Over 400 English translations of the Bible exist today, and of the 2 versions of the Bible in Czech, neither of them were considered accessible to the modern speaker.
The lack of a contemporary Czech translation was troubling for church planter Sasa Flek. Currently Sasa is planting a new church in center-city Prague, but twenty years ago, before the collapse of communism, he also planted a church. During that time he experienced not only the frustrations of planting an underground church - since Christianity was prohibited - but also that of having no Bible translation available for young people or new Christians. While praying to God for a solution to this problem, Sasa experienced a personal call to take on the translation project himself. Sasa says, "I kept praying about it and then God told me to do something about it."
The translation took 15 years of study and writing by Sasa, and since being released this year at Eastertime, it has sold 70,000 copies, making it the best-selling book of the Czech Republic in 2009. It is called Bible21.
After his season of "solitary confinement" - as Sasa describes the 15 years he spent writing and doing research for the translation - he is now planting another church in center-city Prague. Even while working on Bible21, Sasa's primary goal was to plant a church and he senses that now is a critical moment in Prague's spiritual history. Communism has ended, it is now legal to practice Christianity, and there is a growing interest in the Bible among young people. A poll was done earlier this year and it found that 1% of the Czech population has already purchased Bible21 and another 5% has thought of buying it. This is encouraging to many in a country where the evangelical Christian population is very marginal - about .2% of the population as a whole.
This fall Sasa participated in the Redeemer Network Leaders Forum - a gathering of over 20 ministry leaders from around the world to meet in New York City about church planting movement strategy. "Being at Redeemer was such a confirmation for me," he said. "It's like God gave me the last green light during my time there to go and church plant. As if God said, 'It's time for Prague.'"
The church plant that Sasa is leading, called "The Way," held its first public worship service on November 29.