Ukraine (MNN) — Nearly 200 leaders representing ministries from countries all over the former Soviet Union joined together over the weekend to discuss the future of evangelism in that part of the world. Russian Ministries sponsored the International Evangelical Missions Forum to discuss where the church has been collectively, where it is now, and where it's going.
There is a crisis in many of these countries. The evangelical church is in decline because many churches are stuck in their traditions and legalism. Vice President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says this conference is historic because now all evangelicals are finally talking about the problem. "They see that there is a young generation that is not going to be stopped by any tradition [or] any legalism. They are on a mission to make the evangelical church more active and more effective, and I'm glad to see they're all together in the same room discussing how to prepare a new generation for leadership."
The conference may be the tool God uses to revolutionize outreach in this region of the world, however Rakhuba understands it may not happen immediately. "But there is a beginning of change in the evangelical church. It will not just be saving its traditions and legalism, but the evangelical church has a wake-up call because their churches aren't filled with young people any more. There are lots of young people who are searching for truth, and the church has a responsibility to provide that answer."
With a successful forum completed, Rakhuba is already talking about next year. "I'm working with my colleagues to having something similar, but in a little different format."
He says the forum wasn't the final answer to the problems, it was more of a beginning in a time of transition for many organization working there. Rakhuba says, "The expatriate mission is searching for its own identity in this country. But the evangelical churc–that's also searching for a new identity for mission work. So it was the right time for it."
Right now, Rakhuba is asking people to pray "that God will be talking to everybody, that those who go back to their churches and their communities will analyze this dialogue. Now it's up to the Holy Spirit to use this for His glory."