Dear friends, we are publishing responses given by Bishop Eduard Grabovenko to questions posted on the Russian Church web-site in February 2011.
Mikhail: Greetings, Bishop Eduard! What has been done in 2010 for the development of youth ministry? How do you feel about this ministry? Will it be a priority next year?
Mikhail, thanks for asking. At the 7th Convention of the Russian Church in May 2010, as you may know, the head of youth ministry was approved. The goal of the youth ministry is to bring together the potential, capabilities and abilities of young people in promoting the biblical and moral values in the life of young generation. We want to maintain the continuity of generations, passing the anointing and vision. One of the biggest problems today is a conflict of generations that we face in churches and in our society as a whole. Today the leadership of the Russian Church understands the need to make our values and vision more comprehensible to the younger generation to preserve continuity and at the same time enable young people, who view the life of modern Russia differently, to use modern technologies, online resources for preaching the gospel and by doing this give them opportunity for self-realization.
Were conducted several youth conferences, hosted a youth summit, at which the most progressive ministers, in my opinion, spoke. Great anointed services and effective workshops were held at the summit. I am confident that today we are on the right path. In 2011 a national youth conference is going to be held in Perm for five days. It is planned that it would be an analogue of youth gatherings that now exist in Ukraine and collect up to seven thousand and more young people. I see that Russian young people today have a need in fellowship and corporate worship of the Lord.
Mikhail: Could there be done any specific joint actions with the Russian Orthodox Church, is it possible to somehow change their negative attitude to us? Are you going to solve this problem next year? And if so, then how?
On our part we are open to dialogue and cooperation with all Christian denominations in our country. First of all, common efforts are necessary to combat the scourges of our society such as drug and alcohol dependencies, homelessness, poverty, etc. In the framework of social projects we have great potential for cooperation. As for joint religious activities, for certain reasons, including the dogmatic, some denominations do not allow corporate prayers with others. But I'm sure there are many causes that can unite us: challenges of modern society, a vacuum of spiritual and moral values. I am sure we are the salt of the earth, if the salt loses its savor, what shall we do? Recently, the patriarch spoke about our common position on the institution of family. There are other positions that are common to evangelical and Orthodox Christians. For example, we have the same major Christian holidays. We are open for dialogue. Most likely, the biggest problems today do not exist in the relations between the churches, but in the society and this is prejudice. To my mind, this is one of the topics for dialogue. We participate in a prayer breakfast together with the Russian Orthodox Church. We also have communication within the Christian interdenominational advisory committee. Recently, we participated in the discussion of issues of HIV / AIDS and drug addiction together with Russian Orthodox Church.
Question # 3
Dennis Malyutin: Greetings, Eduard Anatolyevich! My question is: what do you think about the vision of Cesar Castellanos and G12 strategy? Which strategy do you use in your ministry in Perm (yours is a large church too)? Thank you.
I think that in Russia there have been enough experiments, when we enthusiastically picked up one or another vision, which had worked in other countries. I remember the year of transition by Ralph Neighbor to cell-structure church, the result of which was a church of several thousand could become a few hundred. No minister is obliged to accept the revelations received by someone else and proved effective in a particular location. If I have a revelation other people do not have to accept it or agree with it.
When I see a blind imitation of the model, it is often followed by serious problems. Once one of my friends called me and said that three days of participating in Encounters can give a person as much or even more in comparison with what people get by attending a church for two years. But later life showed the opposite, and my friend "disowned" from what he was saying. I have never taken a hasty decision. In my ministry I did not repeat someone else's experience just because it successfully worked for them. But if I received a revelation, then I used even what had been long known to everyone else.
