In spite of the challenges facing the country of Ukraine, God is building his Church. In the face of these obstacles, or perhaps because of them, the people of God are being that salt and light, particularly in the eastern part of the country but this is happening throughout the country.
In every one of the countries we serve, the Church is in a different stage of growth with different realities that directly impacts the work of leadership development. While we tend to associate large numbers with growth and success, God is also at work in places where the soil is harder and the church is in a more “winter” or “dry” season.
It is within this context that we are encouraged to see the work that Maxym is doing among leaders in his city of eastern Ukraine. Together, they are committed to raising up a generation of servant leaders who are serving the Body of Christ in their region and equipping them to do those works of service talked about in Eph. 4:11-12.
In October Phil was again in eastern Ukraine and spent time with each of these ministry teams. As a ministry Coach in our Network, Maxym volunteers his effort and time to do this on top of leading a missions group (New Hope Ministries) that ministers to orphans and displace/dysfunctional families. He is also providing leadership to a new church plant that has been birthed from this ministry.
Together he & Phil spent a day coaching the team of this new church plant as well as several other teams of churches in the same city. One of the pastors, Yakov, is also planting a new daughter church out of his existing church and so Phil was also able to spend time with this new team.
As someone has said, a church planting movement is really a leadership development movement. It is only as we develop leaders that we will have the capacity to plant new healthy churches. Our goal is to change the culture in these new churches so that these young leaders will be equipped and experience a new model of ministry based on people and service, rather than power and position.
Another one of the pastors we are helping is Akim, who is the pastor of a church that grew out of an addiction recovery ministry. This is a huge need in this part of the world and it is exciting to see God change these men’s lives and see the freedom they have in Christ after all the bondages that have entangled them.
Thank you for your prayers for Max and our ongoing work in Ukraine. Though at times the work for these leaders is difficult, God is working in hearts who are in desperate need of his new life and hope as they face the challenges in their region and society.