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Sunday Fellowships Become A New Church
-Church For You -
Becoming a Church
Calling Members & a Pastor
Heart of Ukraine Ministries Support to the Church
Upon coming to Ukraine, nowhere in our sights was the thought of starting a new church.A series of unrelated events caused us to begin praying about being part of a new church.Slowly God began to impress upon us this new aspect of His ministry for us here.
After living in Ukraine just over four months, Heart of Ukraine Ministries began hosting a Sunday Night Fellowship with ‘International Partnership’ (IP) at our apartment.Many of our English students were interested in learning more about God but were opposed to visiting a ‘church.’The fellowships included singing Christian songs in English, Russian and Ukrainian, prayer and an interactive discussion lead by an IP or Heart of Ukraine Ministries.The discussions were very open, allowing each person to have and express their own opinions while focusing on what the Bible says about the subject.A wide variety of subjects were discussed from ’Loving an Evil Person,’ ’What is a Church,’ ’Church Leadership,’ ‘What does it mean to be a Christian,’ ’Drugs and Alcohol,’ to ’Discrimination.’
Most who attended the Sunday Evening Fellowships were in their 20’s and 30’s, married and single, and on occasion we had six (6) children under the age of six (6).There were some who attend Sunday nights who also attend local churches in the morning.Excitingly many who attended were non-believers or brand new believers.
BECOMING A CHURCH:
In early August 2008, Heart of Ukraine Ministries was officially asked by IP to join with them in an effort to establish a new church.We explored the option by attending an IP Conference and meeting some of their American and Ukrainian Board and Directors.We were impressed and very excited about what we saw and heard.We approached our Board of Directors and asked them to pray about this new opportunity.
After a trip to the USA in November 2008 the Sunday Night Fellowship was refocused on creating a new church which resulted in a number of things happening.Our attendance grew from an average of 9 to 23.The services were translated into English, Russian, and Ukrainian as we had and continue to have non-Ukrainians in attendance (i.e. El Salvador, Nigeria, South Africa, Belgium, Holland, Korea, American, etc.).And a name was selected for the church:Church For You.
In May 2009 we moved from meeting in our apartment to a rented location:Fakel (Torch) a children’s outreach program.Although sharing the space provided some challenges there was much more space and our numbers grew to a steady 30.In March 2011 we were informed that the building had been sold and we found a new place to worship.Currently we are renting three rooms in an old government building.
In 2009 we had our first baptisms (3), then four more in 2010 and one in 2011 so far.Excitingly three in 2010 and the one in 2011 were/are clients from David’s House Rehab Center.
CALLING MEMBERS, A PASTOR, & NEW LEADERS:
During the winter of 2010-2011 many sermons covered what a Pastor is, their relationship to the church, responsibilities of the Pastor and of the Church, etc… Then in January 2011 many formally committed themselves as members of the church and we formally called Sergey Pazuk as Pastor.In May we had a wonderful ordination service that included numerous Pastors from other regions and oblasts. In November 2011, the church made recommendations for new leaders (changing from founders) and in December the new leaders were affirmed by the church; in January 2012 they began their duties.
Our Sunday topics have included Leadership, Addictions, Discrimination, Simplicity, Decision Making, What is a Church, How Do We Handle God’s Money, Tithing, Our Church DNA, Small Groups, How to Love Others, etc..... Mark recently did a two week series on Galatians and ‘the law’ versus grace.Future topics include: Our Plan - God’s Plan, Energy, Salvation & Repentance, Baptism, Spiritual Gifts & Faith, Church at the Cellular Level, The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Church, Jesus’ Relationship principles, Loving God with our All, and then Easter & the Resurrection.
Despite being a small church it is has a strong mission focus.The church supported short term missionaries to China, financially supported a man in a rehab center for six months while visiting him, helping an alcoholic woman in the hospital with TB, buying medication for a homeless man burned (who later came to David’s House and still lives there), helping with an Easter Picnic for the Homeless, etc…Additionally, Church For You is supporting the start of a new missions church in Homootenci which has been meeting consistently since Spring 2011.
Small Groups are the Life of the Church
Train Inward, Reach Outward
Church is Everyday
Worshiping God with Everything We Have
Every Christian is a Minister of God’s Word
Loving & Accepting Relationships
Everyone is a Leader at Some Level
Please pray for this young church as we establish who we are, continue to develop a Statement of Faith and policies, to stay focused on the main things, to be loving to those from different church backgrounds who want a change but out of habit default to what they know, and to begin training new leaders for ministries that are on the horizon for our little church.
SUPPORT TO THE CHURCH:
Support to the church by Heart of Ukraine Ministries includes:
·Providing a meeting place from December 2007 to May 2009.
·Some initial financial support to help get the church on it’s feet.
·Loan of tables and chairs (in July & August 2011 the church was able to purchase 20 new chairs & 10 used chairs, however some chairs are still needed).
·Providing water from the well near David’s House Rehab Center.
·Leading of numerous small groups and Bible studies, preaching on Sundays, leading retreat classes, etc…
·Donating 10% of the crops grown at David’s House to members of the church
·Providing a number of other items (i.e., tithing bowl, special donations bowl, computer for services, rides for families with small children or during events, etc…).