The Baptist Union of Russia, together with its mission partners, has the goal to plant at least 70 new congregations all over the vast territory of Russian Federation during the next couple of years.
Baptists in Russia
The Baptists in Russia trace their history to 1867. Some of the first pioneers were influenced by G.Oncken, great Baptist evangelist of Europe in the 19th century. The movement grew quickly and 50 years later they numbered well over 100 000. In 1911 the Russian Baptists joined the BWA. There are now about 72 000 Baptists who worship in 1 664 local congregations.
Revd dr. Piotr Mitskevitch – the president of the Baptist Union in Russia says: “The Lord is calling His church to be the Light of the World. The Russian Baptists make effort ‘to know Him and let Him known’. We are also grateful to the Baptists around the world for the prayers and partnerships in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Josif Makarenko, the vice-president of Baptist Union with particular responsibility for the missionary ministry and Vladimir Zhylenkov, the director of the church planting program are implementing the vision of multiplication. They emphasize that the growth of every local congregation depends mainly on multiplication of disciples. They also believe that the growth of Baptist movement depends particularly on church planting.
The union has the goal to plant at least 70 new Baptist congregations all over the vast territory of Russia. Currently the union facilitates 25 mission teams in 2 regions where Baptists are particularly scarce: Siberia and North East Russia. There are the total of 7 regions in Russia and the plan is that in each region at least 10 new churches will be started before the year 2022.
The EBF is currently facilitating one church plant in Tyumen, Siberia and there are plans for an extension of this exciting cooperation. Here are some excerpts from the recent report of the church planter Alexandr.
“Our story began about two and a half years ago when a group of 16 people from 2 existing churches decided to found a new congregation in Tyumen. It was important for us to have a blessing of the already established churches and their pastors. Before that we had been praying for 8 months for a vision of new ministry and selected a group of pioneers. We are particularly grateful to our mother church for the spiritual encouragement and practical help.
In September 2016 we started with our Sunday meetings which were organized in a rented hall in the city center. This location has been chosen because there is no gospel preaching church in that part of city. Tyumen is populated by over a million inhabitants and the majority are young people or professionals. There are 5 universities and dozens of colleges in our city.
During only one year our church has doubled in size. God blesses us tremendously and every Sunday we have about 50 attendees plus several children. Our congregation has 32 members and each one has a list of friends or relatives to regularly pray for and develop relationships. We train and encourage our people to propagate the Gospel starting from the lifestyle.
Our church plant is being led by 5 elders who comprise the core mission team. They have the task of overseeing and training other leaders. Moreover there is a wider group of 15 leaders who are responsible for different ministries, like: teaching, worship, youth meetings, Sunday school, social work, events etc. During the week I meet with them individually for accountability and prayer.
On Tuesday night we encourage our people to meet in small groups and elaborate the Sunday’s sermon. Twice in a month women meet and likewise also men. A special course ‘The pillar of the faith’ is designed for those who want to be baptized or become church members. We also teach tithing and thanks to that we are able to pay a rent, however it costs 85% of total collections.”
Please pray for:
the new leadership of the Russian Baptist Union and effective implementation of the new vision;
good continuation of ministry in Tyumen and preparation of 25 new teams to plant new congregations in St. Petersburg, Kemerovo and Volgograd;
more workers and training of leaders for new communities.
Your intercessory prayers for the Baptist mission work in Russia are greatly valued!