In September, I had the privilege to visit Moscow for a Pastors Conference with Duncan Podbury and Al Gregory. In previous years during the summer, I have spoken at a Moscow region Bible Week but this time we decided to have a pastors’ conference instead. I received requests to speak into some of the tough issues that Christian leaders in Russia are facing at the moment. I covered three major topics: How to Reach Post-Moderns, Reaching Muslims and Confronting Prejudices.
How to reach postmoderns is a big concern for Russian pastors, as the culture of younger people is changing at a rapid pace. Most of the Russian leaders there would have been converted post-1990, after Perestroika, and so for many this was a new experience for them to understand people who think differently. Reaching Muslims, was also an important topic as there was a tendency to see Muslims as the enemy, rather than the people who need Jesus. These issues, among others, were important when talking about Confronting Prejudices as I addressed how not to compromise on your beliefs and yet reach more people. This was explored as we discussed how to contextualise the gospel, as seen by Jesus, in the difference between his interactions with Jews and Samaritans. As well as this, the example of Paul in Athens, Ephesus and Lystra clearly show how we need to adapt the style of our message, whilst retaining the message itself, for many who are being reached in Russia today.
As well as this, Duncan preached on raising up the next generation of leaders which was a real challenge to many of the leaders who themselves were saved and took on leadership responsibility in their 20’s, yet had not given sufficient thought to releasing those in their 20’s in churches today and raising them up into leadership. As well as this, Al Gregory gave a great message from the story of the Good Samaritan which really got participants to challenge their own often prejudiced thinking .
On the Saturday, we also held a general conference in which I spoke about Jesus and the Woman from Samaria in the context of cross-cultural evangelism, raising a number of issues to challenge those present. Duncan also led another two sessions equipping people in evangelism and thus demonstrating how an equipping evangelist according to Ephesians 4 should function in the church.
It was a very good weekend and there was a great response to the talks.Image: Bradmoscu, Wikimedia Commons