Reproducing IMP Church Planting

Reproducing IMP Church Planting

Daniel Trusiewicz - September 20, 2012

From the beginning of the IMP activity there has been a vision to encourage indigenous church plants for a multiplication. The EBF has been facilitating the ministry of several new Baptist church starts in the Ukraine that have been reproducing.

Baptists in Ukraine - Beginnings and Growth

The Baptists in the Ukraine trace their beginnings to about 170 years ago. The first pioneers of the Baptist faith suffered a great deal from the government and the dominant Orthodox Church however the movement grew. By 1926 there were over 1000 local congregations but since 1927 the Ukrainian Baptists suffered harsh persecutions from the Soviet regime.

New opportunities opened with the ‘Perestroyka’ in 1985. It has resulted in a really impressive and stable growth of Baptist movement in the Ukraine. Since the independence (1990) more than 1500 new congregations have been started and the Baptist Union registered the increase from 90 thousand members in 1990 to about 150 thousand in 2006.

There are currently about 2400 Baptist local churches in the Ukraine that comprise about 125 thousand members. The Baptist Union is implementing the ‘Project 125’ which aims at planting Baptist churches in regional centers where there is no evangelical congregation.

Grace Baptist Church in Kiev

Pastor Vladimir Omelchuk started his church planting work in May 2003 in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. In the beginning there had been just a handful of people around his own family.

They had the goal to start a new congregation which they called the ‘Grace’. The work was based on home groups and targeted at the youth and young couples. As the time has passed they have developed numerous and effective programs, ranging from a contemporary church services to an outreach and social projects influencing local society, for example excellent work with young drug addicts and lectures for prevention in schools.

Now this congregation draws about 300 regular attendees and they also started two daughter congregations. By doing so they have implemented the principle of multiplication.

New planted reproducing congregations in Kiev

Pastor Omelchuk and the leadership of ‘Grace’ did not grow complacent but they eagerly wanted to plant more congregations where many more people could find their spiritual home.

The daughter congregation of ‘Grace’ was started by the indigenous church planter Ihor who had studied theology at the seminary in Odessa. During his studies he had read a book about the cell church which motivated him for church planting. He was able to realize his dream since having moved to Kiev about 3 years ago. The new planted ‘Resurrection’ church has about 50 members now, mostly young families, youth and some former drug addicts.

The basic work method is small groups – currently 5 of them. The group rents a hall in a hotel where they meet every Sunday. During services they sing joyfully, hear sermons and share testimonies from their personal walk with God. They regularly organize street evangelism and camps in summer. Baptisms are always practiced outdoor which provides natural opportunity for evangelism. Ihor believes that another congregation could be started before long based on the mission work they have done.

Another indigenous leader, Andriy, had been involved in Christian ministry in the Rivne region before he received an invitation from pastor Omelchuk with the particular goal to start another congregation in Kiev. He had moved to Kiev about 2 years ago and began mission work. The result has been a new congregation that is called the ‘Spirit of Life’. They do meetings for families, sport activities and social work. They rent a hall in the Troenstina district of Kiev where about 600 thousand people live. They have a lot of contacts with people who are open for the gospel and the mission work is advancing.

Andriy says ‘in May we celebrated the second anniversary of our church and had about 140 visitors. In July we had another joyful event of a baptism of 4 new believers. Once a week on Sunday we organize our general service, on Thursdays we have home groups, our youth club meets on Saturday, and every Monday we do leadership meetings. Now we have 28 members and 40 people regularly attend our young congregation.’

Prayer requests

  • Pray for the church planters that they continue to be faithful, persistent and enthusiastic in their pioneering ministry.
  • Pray for the leaders that they may have clear direction for instructing others in church planting task among their people.
  • Pray for the partners who join hands with the EBF so that we may help in many places where there is a spiritual opportunity for church planting.