Russia (MNN) — The new generation of Russian youth crave truth. Youth ministry is seeing new and unbelievable growth in a generation that is more open to the Gospel than previous
This is partially due to the fact that youth are still trying to find their Russian identity. Life in Russia these days is increasingly more materialistic and less spiritual as they begin to build their new lives according to new standards since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. "The new generation is really empty, their souls and hearts. So they really hunger for truth," said Eugene Bakahmutsky who heads up all youth ministry in Russia with the Baptist Union and the support of the Slavic Gospel Association.
In Russia more youth than adults are baptized each year. At least 2,000 youth in Bakahmutksy's ministry join local churches every year. Youth are the most valued part of family to Russians who grew up in an atheistic communist Soviet Union. Without Christ, youthwere their source of hope and joy. Through this youth reformation they hope that the new life standards people are searching for become aligned with the Gospel standards.
The mind set of youth is a blessing and opportunity for sharing the Gospel with them. quot;I think God has ordained such a special circumstances for this particular period of life
because Bible-teaching churches in Russia have got a great chance to see a real progress of the Gospel," said Bakahmutsky.
"Youth were involved in local church life before, but it was not a real youth ministry- it was kind of being in church. But now, youth ministry looks like a strong movement, a real mechanism, a real approach to this new youth culture," said Bakahmutsky, "So, it's just brand new, really."
The main message Bakahmutsky aims to send to Russian youth is that the Gospel is active and appropriate for daily living.
With the increase of alcohol and drug use in Russia there is a greater chance for finding those in need. Recently, Bakahmutsky joined a group that visited college dorms to talk about Christ. "Every door which we knocked, every person we talked to wanted to talk about Jesus Christ. And, just because they lost hope in drugs, and they lost hope in entertainment stuff, they just wanted something serious, something real," Bakahmutsky said.
New religious laws hopefully will not threaten this ministry mostly because of the openness of youth. "This new generation of young people, they don't care who you are or who you belong – orthodox or evangelical- they care how you love them," Bakahmutsky said.
The greatest need in Russia is for youth pastors who are able to dedicate all their time to ministry. Bakahmutsky said, "Because opportunity is so great and many people really involved with Bible Christian churches we have more than 20,000 young people but we have less than 500 really trained youth pastors."
"I would be pleased if you would sponsor somehow some youth pastors in Russia," said Bakahmutsky. Around 95 percent of youth pastors are currently volunteers.