There was a time when many churches had already organized rehabilitation centers and worked with drug and alcohol addicted people, but I refrained from it. One day a woman came to me, told me that her eldest son died of an overdose, and the youngest is using drugs. She came to consult, as she planned to sell the apartment to pay for her youngest son’s treatment in a clinic. I replied to her that treatment in an expensive clinic would not help because only God could free from addiction. When she left, God spoke to me: “Do every thing possible to make salvation accessible to everyone”. We have opened several rehabilitation centers, where people can become free from drug addiction and come back to normal life. All of our rehabilitation centers are free of charge. If it is a ministry, then it should be accessible to everyone. In our region, the percentage of people receiving freedom from drug and alcohol dependence is 42%. Maybe this is not the highest rate, but I think there is already a good start. There is still something to strive for. I would like to see 100% of people to be free from addictions.
Now, about the vision G12. Of all models presented in the former Soviet Union, most of all I liked the model used by Pastor Peter Kovalenko, in Kharkov. He was able to adapt it to our mentality, and did not just copy the model. Blind following always brings a negative result. If vision G12 draws your attention, then I would advise using it as it does Pastor Peter. If you're interested, I advise you to learn from his experience. It can be a blessing.
God is building His Church. Pastors do not have to necessarily invent or seek any kind of model; God's model has already been reflected in the church. I am deeply convinced that the Kingdom of God is not possible to systematize. I remember the time when we started home groups; we did it simply because we understood people needed to be in fellowship. Today we have over 170 home groups. And we try to provide more spiritual care to each other in home groups. We did not use any model, but just got a revelation. At the same time we do not condemn those 50% of people who do not attend home groups for any reason. It is not possible to systematize the Kingdom of God.
I've heard people say that if you use the system of Ralph Neighbour the church will grow, but I’ve seen the church “grow” in the opposite direction. Neither Castellanos nor Neighbor nor Eduard Grabovenko is able to help you build a church. Only God can build His Church. And we just serve Him and others.
In the history of our church in Perm there were two moments when the church had grown numerically. This is when at the very beginning we had 70 people, and a month later 187 people joined us, they were baptized. And the other time when we had 250 people and in one evening of outreach, we grew to 500 people. I witnessed it.
I do not advise to use the terms “fastest growing” or “most effective” church. When we do all the shouting that we have the fastest growing church, than it even faster starts to “grow” in the opposite direction. I recently visited one of our churches in the region, which in one year has tripled. In one year! Model which is used by its pastor is simple, sincere service to people. He loves them, cares for them and accepts them. And the result is amazing. This pastor gives glory to nobody but God. This church is located in Dobryanka, Perm region.
I am not surprised by anything, but the power and majesty of God. I do not believe in a tale about effectiveness of different models and I advise you not to believe. You have correctly pointed out that those who boast that they have all well, they often happen to be still very far from those who say nothing, and just do the work. Believe me God is behind all things, but not any person. God will not give his glory to anyone. Before the coming of Jesus Christ all the stars will fade. Thank you for your question.
Question # 4
Dmitry Morozov: God's peace to you, Eduard Anatolyevich! Are there any plans in 2011 to work with Christian businessmen of the Russian Church? As a representative of this category of believers I am very interested in this work. Pastors and presbyters do not mind if we funded church projects, but I think not enough time is given to improve the spiritual condition of Christian entrepreneurs and not enough assistance in conducting meetings, seminars and conferences for them. It would be very desirable to: 1. Conduct surveys collect information throughout the brotherhood of brothers and sisters who are Christian business people. 2. Hold a conference especially for business people (with the elaboration of a strategy for further development and communication). 3. In your travels to different countries and at meetings with businessmen abroad would it be possible to request their help in teaching us and possible involvement in the development of our projects and ideas (investments, joint ventures, etc.). Thank you very much in advance. Blessings to you.
