Emmanuel Baptist Church, Lugansk, Ukraine
In 1991, while meeting the needs of Ukrainian refugees in the area, Beverly Park Baptist Church (BPBC), Seattle, Washington was presented a house in the Ukraine for mission works. BPBC prayed constantly and with great intensity for several months about whether or not to accept this gift. The Lord revealed that this house was to be used in establishing a church in Lugansk, Ukraine. This church was to attract the whole of Lugansk, a city of 600,000 souls, to Jesus. The Lord would then equip these Ukrainian brothers and sisters to plant additional new churches. The vision was one of people moving across the former Soviet Union establishing churches. Even though Americans could travel in the former Soviet Union, they would not be able to start churches. To the contrary, the Ukrainians could travel there and establish churches. The Lord established Emmanuel Baptist Church and, through this church, God has chosen to prepare the Ukrainians to touch all of eastern Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. In February of 2001, Open Door Missions was created to assist Emanuel Baptist in equipping the Ukrainians.
Over the years, ODM has been blessed to have had the opportunity to do a lot of evangelism, church planting, building construction, discipleship and some food distribution. We also have some medical mission opportunities. We participate in a Bible College and a School of Music at the mother church, Emmanuel Baptist in Lugansk. There are a lot of Vacation Bible School mission opportunities available during the summer months for those who are interested in reaching children. Emmanuel Baptist Church is our mission center in the Lugansk area and mission teams are housed and feed from this location. Our plans include building another mission center approximately two hours away in Novadruvisk, where support and partner with Pastor Stepan and the Bethesda Church. The Ukraine offers many mission opportunities and we constantly seek people will to help support pastors and their families there. One to two hundred dollars a month can support a national mission pastor and his family in this spiritually hungry and open country.
What church doesn’t have conflict or divergence that might lead to a conflict? What is our strategy for dealing with conflict within our Christian fellowship? We do not like to talk about conflict in our churches, but the devastating reality of church environment gives our congregations a poor testimony in the communities that we seek to reach with the Gospel. In our ministry of planting churches, we saw a potential for conflict within young congregations and a need to give new believers tools for conflict resolution. We decided to be pro-active in providing biblical training to growing congregations in order to minimize and prevent conflict situations as well as equipping them with scriptural guidelines. At that time, our Lord introduced us to Christian Unity Ministries whose teaching addressed the issues we were confronting. In October 2004, Open Door Missions invited Christian Unity Ministries to teach their material “Five Principles of Unity” in Ukrainian churches. Blake Coffee, the author of “Five Principles of Unity,” and several board members taught a series of seminars in Baptist churches of Lugansk region. Pastors of all congregations that attended seminars received copies of the translated material and were grateful to have this teaching tool for review and later reference. At that time, both Open Door Missions and Christian Unity Ministries perceived a need to publish the book, “Five Principles of Unity,” to make it available to Ukrainian believers and began seeking a publisher. A Ukrainian publishing company agreed to print 10,000 copies of the book for $5,000, to be distributed in Ukrainian churches through Open Door Missions. The bishop of Baptist Union churches in Lugansk region requested that Christian Unity Ministries should teach seventy seminars in the churches and missions of the region in the summer of 2007. Our Lord is very serious about our relationships within the community of faith. If we are obedient to the Lord’s instruction, we may avoid devastating pain and humiliation of church conflict.
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