Introduction / History Ethnic Czechs are part of the West Slavic subgroup of Slavic peoples. They settled into Central Europe at a time when Germanic tribes were on the move. Linguistically they are closely related to the Slovaks, whom they shared a country with from 1918-1992.
Their nation, what we now call the Czech Republic, was dominated by Germany and other foreign powers for hundreds of years. For that reason, the Czech people initiated an attempt to revive their culture and language. They called this Pan-Slavism.
The Czech people have had a major spiritual impact on the world. Bohemia and Moravia were two nations in their part of Europe. Jan Huss was an important Protestant reformer from Bohemia. Out of Moravia came an international Protestant mission effort led by Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Today the Czech Republic is mainly Roman Catholic.
Though the Czech people live mainly in the Czech Republic, they also live in 28 other countries, mainly in Europe. There was a wave of Czech people leaving their country after WWII when the Soviets took control of it. Others left after the failed Prague Spring protests in 1968. When the Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004, Czechs were free to enter the work force of Western nations. Commonly, the best and brightest among the Czechs are welcome in these countries.
A small number of ethnic Czechs arrived during early colonial days from Bohemia. The first wave of Czech to enter the US came in 1848 as political refugees. By the 1850s there was a sizable Czech community, mostly in the cities of the Midwest, especially Chicago. By the early 20th century, Czech immigrants arrived with their families. Others came in the 20th century to escape the Nazi or communist takeover of their country.
The Czech people are noted for their love of freedom, and most were literate. They tended to settle among other immigrant groups, especially Germans and Poles.
What are their lives like? There is a large Czech diaspora in the United States. Though the Czech are mostly assimilated into American life and most speak English, they have their own associations. This allows them to protect their language and culture.
Czechs tend to be reserved with strangers, but with friends, they like to sit and drink, deepening relationships.
Czech society is patriarchal. Women will take on the husband's name after marriage and husbands take pride in providing for their families. However, this is changing. Today women are expected to work after marriage, because it is nearly impossible to raise a family on a single income salary in most of Europe.
What are their beliefs? The Czechs value free thinking. For this reason, many abandoned Roman Catholicism when they arrived in the US and tried other religious beliefs. Even those who claim to be secularists believe in certain occult practices such as tarot reading, astrology, fortune telling and astral projection. When asked what they believe in, they would say "there is something," which typically refers to spiritual powers or destiny. Yet they deny the existence of one personal God. Eastern religious practices have gained popularity, namely yoga and eastern meditation. Officially they are usually Roman Catholic.
In the Christian community and church life, local evangelical churches are scattered. They do not cooperate with other churches harming the cause of Christ.
What are their needs? Some of their ancestors were great Christian reformers. No matter where they live, the Czech people need to put Christ first in their lives.
Prayer Points Pray for spiritual hunger and a discernment that will keep them away from spiritual counterfeits.
Pray for the Czech people to forsake New Age beliefs.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to revive the Czech church, leading them to make disciples who make more disciples.
Pray for Czech fellowships to be Christ centered rather than tradition centered.
Pray there will soon come a day when the Czech people will send loving workers to the unreached people groups.