God was on the move at Cape Town 2010! It was obvious through messages, testimonies, prayers, and fellowships.
Participants from Eurasia brought many photos home with them. However, pictures cannot reflect what for me was the most important dimension—the depth of relationship the Church in South Africa has with the Lord. Christians opened their hearts and homes to the rest of the world. Participants from Eurasia have shared a number of highlights from the congress.
Broader view of the global Church. Statements such as Psalm 76:1 (“In Judah God is known, His Name is great in Israel.”) can be rewritten for the Church in many parts of the world today. Vyacheslav Nesteruk, senior pastor of the Baptist denomination in Ukraine, said that his view of the Body of Christ has extended so much that he still has stories to tell in both his denomination and to unbelievers. One senior leader from Central Asia brought a challenge to his nation, reminding believers that despite much persecution, even the Church in China (which was prevented from attending Cape Town) gave money sacrificially to help their neighbors go to Cape Town.
During a visit to a church in the west of Ukraine, an elder told us about their pastor who went to Cape Town. He was very focused on his nation and could not imagine God using different people in such different ways. The Cape Town 2010 table group fellowship humbled and changed him. He learned how to love different people of different cultures. He was not sure if he should participate in the communion, but during the time of worship and confession, he knew that it was his holy moment with the Lord.
Deeper passion for world evangelism. Seeing and hearing about what God was doing globally prompted the question: “What more can I do for God in the world?” The Eurasia regional gathering during the congress was a time to celebrate God’s goodness, but also a challenge to be more active in spreading the gospel. Pastor Pavel Kolesnikov from Moscow is thankful that twenty years ago he helped his father and other leaders to organize evangelistic crusades and training schools with leaders from Billy Graham’s ministry. Today, Kolesnikov has the same passion to see unreached people groups in Russia covered with prayer and evangelism.
Greater vision for local mission. The congress helped the Church in Eurasia to see their own towns and regions as mission fields. Church leaders from the Carpathian region, Ternopil, and Lviv areas of Ukraine were surprised to realize how many towns in their regions are without even one evangelical church. Senior leaders of the Russian Church expressed gratefulness to missionaries from Ukraine who took the gospel to unreached people groups of their nation. The forthcoming Eurasian Consultation in Moscow (4-6 December 2011) will unite those who want to continue reaching the unsaved in post-soviet/communistic environments.
Deeper appreciation for spiritual leaders. There is no doubt that Billy Graham is a hero of the faith for leaders in Eurasia. Pastor Alexander from Moldova, as well as leaders from other countries of Eurasia, concluded that we need to honor our spiritual fathers and learn from them how to remain humble.
The current leadership team of The Lausanne Movement has a deep reverence for leaders like Graham, John Stott, Leighton Ford, and others. Doug Birdsall and Lindsay Brown have strong support from the Eurasian region because of their capability to build a movement that does not challenge national and denominational groups of churches and ministries.
Wider appreciation for younger leaders. The post-Congress consultation in Kiev earlier this year helped to clarify that Lausanne is a network of ministries that needs to be treasured and built on. For Pastor Vasiliy Raychinets, senior bishop of the Pentecostal denomination in Ukraine, it is a testimony of how God is building his Church from one generation to another.
Eurasia is rich with younger leaders. Twenty years of freedom has helped churches and seminaries to raise up a new generation of evangelists and prophets, pastors and teachers, preachers and workers. Russian and Ukrainian churches, as well as other national evangelical ministries, need to help younger men and women to fulfill the truly prophetic calling for their lives.
Both the protection of the family according to biblical criteria and the protection of the younger generation from negative influences of the prosperity gospel were taken as important challenges for the majority of participants from Eurasia.
Denis Gorenkov, deputy director for IFES-UA, was able to build stronger national and international partnerships in order to see universities as mission fields which hold almost 1.5 million students in Ukraine alone. As a younger leader, Ivan Rusin was challenged to bring and train at least seventy younger leaders (particularly from Central Asia countries) each year to campuses.
Eurasia is a seemingly new region, born between the two last congresses. Rediscovery of The Lausanne Movement has not been in vain. We can learn much from the success of the last congress and move forward in order for God’s name to be great and well-known among both Slavic and Islamic nations of Eurasia.