My relationship with Ukraine began in the early 2000s. It slowly unfolded into a total of 3 trips.
|Speaking in a chapel service.|
This was the overriding principle I tried to bring to the church there: equipping and empowering all Christians for the work of serving the Lord Christ rather than allowing the pastors to do most of the work themselves. I believe that if this principle of every-member ministry were more clearly seen and acted upon in our churches, there would be a far more vigorous church life. Unfortunately, I see many churches, whether in Ukraine or Romania or Hungary or many of the other nations I've visited in Europe, hamstrung because the leadership will not decentralize.
The current political situation in Ukraine obviously is of great concern to us all, but yesterday I heard from my contacts in the church there and I can tell you they are strong and doing well. Still, care shows itself in a myriad of ways, and the church in America, if it is to attract anyone to its Master, must embody the practical care for others in need that so characterized the life of the early church, as I noted in chapter 7 of my book Seven Marks of a New Testament Church. Incidentally, such help as keeping the believers in Ukraine in our prayers can be a marvelous way of nurturing the body of Christ there. Then we can help in practical ways as the Lord makes these ways known to us. We can't casually walk away from our obligation to our sisters and brothers in Europe. They require our personal attention. Our response may well mark the difference between life and death, so let us continue to pray and pray fervently.
|My class in Odessa.|