Thank you for your question. Ministry of business people operates as one of the ministries of our churches. Some of the pastors have revelation about this, some don’t. I agree today is a different time, and we need to raise a generation of enterprising and motivated people in our churches. Perhaps that distinguishes evangelical churches from others. We have a certain outlook on life, we believe in God's assistance in the work of our hands ... I'm sure those who will act fairly, honestly, trusting in the Lord will see the result of their labor. The Scripture teaches about that. As for pastors, who expect something from people I would not advise doing that, because businessmen – are the same brothers and sisters just like the rest. When believers have the right principles and the proper foundation, then they are not to expect or require special funding, they see a need, and take part in meeting it with joy and desire. When there is no revelation, it is useless to do anything.
As for the information gathering, we have no purpose to collect information on all people involved in business spheres. Because tomorrow someone will advise to do the same with teachers, etc. I would not want to divide people on “caste” according some social or occupational principles. We are not going to do this.
About conferences. There is a desire and plans to conduct conferences. Currently we are talking with ministers who have something to share in this area. In 2011, early 2012 business conferences will be held. May 5-7, 2011 we will host a conference for ministers and businessmen in Moscow with the participation of businessmen from Singapore. I invite you to participate in this conference, additional information can be found in the Moscow office of the Russian Church. We try to bring successful ministers and businessmen from other countries to share their experiences. Also, seminars will be organized for businessmen in different regions with the purpose of learning, sharing experiences and building relationships. I plead for the development of such relations. I think that it is biblically correct. As for me, I have always been involved in joint projects.
Question # 5
Alex: It is known that the story of Emmanuel’s Pentecostal community in Kaliningrad (Königsberg) dates back almost 100 years ago. Then it counted more than a thousand parishioners. It was written in the “Primiritel” magazine in the twenties and thirties. What is the fate of the church building? What do you think about the transfer of Protestant churches in the property Russian Orthodox Church? Is there a property on which the Pentecostals of Russia could claim under the restitution?
Dear Alex, unfortunately I have no information about the community of Emmanuel in Kaliningrad. Restitution law applies to everyone. And if there is a building that belonged to the Pentecostals, I think they need to be registered according to the law and to be used by churches.
As for temples, transmitted to Russian Orthodox Church, if ownership is provable, there is evidence in the archives, etc., then no problem. If there are only our reasoning and desire to get something, then it will be much more difficult. I think, you know, in most cases, Pentecostal and evangelical churches owned no buildings, so we now have to defend the right to purchase or obtain land for construction of houses of worship. We are working in this regard.
Question # 6
j777: Eduard Anatolyevich, what do you think about the amendments to the legislation in December 2010, concerning the ban on bringing highly skilled foreign professionals to engage in religious activities?
Today it is still very difficult to make comments on the law enacted in December 2010. I understand that this law is more valid in attracting secular experts, and does not apply to religious leaders. That is, if I understand correctly, we will continue working along the same lines, and will apply for the same religious affairs visa as before. The new law is introduced to simplify the visa regime for entry into Russia. I think that in order to understand this law more profoundly you will need a professional opinion. I saw no danger in it. We'll see how it will work. I understand your concern though. Unfortunately, local authorities have tendencies to misread and misinterpret certain laws. We would not want to see a law aimed at simplifying the visa regime, became a cause of additional difficulties. Life will show. So far I sincerely hope and believe that our brothers and sisters, who come to Russia on a religious affairs visa to share the eternal God's word, will continue visiting our country.
Question # 7
Ivan Chyorny: Peace to you, Brother Eduard! I was very touched by your word that every person in Russia should hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ at least once in their lives. This will be fair before God! I have a desire to go to the Ural Mountains with this purpose! What do you think?
Ivan thanks for asking. I would like very much for the word of God's justice to come into the heart of every Christian. And it is worth going not only to the Ural Mountains for this purpose, but perhaps also to the Great Wall of China, i.e. to go to the whole world. I am ready to support your desire to go to the Urals, but not only there people are in need of God's word. Welcome to the journey of faith towards reaching Russia with God's word. The more such willing people as you are, the faster we will reach our country with the Gospel. May God bless you.
