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Gospel Advance in Russia

How Missional Communities are Persevering

By April 16, 2019 No Comments

 

It’s super encouraging to read about how Christians are persevering in Russia under oppression – their boldness for the gospel and in prioritizing training for their missional communities in the face of violence and arrest.

K.G. came to Soma School in Tacoma several years ago. She has since trained 100s of Russian pastors and leaders throughout the country, translated our training materials into Russian, interpreted for Tim Keller, Steve Timmis, and many other Soma and Saturate trainers. She is truly an apostolic leader to Russia and God is using a godly Russian woman in a predominantly male-led culture to bring the gospel and transform and/or plant 100s of churches.

I am always encouraged by her example and pray we might be spurred on by her love for Jesus and commitment to the gospel.


In the fall of 2018, over 200 leaders gathered in the central cities of Russia to learn what missional community life is all about. This training had been birthed in my heart after I returned from Soma School in 2014. It took five years to facilitate and translate the materials in order to make this training a reality.

Since the training, I’ve had dozens of emails, video calls, and Facebook messages from people hungry for help in taking next steps. The response has been overwhelming. Just this past week I trained in Kazakhstan. Gospel saturation is increasing even in the face of persecution and oppression from our government.

One man who joined us during the training was arrested at home just a few months later. He was taken to jail in handcuffs because he baptized his church members in a local river. It was all over the media; he was shown as a crazy maniac destroying people’s souls. Many Christians are threatened and we are not allowed to gather and pray, sing, or read the Bible anywhere outside the church buildings. Believers are in prisons and reporting cruel beatings and electric torture.

In light of these new political realities in Russia, our latest life hack for Missional Communities is, when we gather in flats in apartment buildings, we yell, “Congratulations!” super loudly so that neighbors will hear and think we are just celebrating something together and not suspect we are Christians gathering for church activity, which they are supposed to report to the police.

So, please, “when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness” (Gen 40:14). We are not in prison yet, but that could change at any moment. Do not stop praying for gospel saturation in Russia; for healthy churches and communities taking part in His mission together for His glory.


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Jeff Vanderstelt

Author Jeff Vanderstelt

As the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches and a teaching pastor at Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA, Jeff Vanderstelt gets to spend his days doing what he loves – training disciples of Jesus to make more disciples of Jesus and equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. Jeff is the author of Saturate, Gospel Fluency, and Making Space. He and Jayne, his wife, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie. Connect with Jeff at his website www.jeffvanderstelt.com or on twitter @JeffVanderstelt.

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