Saturday, February 2, 2008

We had a speaker in chapel who is the founder and president of Slavic Gospel Association, Dr. Bob Provost. He shared his heart regarding the need for men to be biblically trained to teach and preach because there is an insatiable hunger in Russia for Bible-teaching pastors and churches!

He mentioned some of the stark differences between the American church and the Russian Church with some applications that we can glean from them. Here they are:

1) We must develop a stronger appetite for fellowship.
What an amazing concept! Scripture says:

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

It is a relality, as sad as it may be, that when the preacher gives the benediction, the church literally empties in no more than five minutes. In Russia, it's not this way. In fact, in Russia, the average church meets three times per week for five hours each time. In each of those five hour worship services, they may hear 3-4 sermons, sing hymns, pray and fellowship.

And, during the prayer time, it is not the pastor who is waiting in an awkward silence to see if anyone is going to pray before he closes, rather, it is the pastor who is trying to gain control of the prayer time because so many people are zealous to pray!

2) We must teach children to sing properly and have children's choirs.
Some may think this is not as important as it seems, but to train children to sing and how to sing is very important. This will go with them for the rest of their lives. This, in turn, will allow the children as they grow up to be leaders in the music time in church. They will sing to the Lord "with all their strength." Not merely fold their hands, close their mouth, and stare at the guy playing piano as he leads in worship.

3) We must work with young men to find out who is gifted to preach and teach. Here's what they do. The Russians take every boy when he turns 15 years old and allows them to preach and teach in order to see if they are gifted in this area or not. For how else would you know if he is gifted to preach or teach? Notice here it is the church and the elders who are calling and affirming the giftings and talents of these young men into the ministry.

4) We must work in establihsing the practice of lovingly confronting sin.
It is a reality that in Russia, much of the need for biblical counseling is minimized simply because church discipline is enacted so regularly and biblically. Think about it. If church discipline, loving confrontation, is done often and aggressively, then this would severely decrease the need for counseling.

5) Slow down the pace of rushing men to leadership and ordination.
The Russian church is not quick to ordain men to the ministry straight out of high school. They give them plenty of time to show themselves approved and evidence the godly and "above-reproach" kind of life.

6) We must stop letting Bible Colleges, Seminaries and Organizations determine who is to be in full-time ministry.
This is the job of the church, the leaders, the elders and the body. This is not the missions organization to determine this. Yes the missions organization can approve and can affirm the calling. But it is the local church who is to call the men to ministry.

7) We must work on emphasizing the precious nature of the body of Christ and strive for unity.
The church is not a social gathering. It is not to be cool-like-culture. It is not to share opinions. It is not to give people a little dose of pep-talk encouragement that makes them feel good yet at the same time damns their soul. Rather, the church is to be a place where the Word of God is taught accurately, boldly and persuasively while the people are enjoying solid and encouraging fellowship together - not only in church but, most of all, outside the church building as they go through their week. We have lost a sense of the precious nature of the body of Christ and the unity and joy and fellowship that this ought to bring.

Let us learn and strive to be more biblical where we are lacking. To God be the glory.


Dad said...

Sounds like the Russians have a decided edge on the USA in this matter!

Good post son,


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