Question # 8
Alex: In what perspective are you considering combining two large Pentecostal Unions (if you are): Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith and Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith and what hinders that? What is the relationship with the United Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith? Is it possible to form a broad alliance of Pentecostals? Or is it simply enough to cooperate within the Advisory Council of the Heads of Protestant Churches of Russia?
Thank you for your question. Recently I looked at documents and protocols from former years. The dialogue between the three Pentecostal Unions – Russian Church, Russian Union and United Church – is almost 20 years. All the leaders and ministers talk about the merger. But when it comes to the practical part, there are misunderstandings, disagreements. I think that the biggest problem is prejudices and attempts to compare each other.
For me it doesn’t matter what Union a local church is registered: Russian Church (Pentecostal), Russian Union or United Church. As you probably noticed, I enjoy visiting churches and conferences, which involve not only the Russian Church ministers. For example, I spoke at the West-Siberian Conference of Faith at “Word of Life” Church in Nizhnevartovsk, Bishop Vassiliy Vityuk. It is with great pleasure I took part in this conference and preached God's word. I am sure in heaven there will be no separate rooms for members of different denominations, and there will be no obstacles to worship the Lord and stay in His holy presence.
Often the issue of unification is used to manipulate in a religious community. I'd love to get away from all political processes, and to go God's way. Bible says, “one will make a thousand flee, and two – tens of thousands”. This is no time for any legal mergers but it is time for spiritual cooperation to answer the challenges of our time. Sure, the evangelical movement is in demand in Russia, it can strengthen our country and help it become a God-blessed and successful country. In the past a tripartite agreement between three Pentecostal denominations – RU, RC and UC – was signed. For some unknown reason, this agreement is no longer mentioned. But I saw the documents signed by three leaders: Pavel Nikolayevich Okara, Sergei Vasilyevich Ryakhovsky and Ivan Petrovich Fedotov. I am not against extension of the treaty and formation of a wider Pentecostal Alliance. On the level of personal talks and joint activities we communicate and cooperate with the leaders of two other Pentecostal Unions. For example, together with Sergei Vasilyevich Ryakhovsky we participated in the funeral service of our minister, Bishop Arthur Suleymanov, who died at the hands of extremists in Dagestan. We get along very well. I value and respect each of the leaders of the above Unions, and believe in common blissful future. In what form and when it will be happening I cannot say. When God begins to move, it is important for us not to be late in the movement. But we should not run ahead of the Lord.
I believe we are on the right path; we pray for each other and cherish the brotherhood relationship. For me these Unions are close, they are our brothers and sisters, and they will always remain a priority in our relations. Today we differ mainly in forms of church service and management. But Scripture says that “there are varieties of service, but the same Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:5). In the spiritual sense, I do not see any differences. I hope that before the coming of Jesus Christ, God will put everything in its place. Communication with the leaders of Protestant churches within the Advisory Council is very valuable and useful.
Question # 9
Anastasia: Lately I noticed that many churches practically refuse to have Children’s Sunday school, justifying this by saying that when children grow up, they leave the church. And that it’s better for children to attend regular church service on Sunday morning… I heard that in Perm church children are present in the main service with their parents. I would like to hear your opinion on the existence of a Sunday school. Thank you.
Anastasia, thank you for your question. Giving up Sunday school is a big mistake. The fact that children grow up and leave the church is also a reality in some churches. The Bible says: “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). As a boy I first went to church service with my parents and then I went to Children’s Sunday school. Today I see a problem in the attitude of many parents – they want to solve issues in the lives of their children “on the way”. For example, we come to the church service, we listen to the sermon, and our children at this time are at Sunday school. For parents, it is very convenient. So it was in our church, but once I realized the problem: 13-year-olds came to the service so that the church would pray for them, because they were finishing Sunday school. When the entire church stood up for prayer, our teenagers sitting in the first three rows remained seated and did not participate in prayer, each doing their own thing. It was about 7 years ago. This picture terrified me. I realized that our kids were absolutely unchurched. I thought it's a huge mistake.
