Rituals vs Relationship

IMG_6426 smIn September Phil will be returning to Ukraine to continue training leaders and coaching several ministry teams. On a previous trip to the region this year, our key contact in the region, Pastor Maxym, introduced us to two other key ministry leaders who wanted us to help equip their teams. One of these leaders is also the academic dean of a local bible school and Phil had the opportunity to share with these potential young leaders about biblical leadership and how this differs from the model that it so common in each of our cultures.

The Ukrainian Orthodox church is still very visible in society and yet for most it is merely a religious form. Observing the rituals, it is clear that those there have a desire for closeness to God. Throughout history, humanity has often looked to the wrong source to fulfill this void of meaning in life and the future. While the Orthodox tradition may not fulfill the soul’s longing for reality, we need to be aware that this expression is a bridge to the soul of a nation. Unfortunately, as in most societies, the leaders tend towards hierarchical expressions of power based upon position and prestige.

While for most to be Ukrainian is to be Orthodox. in a post modern, post Christian context, the next generation is not looking to formal religion for meaning and purpose in life. This is also increasingly the case within the evangelical churches. Those who are flexible in their forms and reaching beyond their walls are growing, while those who are more committed to their traditions and inflexible are declining. Our goal is to help existing churches keep true to the unchanging Gospel, while being relevant in their society as well as see new ministries started. Thanks for your prayers for the Church in this part of the world.

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