It started with an invitation to preach at a pastors’ conference. It became so much more, as I spent time with Romanian Baptist leaders who are growing a network that cares for the pastors as dear friends and partners in ministry, and has a vision for revitalisation and multiplication of churches within the Romanian Baptist Union.
My reflections included the need for revitalisation in the life of the church leader and consideration of remaining in the vine. This became a conversation starter and led to a fruitful discussion at the end of the conference. Romanian contributors focused on the ministry of preaching and how to explore fresh approaches to preparation and presentation.
However, as is so often the case, the real encouragement for me was in seeing the depth of friendship between these pastors: the openness of the young to receive from their older colleagues; the desire of older colleagues to raise up this new generation, to support, protect and guide them; the commitment to walk with one another and to be there for one another.
Being in Bucharest at either end of the trip allowed me to visit the Project Ruth warehouse where food boxes are prepared for delivery to Ukraine. Funding is received from all over the globe for these carefully constructed, calorie-counted boxes that will ultimately make their way into the hands of families in the South East of Ukraine.
It was great to visit the Bucharest Baptist Seminary and share in the chapel service with the residential students. Whilst the seminary has many more students who gather online, these Romanian and Moldovan young men have committed themselves to 4 years of seminary study in preparation for ministry all over Romania and Moldova, including many impoverished rural areas.
My final visit was to one of the Bucharest Baptist churches, a blended service of modern and traditional worship. It was a beautiful end to the trip as we shared bread and wine together, the Scottish man, the Ukrainian women, and the Romanian families, united as one in Christ Jesus.