Ukraine: Risks worth taking for the plan of Christ

Editor’s note: This article is story 3 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.

This past Spring, leaders from the New Life Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, and its national network of churches came together physically as a learning cohort for the first time since the war began nearly a year and a half ago. Having met online almost weekly to continue progressing through several of BILD's resources, the team of next generation leaders met face to face in the Western city of Lviv, a risky 8-hour car drive for those coming from the capital.  

Anton Kaluzhny,  who began training with BILD resources in 2017, together with Steve Galegor, BILD's team leader in Europe, who made his second wartime visit, brought the team together to discuss and think through a set of encyclicals by Jeff Reed around church multiplication. These encyclicals are intended to help leaders envision and understand building the kinds of networks today that we see in the intention of the book of Acts. They also help them develop practical implications right down to the kinds and types of gatherings which characterized the early churches and formed the heart of the New Testament network week in and week out. Anton and his team are thinking ahead to the reconstituting of churches which have been completely dismantled in the current frenzy of war. 

These leaders now find themselves in some unexpected places doing unexpected ministry in the shadow of war. What unites and fuels them is rooting their work practically in the unfolding story of the New Testament churches - a simple yet profound manner of turning the first century world upside down, and the needed focus of a world being turned upside down in every way in Ukraine right now. One leader finds himself leading a church that has been born out of a hotel filled with war refugees from the front lines in the East. Another has uprooted his business and yet remained engaged and focused on helping assist and fund ministry work. Another travels to the front line from time to time where church members grind away in daily battle, and one young man recently lost his life and was left behind enemy lines. 

Leaders find themselves mentoring and assisting groups of believers who come together under the auspices of other national churches in places like Amsterdam, Western Poland, and as far away as France. They can still deliver teaching and training through platforms like BILD's cloud-based EQUIP. In this way, the work an individual is doing right now is accessible to them wherever they end up, and whenever the future allows it.  

These relationships around the work of starting and strengthening churches are the essential context for developing leaders and will become a vital context for the church in Ukraine of the post-war future. A strong future church and its leadership are being forged in the furnace of war in a way that traditional Western institutions and models for training could never do in such circumstances and find it nearly impossible to do at the present time. Jesus is building His Church in Ukraine even at the present time.  

Click here for part 1 of this series: A network unexpectedly being prepared

Click here for part 2 of this series: A network now fully engaged in war