They helped to establish the Šeberov church (1996-2000), South City church (2001-2005), the Skalka church (2006-2012), and the Ládví church (2013-present), in addition to training new leaders and church planters. In May 2010 Mark was ordained as a pastor in Církev bratrská, the Czech denomination which TEAM partners with in church planting.
Luke (1997), Noemi (1998), Ben (2002), Elise (2004)
We believe that God is working through our ministry of church planting, discipleship, evangelism, and leadership training to transform the city of Prague by the power of the good news of Jesus Christ. Gretchen teaches conversational English and evangelistic Bible classes, ministers to children and families from the church and the neighborhood, and coaches new TEAM missionaries. Mark was ordained in 2010, and since 2011 has led the South City, Skalka, and L?dv? churches as their interim administrative pastor; discipling, mentoring, and encouraging the local church leaders and missionary co-workers.
The spark of reformation begun by the Czech martyr John Hus in 1415 burned for a time, but was almost snuffed out during 300 years of Hapsburg rule. Further persecution of believers followed under Nazi occupation and then 41 years of communist dictatorship, leaving behind a mentality of cynicism and passivity. Over 80 percent of Czechs claim no religious faith whatsoever, making the Czech Republic one of the most atheistic countries in the world.
Prague, the Czech capital, has long been a crossroads of Europe and is the center of political, cultural, academic, and economic life of the country. Because its architecture has been virtually untouched by the ravages of wars across Europe over the centuries, it is a popular tourist destination. TEAM?s focus for church planting is the greater Prague area, and our vision is to be part of establishing 20 new churches in 20 new communities by 2020.
At present, 76 churches and 7000 believers belong to the Czech Church of the Brethren, which is the largest and strongest evangelical group in the Czech Republic and TEAM?s Czech partner for church planting. There is much work to be done: evangelical believers make up only 0.4 percent of the Czech Republic?s 10.5 million people.
Primary Prayer Request:
Pray for spiritual growth for new Czech believers. Pray for strength and wisdom for the new generation of young Czech church leaders. Pray for opportunities to coach them and to lead by example. Pray for our continuing work of evangelism, church planting and leadership development in Prague.