Youth conference encourages church in Russia

By February 18, 2008

Russia (MNN) – There are concerns being voiced from Washington DC that Russia could be heading back to Cold War status, something Russia's Vladimir Putin flatly denies.

The Russian head acknowledged his desire to build up internal development so the administration can tackle more successfully the other social and economic problems.

However, there are shadows lurking in the distance between Russia and the United States, something being played up in media accounts across the board.

Yet, even though there's been a lot of negative press about Russia in recent days, Slavic Gospel Association's President Bob Provost there is a lot of good news. He was in Russia for a youth leader conference recently. 

What he came away with was the highest level of excitement he's seen in years.  Based on what he saw, the church will be facing some beautiful growing pains. "Consider 350 local church youth directors from 61 states of Russia. It was a phenomenal conference. The theme of the conference was simply, 'Be Strong,' from 1 John 2:14. These men, together, are leading a movement of more than 20,000 Russian youth." 

This movement started 10 years ago with a young Russian student who had a vision for youth and evangelism. Eugene Bkhmutusky turned down a full scholarship to pursue a doctorate in scientific economics to pursue studies with SGA at the Strategic Bible Institute in Novosibirsk, Siberia (which would eventually become the Novosibirsk Biblical Theological Seminary).

Eugene served as youth leader of the Novosibirsk Baptist Church which eventually led to running the development of youth ministries for the Baptist Union. His zeal is seen in the network developed among leader-trainers. It was many of these youth leaders who were at the recent conference Provost attended.

The conference offered seminars that covered prayer ministry, personal evangelism, creative evangelism, outreach work in public schools, purity and holiness, coordinating youth ministry and working with rehabilitation ministries, among others.

Many leaders committed to getting grounded again in the Bible, agreeing to read through it in 2008. It is one way to prepare themselves for the things yet to come. 

Provost says he's praying that the conference theme becomes manifest in their lives. "When you have growing churches, many of them now with strong visionary youth leaders, you are leading youth movements in their communities. The prospect in the future is very exciting, even though there's tremendous opposition. The opposition right now is greater than it's been since the Lord granted freedom in 1989. You just see His hand in this movement."

Youth leaders also received key tools to help them in their work, among them God and Man by Dr. Roman Dechtiarenko, The DaVinci Code Quest by Josh McDowell, Preaching with Passion by Pastor Alex Montoya, and Our Sufficiency in Christ by Dr. John MacArthur.

Eugene Bakhmutsky remains actively involved in raising evangelistic leaders up to encourage new believers around Russia. It's a monumental task, and one that needs constant prayer. 

Please pray for Eugene, his wife Tanya, and their two young children, as well as the Russian Baptist Youth Ministry. The future of the church has never been warmer nor more promising in Russia.

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