This ministry post is based on a report from the national Ukrainian staff of Russian Ministries’ in-country affiliate, the Association for Spiritual Renewal, just outside of Kiev in Irpen, Ukraine.
The Association for Spiritual Renewal (ASR) is thanking God for His work at the first international School Without Walls festival, which ran from June 17-20 along the Azov Sea in Ukraine.
The festival attracted 520 young Next Generation Christian leaders from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, the U.S. and India. The festival’s theme-”Time to Live, Time to Serve”-was designed to motivate a younger generation of Christians to pursue ministry and wholeheartedly serve God.
At the four-day festival, people from a variety of evangelical churches as well as different cultures learned and worshiped together as Christ’s body.
“It was wonderful to hear how God, through His church, is doing great things in different countries! I hope that a new day will dawn in each of our countries,” observed Andrei, a musician from Zaporozhye, Ukraine.
The packed festival schedule featured general sessions with expert speakers such as Russian Ministries’ Senior Vice-President Sergey Rakhuba, Michael Cherenkov and Yuri Sipko, and testimonies, project and ministry presentations and workshops. The worship team for Irpen Bible Church led worship each morning and evening, and two Christian music groups, Near Heaven and New Day, performed late night concerts.
Workshops covered relevant topics such as the use of media in the church, sports evangelism, short-term missions and extreme youth camps.
“I gained many ideas for ministry and spreading the gospel. The festival encouraged me, and now I want to serve God with new energy and inspiration. This was a time of encouragement, and I hope there are more festivals like this,” shared Svetlana from Belarus.
Evening sessions focused on different themes each night. The first night focused on an Evening of Praise, the second night was an Evening of Discovery and the closing program was an Evening of Commitment.
During the Evening of Praise, these young leaders were encouraged to worship God in simplicity and freedom, without boundaries. During the Evening of Discovery, speakers from different countries and regions talked about their ministries, and shared some of the problems and difficulties as well as the blessings they encounter as they follow Christ.
Special speakers from Central Asia shared how difficult it is today to follow Christ in their countries. They told about the persecution they face not only from authorities, but also from their families. “Thank you School Without Walls. Thank you, that you love our churches, pray for us and support us. I believe that Ukraine is a blessed country, that the Lord is using in our time to serve others,” shared a participant from Central Asia.
During the Evening of Commitment, speakers declared that the Next Generation of young Christians is a powerful tool for spreading God’s Word throughout the world.
National evangelist Andrey Bondarenko challenged participants to renew their commitment to ministry to God and to a dying world. More than 70 young people renewed their commitments to follow Jesus, and leaders laid hands on them and blessed them in their choice to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.