We changed the system in our church. Every Sunday after worship all children come forward and we pray for them, then children under 6 years old are sent to Sunday school, and children 6 years and older remain in the main sanctuary with their parents. I believe at this age children are able to understand God's word. At least, I always pray that my sermons were simple and understandable to everyone. When the service is over children of 6 years old and teenagers go to Sunday school. At first there was some misunderstanding on parents’ part, as it is not always convenient to stay in church for 1-1,5 hours longer. But when a doctor tells us that our child may require special training for correcting posture, we do not watch our time, nor how convenient it is for us, but for hours we wait until our children receive treatment. The same is true with studies on computer literacy or foreign languages; because we believe it will be useful for them in future. Additional 1.5 hours in church when a child goes to a Sunday school, gives him much more than all the extra sports activities, trainings, etc.
Sometimes mom and dad are at church service on Sunday and their child all weekend participating in competitions, because family tries to raise an athlete. I'm not against sports, but the responsibility of parents is to raise an athlete with a strong spiritual foundation. In the Bible there are many good examples of successful young people with a strong spiritual character: Daniel was so well instructed in God's word that he was not conquered by the pagan system of Nebuchadnezzar. Being 17 years old, Joseph had gone through a tough test in his life, but at 33, became a prime minister of Egypt, preserving the divine, spiritual and moral values. Young Mary knew the voice of her God that she could recognize it when the angel came to her and she was able to bear a child, asking only one question: “How will this be?” (Luke 1:34). I am absolutely sure, unless we allow our children to get to know God, one day we will regret that have given birth to them. I have four sons. They grew out of the age at which they need Sunday school: the youngest will be 16 years old in March. My children have grown up in church. I am not irritated by baby's crying, there is life in it. If the child begins to cry, mother can quietly leave the room or, as is done in our church, for mothers with little children we have a separate room with a monitor on which they watch the service. This room is for mothers with young children in their most active age. Also there is a separate room with cradles, where mothers can leave their children in the care of children’s ministers and their helpers. We have organized this ministry so that mothers could attend church services on Sundays. All kids come forward for prayer every Sunday. Every Sunday at our church there are more than 600 children. I understand that not every church has such an opportunity. Parents need to be more conscious and aware of the importance of church attendance in the lives of their children. That's why we pray each Sunday for children and parents, that God would help them to raise their sons and daughters. The most perfect parents may be disappointed once by their children. I am convinced that only God can help us raise our children so that they would bless us and bring joy to us.
I can not say that we have created some unique or perfect model. I know some churches do the same thing. But because of the need and our understanding, we have come to such a system of Sunday school. My goal and desire as a pastor is that our children could learn to listen and discern the voice of God and lived by His spiritual and moral values, doing the will of God on this earth, and I'm sure the rest will follow. If we give our children the opportunity to find living relationship with God, everything else in their lives will be taken care by God.
I think Sunday schools are needed and we need to work in this direction. I recommend all pastors, if there is no Sunday school, start doing it. If you do not know how to get started, visit those churches that already have a good experience, use what fits your conditions. We are still on the way, we are still learning. But it’s a constant progress.
Question # 10
Olga: What do you think is the true value for a person? And what should be valuable for a true believer?
Scripture says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). God created us unique and there are so many things than we can fill our hearts with. The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). I think the value for a man, above all, is the ability to open your heart to the Creator and live in harmony with Him. I believe this is the greatest opportunity and privilege in life to build relationships with God.
