Editor’s note: This article is story 2 of a multi-part story that will give you a look into New Life Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, and its network of churches, that God had already been preparing for this turbulent time of war in Ukraine. Watch for more stories to come in the next months.
What is the first thing to do when war breaks out and enemy rockets and helicopters are passing over the city where you live? One of the first impulses for BILD's key partner in Ukraine on the morning of February 24th in 2022 was to make sure that all the tools and resources that had been translated and put into use in New Life Church and its country wide network were safe guarded and accessible so as not to be lost in the aftermath and uncertain future of a dreaded enemy military invasion that was now underway. The effectiveness of a team of leaders who had been working hard to learn and develop online during the challenges of the COVID epidemic would now be tested in unprecedented ways in the months ahead and to the present day.
The need to mobilize and take extraordinary risks to assist churches in the network was backdropped by a keen understanding that what was now happening in the history of Ukraine was situated within the larger story of God and His grand strategy through the Church and likely was necessary for that purpose. Core ideas from BILD resources such as The Story and The First Principles Series framed in the thinking of young leaders who not only found themselves doing things and in places not thought of just weeks before. These leaders continued to see the vital need to remain connected as long as the internet and the country’s infrastructure held out, in order to continue theological training together. They realized that they now needed to prepare for the post war reconstruction of almost everything that lay ahead, including what the effect would be on the local churches and their mission.
Churches that function as institutions have almost ceased to exist in Ukraine during this time and yet the church functioning as a local, regional and global family of families has not only remained but actually thrived. Amid the ongoing war stories of the past 10 months have been sometimes daily online conversations among leaders inside and outside Ukraine, often with a great desire to talk about theological training and what will be in the post war future rather than the peril of the moment. Church to church assistance in moving people and supplies across cities has been done often in place of government, and new relationships have been formed. Existing churches have grown, even as believers have been scattered across Europe and beyond. A new church has been born out of New Life in the city of Borodyanka north of Kyiv where nearly every building was damaged and numerous citizens killed during the occupation of the area in March of 2022.
As the proximity of fighting retreated in the summer months, Steve Galegor, who assists BILD's development with Anton Kaluzhny in Ukraine, was able to travel to Kyiv. Steve spent one full day with leaders who have been transformed by “the Way of Christ and His Apostles” and who look forward to the transformation to come in the churches and the country as a whole. These men and women are convinced of God's calling even during war and through it are expecting and preparing for the progress of the gospel in new and fresh ways, with the reset for the Church and its many traditional systems from the West, which have been quickly undone by the ongoing war.
Like those early disciples in the book of Acts, there is a 'way' through any and every difficulty that not even the gates of hell on earth can prevent - the progress of the gospel and the Great Commission through the strengthening and multiplication of local churches and networks according to Christ's design. Please continue to pray for the boldness, endurance, and persistence of our global family there, and especially for the preparation of leaders for unprecedented opportunities that lie ahead in the future for New Life Church and the network equipped in the 'Antioch Tradition' to impact their civilization for the gospel.
Click here for part 1 of this series: A network unexpectedly being prepared
Click here for part 3 of this series: Risks worth taking for the plan of Christ