Mock says, “Reach Russia Now is…an intensive effort to reach unreached villages. It includes Compassion Ministry, supporting churches as they reach out to those in need…. It is helping Gospel missions. We’re helping groups from churches go out to unreached villages. And then it also includes training.”
There are high drinking and suicide rates in areas where these pastors work. Depression and addiction are also common. In some communities, people have never heard the hope of Christ.
SGA’s training equips pastors to know how to respond and speak hope into these situations.
“The training they were receiving was not only to give them [the] strength to deal with these very real issues in the Church today, but to give them the confidence to know that God’s Word has something to say about these issues — to let them know that God’s Word can be applied to a human heart in such a way to see them transform,” Mock says.
Iron Sharpens Iron
To provide this training, SGA sends pastors from America to “pass on their knowledge and experience” to the Church in Far East Russia.
“It’s an exciting thing. It used to be known at SGA as the Antioch initiative, and that represents the training portion…. But in this case, it’s under the umbrella of Reach Russia Now,” Mock says.
The Antioch initiative provides pastors in Far East Russia with six to seven years of theological training by SGA.
“The capstone to that is not only to learn to preach and teach the Word of God, [but] that you also take it, [and] learn to invest one-on-one in disciple-making [and] in counseling others,” Mock says.
Applying Practical Theology
In teaching Biblical counseling, practical theology is a necessary accompaniment. During the training, SGA-supported pastors dived into the “what” and “how” of practical theology. As described by Mock, practical theology takes a person from explaining the Gospel to applying it to the human heart.
“It’s one thing for someone to ask, ‘Can I explain the Gospel to them?’ It’s another thing for a person to say, ‘I just lost my child. What does God’s word have to say about that?’,” Mock says.
“Practical theology is the tool that comes back and says there is great hope. There is hope in Christ. You’re no longer shackled to sin. In Christ, you can move forward, not only the strength for today but the hope for tomorrow. The reality of John 16:33 is the statement that in this life, in this world, we will have a great number of tribulations. Then Christ says, ‘Take heart, have courage [for] I have overcome.’”
Will You Help?
Will you help support the training of these pastors through the Reach Russia Now initiative? Begin by praying for God’s guidance in their ministry. Pray God would equip and encourage these pastors to not only share the Gospel but to disciple their congregations well.
Pray that despite increasing pressures, these churches would continue their ministry and be a light for Christ in their communities. Finally, pray the doors will stay open for the Gospel in the lands of Russia.
Another way to support the Reach Russia Now initiative is by giving.
To give, click here.
Head photo courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association.