For a true believer it is also valuable to have an opportunity to share the Good News about eternal life with others. If we can do it, we really are blessed. The greatest gift in life is a revelation of God's Kingdom, when we cherish it, live it and strive for it. Unrestful soul will not find rest until it finds God. Only with God man can live in harmony. Live in harmony with God means to have the greatest and most blessed life. I often say, the success is to find yourself at the right time in the place where God wants to see you. Man succeeds where the Lord puts him. This leads to all the good things of life. Great and precious life is to be pious and content, not to complain, but to find a living relationship with God and cherish it. Life with God on the earth opens up life with God in eternity. What could be more valuable than the eternity with God in Heaven? Thank you for your question. Seek God and cherish the opportunity to fellowship with Him through His Word, through prayer, through the dedication of your life to Him.
Question # 11
Valentin: Peace to you, dear brother, for a long time I have been trying to reach you because I wanted to personally talk to you, but it didn’t work. Please tell me how to get a hold of you:))))
Dear Valentin, if you have issues to be solved, I would suggest, not to waste time, you can go through the chief of administration Ivan Ivanovich Borichevskiy, or through your local church. Who is the regional bishop in your area and how to contact him; you can learn from pastor of your local church. There are issues that can be fairly easy solved at the level of regional pastors and bishops; they do not require the intervention of the Head Bishop. If the matter can be resolved only with my participation, you should contact the office of the Russian Church in Moscow, the contact information (phone # and e-mail addresses) is listed on our web-site. May God bless you.
Question # 12
Alex: What is the procedure provided for cases when a minister (pastor, bishop) does what is sinful? What actions may be taken by ordinary parishioners? Thank you.
Dear Alex, in the charter of the Russian Church of Evangelical Christians there are clear definitions of these situations, based on the Word of God concerning various cases involving ministers, as well as clear instructions. For example, take a negative evidence (reproach) of a pastor or bishop only in the presence of two or more witnesses. All complaints and appeals to ministers are being addressed. For this purpose there has been a certain procedure developed. In addition, we started special ministry of spiritual care for ministers. Bishop Alexei Pavlovich Rudenky is responsible for it. If there is a specific situation, you can refer to him. May God bless you.
Question # 13
Dennis: Eduard Anatolyevich, what do you consider optimal duration of a Sunday church service, given the fact that children of 7 years old are in the service with their parents and then they still need to go to Sunday school class. And how long do Sunday services last in your church? Thank you.
Dennis, thank you for your question. Man is created in a way that he is able to effectively receive information only for 45 minutes (without a break). That is why school lessons last 45 minutes and then a break. But since we are “very spiritual”, we are often taken away by our own sermons. Sometimes, it happens that people already understand what our main points are, but we still can not understand them. Based on my experience, I would recommend the duration of a sermon from 40 minutes to 1 hour (maximum). This applies both to children and to adults. Longer duration of a sermon brings poor result. Often this is happening, maybe because we do not preach very often, but when the opportunity arises, we try to give everything we have.
It is important to follow timelines in the service, since people have plans for the rest of the day. But sometimes our services last longer than usual when we pray for people at the altar, etc. We discussed the length of the service with pastors of our church and came to the conclusion that it is better if the entire service would fit in 2 hours period: worship, prayers, sermon, announcements, etc.
Some churches are trying to make their service highly organized and clearly limited in time. However, I do not think this is the answer. Sometimes a prayer for people is more important than following timelines. My advice: seek God in everything and realize that our children even at 7 years old are able to take all what we want to give them. Also I think that it was not a coincidence that the period of effective listening was limited to 45 minutes. If people are not able to take information after that, why are we trying to talk longer? May God bless you.
Question # 14
Igor Nushtaev: Greetings, Eduard Anatolyevich! Are any annual conferences of the Russian Church planned (similar to the Word of Life Church conferences)?
Dear Igor, we do plan to conduct annual conferences and already doing it. Last year the 7th Congress was held quite successfully. This year May 5-7 in Moscow Russian Church will host a conference for leaders and Christian businessmen. September 9-11 in Perm there will be all-Russian conference for pastors. I invite all ministers to take part in it. I am sure it will be a blessing. I think this conference will be very special and unique because 2011 is the year of Jubilee – the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith celebrates 20 years of its legal existence after 46 years of being persecuted in Soviet era. We have invited key ministers and church leaders who will share God's Word. I believe annual conferences will become a good tradition of the Russian Church.
