Mission in Ukraine
Mission in Ukraine
The nation of Ukraine has recently been in the earnest prayers of many Christians around the world for the reason of current political situation. This large country populated by about 46 million has a good number of evangelical Baptists who are actively involved in a thriving mission work. There are numerous exciting social and evangelistic projects being realized all over the country.
Baptist beginnings in Ukraine
The Baptists in the Ukraine trace their origins to about 170 years ago. The first pioneers of the Baptist faith suffered much oppression from the government and the dominant Orthodox Church, however the movement grew. By 1926 there were about 1000 local congregations but later harsh persecutions from the Soviet regime followed. New opportunities arrived with the independence from Soviet Union (1990) which resulted in an impressive growth of Baptist movement.
There are currently about 2400 Baptist local congregations that comprise about 125 thousand members. The EBF has been facilitating the ministry of several Baptist church planters.
Grace Baptist Church in Kiev
Pastor Vladimir Omelchuk launched his church planting work in May 2003 in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. In the beginning there were just a handful of people.
They had the goal to start a new congregation which they called the ‘Grace’. The work was based on home groups and targeted at the youth and young couples. As the time has passed they have developed numerous and effective programs, ranging from a contemporary church services to social projects influencing local society, like for example the excellent work with young drug addicts and lectures for prevention. The congregation draws over 300 regular attendees and they also started a couple of daughter congregations.
New church plants
The daughter congregation of ‘Grace’ was started by the missionary Ihor who had earlier studied theology at the seminary in Odessa. During his studies he read a book about the cell church which inspired him for mission work. Later he was able to realize his dream by moving to Kiev about 5 years ago and soon new church called ‘Resurrection’ got established.
The basic method of work is small groups. All groups meet together every Sunday in a rented hall. During services they sing joyfully, hear sermons and share testimonies from their personal walk with God. They also organize street evangelism and summer camps. Baptisms are always practiced outdoor which provides natural opportunity for evangelism. Ihor believes that another congregation may be started soon on the grounds of mission work they have done so far.
Another indigenous leader, Andriy moved to Kiev about 4 years ago and began mission work. The result has been a new congregation that is called the ‘Spirit of Life’. They do meetings for families, sport activities and social work. The congregation meets in a district of Kiev where about 600 thousand people live. There are many people who are open for the gospel and the mission work is advancing.
One other church planter, Volodymir works in the town of Burshtyn, western Urkraine. He recently wrote in his report: “We organize services on Sundays in our chapel and every time new people come, even without specific invitation. Local population knows us from the gospel broadcasts through the regional television. Thanks to the broadcasts and personal contacts we meet people who are eager to know about God. Recently, a man from Burshtyn started attending our church. He was at first very timid and experienced a great change in his life. Our greatest desire is to continue working in the district of Galych. Therefore we continue helping a few groups in the area towards the formation of new congregations”.
1. Pray for the church planters that they continue to be faithful and enthusiastic in their pioneering ministry.
2. Pray for wisdom to leaders of all evangelical churches that they may know clear direction to lead many others to God.
3. Pray for the people of Ukraine that they may be continually open to the gospel message.
EBF Mission Coordinator
To help planting reproducing churches!
To help growing healthy churches!
For the glory of God!