Evangelical churches in Belarus frequently encounter obstacles to their rights to carry out ministry—not surprising in a country that has been described as Europe’s last dictatorship, and which is often cited for its human rights violations.
None of this pressure has stopped evangelical believers from actively defending their right to worship freely, nor has it slowed the church’s outreach to the outcast and hurting. This ministry is clothed in mercy as young Next Generation Christian leaders proclaim the good news of Jesus in hospitals, orphanages and prisons as well as to other at-risk and vulnerable people.
Investment in the Future
On December 18-19, 2007, “School Without Walls” ministry leaders met in Minsk to discuss the continued training and motivation of young ministry leaders. As Mikhail Kornev, the youth ministry leader from the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptist Churches of Belarus, declared: “Investing in youth is making a contribution to the future of the church. The creation of youth teams and the training of leaders will help the church be relevant in its ministry to contemporary society.”
During the two-day meetings, 25 church leaders met and shared the work of “School Without Walls” in their regions. They also discussed issues related to the further expansion of this ministry in Belarus.
According to Nikolai Sinkovets, the president of the Union of Evangelical Christian-Baptist Churches of Belarus, “Churches are not buildings but people, fellowship and ministry. If we fail to raise up a new generation of church leaders, churches will not be effective in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We are called to act and not to defend ourselves.” Students and graduates of “School Without Walls” are actively taking part in social ministry while developing new approaches and models for ministry.
“School Without Walls” coordinators such as Dmitry Polyukhovich, from the city of Pinsk, are committed to developing this Next Generation of young church leaders. “We must help youth become integrated in ministry so that they can take their first independent steps,” explains Polyukhovich.
According to participants, “School Without Walls” has helped them form a new mindset about the Next Generation of young Christians, and how best to equip them for effective and innovative ministry in church leadership and in the community.
The seminar was led by bishop Gennady Brutsky, the national representative of Russian Ministries’ Moscow affiliate, the Association for Spiritual Renewal, who challenged participants to focus on youth in order to pass the baton of ministry on to them.
Seminar participants also included Pavel Tokarchuk (Moscow), Vladimir Ubeivolk (Kishinev, Moldova), and Mikhail Cherenkov (Kiev, Ukraine).
“School Without Walls” currently runs programs in 16 locations in Belarus.