Training pastors in the CIS key to reaching the world

By July 29, 2004

CIS (MNN) — Training is the only thing preventing wide-spread church growth in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Slavic Gospel Association supports four Bible schools and seminaries in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. SGA needs support to help even more believers receive theological education so outreach can flourish in those nations and beyond.

Joel Griffith is with the SGA. He says, “If you go back over the time that we’ve sponsored these Bible institutes, since their formation, they’ve produced all in all about 2,300 graduates and pastors and church planters, and it’s really helped strengthen the church there.”

While many of these graduates are working in evangelism, church planting and discipleship at home, many others are reaching beyond their borders, says Griffith. “Odessa Theological Seminary, they’ve been very active about sending some of their graduates out to not only some of the ‘stan’ countries, but other countries in Eastern Europe. They’re able to train pastors for their own congregations and church plant(ing), but they’re also able to send out missionaries.”

Financial support for the program is needed as demand for the training is great. “They have to turn away 20 to 25 qualified seminary applicants do to the lack of capacity in their current building. They were able to purchase, with SGA assistance, a kindergarten building and they’re working on getting the remodeled and prepared to open classes up in there,” says Griffith.

Churches in the United States are sending work teams to help the remodeling efforts. They’re also helping with some of the training.

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