Ukraine (MNN) — Does the church in the former Soviet Union need more churches, or does it need stronger churches? That was just one of the questions addressed at Forum 20, a symposium sponsored by the Association of Spiritual Renewal, an arm of Russian Ministries.
Wally Kulakoff with Russian Ministries was at the symposium which featured evangelical and traditional religions. It wasn't a worship event; it was a "status of the church" event. Kulakoff says Forum 20 discussed many questions. "Why is the evangelical church marginal today in society — in the post Soviet society? Have evangelical churches become national, or have they remained post-Soviet?"
Kulakoff says one of the major concerns is the lack of growth in the evangelical church. "Today, they have lost a lot of members. The churches don't have enough leaders." He says, "Forty percent of the churches, in the post-Soviet days, do not have leaders. That's why School Without Walls is probably the pillar today. [It's] a non-formal type of training, preparing churches to be stronger. It's not more churches that they need: it is stronger churches." Kulakoff says stronger churches can impact society.
The School Without Walls program will empower young people to lead today's churches. Kulakoff says, "The churches will become more independent, have missions programs, start having short-term missions programs, and will start to send out missionaries." All of these activities can't help but see the national church grow.
While Bible training is important, Kulakoff says young Christian leaders need something more. "School Without Walls addresses the questions and the problems that the church has. Therefore, they create a solution and create a team of young people that begin to be involved in finding answers to some of their problems."
Forum 20 also presented an opportunity to reach out to the Orthodox Church. They want the youth Bibles produced by Russian Ministries. One Orthodox priest said, "We want to have Scriptures in our churches, and we want young people to read Scriptures."
You can help Russian Ministries print more Bibles and also support their School without Walls program. Click here to go to their Web site.