I recently had the privilege of traveling to Saint Petersburg in Russia to spend some time with Hope Church and its leaders, as well as with the other churches in that area.
David and Hannah Henson founded Hope Church three or four years ago. They had previously gone to live in Russia and started learning the language in Tver while also getting involved in the church. At one of our team meetings for the Russian speaking world, there had been a very clear prophetic word for them to move on to St Petersburg and this resonated very much with the unspoken desire that David had in his own heart. Scilla and I went out to join them for three months shortly after they had moved to St Petersburg and the church came to life through wonderful meals in David and Hannah’s home. During that time we sought to lay a good foundation and we have been delighted to see that Hope Church has since grown and become well established.
Our recent trip began with a meal for pastors and wives provided by Hope church on the Friday evening; there was a great atmosphere of fellowship as we ate together, after which I spoke on being like fathers and mothers within the life of the church. On Saturday we taught on making disciples, and the churches participating all felt that there was a lack in each of their churches, both in terms of bringing new believers through to discipleship and raising new leaders.
On Sunday we gathered Hope Church and All Nations Church, plus a few leaders from other churches in the area for a morning service. There was a combined worship team, a full hall and a powerful sense of community between the churches that was a joy to see and be a part of. I spoke again on discipleship from the perspective of the long-term family style relationship between Paul and Timothy.
David & Hannah are currently based in the UK as David recovers from major surgery and builds up a business to enable the family to live in St Petersburg for the long term. It has been encouraging to see that the leadership team at Hope Church has been doing very well in David’s absence.
David had begun to gather various pastors in St Petersburg who were seeking to find fresh ways of working together. On the Monday morning we met with this group and debated some of the issues involved in working together to be a blessing to one another and to the city.
It was a fruitful trip and I am already looking forward to returning!