As for locations, we are not tied to Moscow, but we try to hold conferences in locations convenient for all participants.
Also in 2011 we are starting to conduct annual youth conferences. This year's conference will be held July 26-31 in Perm. In future conferences will be held in other cities; the main thing is that we could unite eager young hearts that are seeking God. We want our youth to become devoted to the Lord and to reach the lost.
Question # 15
Sergei Smolyar: Eduard Anatolyevich! It is interesting to learn about future development and cooperation with Ukrainian church. Any conferences? Seminars? Friendly visits? Knowing about your rich experience and success in evangelism and missions, I would like to hear the testimony of God’s glory through your ministry...
Dear Sergey, thanks for asking. We are open for cooperation with the Church in Ukraine. I like to visit churches where I learn a lot. We maintain good relationships with many of our brothers. In every church I've ever visited in Ukraine I see great potential. It is always a pleasure to participate in seminars and conferences in Ukraine and in other former Soviet republics. I do not divide brotherhood into Ukrainian, Russian, Belorussian, etc. We are one body that evolves and is being a blessing for each other. Unfortunately, due to tight work schedule it does not always work for me to attend all the events that I would like to. It remains my priority to help the endeavor of the Russian community of churches, the strengthening of pastors and the expansion of missionary work. We have set high goals for ministry and today we reach towns and villages, remote settlements of our country with God’s Word. We believe God will help us to expand His Kingdom. It takes a lot of efforts.
I plan to be in Ukraine on April 12-13, 2011 and I will probably stay for a few days longer to attend a conference in Kiev. I am for partnership and cooperation.
Question # 16 Igor: Why are there so many divorces in churches, and most importantly those who are well aware of the scripture get divorced?
Dear Igor thanks for your question. I cannot agree that there are many divorces in the church, but unfortunately, you're right that there are some. Recently in Christian churches a liberal point of view on the family prevails, so we get the result accordingly. We would not want to see the salt has lost power, and the light ceased to shine. In some foreign countries statistics of divorces in the church only slightly differs from the situation in secular society. In Russia, according to official statistics, every second child is brought up without a father, and 8 out of 10 marriages end in divorce. This is appalling.
In our churches there are divorces, but I thank God that these are single instances. In the matter of marriage relations not so much knowledge of Scripture is important, but hope in the Lord, ability to understand each other and cherish family values.
Question # 17
Maria: Please share your experiences, how to know the will of God for your life? And what should I do until I learn it: to wait or do something? How did you personally learn the will of God for your life: before you started your ministry or in the process? I just don’t want to live my life in vain…
Dear Maria thanks for the good question. If your heart is burning for God, you want to serve him then any work will be a joy and a blessing. When I did not know God's will for my life, I dreamed of just doing something for him, and carry out any work entrusted to me in church.
There are many faithful, dedicated people who consider the greatest thing in the world to serve the church, the body of Christ, in every way they can. When you start doing something, God will guide you and bless you. In my youth time we were looking for opportunities to bring people to Christ. For example, we organized street libraries: during the weekend we would set up tables right on the street and offered people Bibles or New Testaments to take home for a week to read. We have done everything possible to make God's Word available to people. Now I try whenever possible to go to towns and villages to preach the gospel to people. To keep the fire burning, you need to constantly throw more firewood. When your heart is burning, you can not sit and wait. The main thing is the state of your heart and spirit when you are ready to do anything that your hand might for God's glory.
Maria, do all you can do today for God. And God will show you His excellent way, His will for your life. If you are called, then God's fire will always burn and lead you. May God help you fulfill His will, be a light and example for many in following Him.
But remember if we listen to people's opinions and look at current needs, then even if we are already fulfilling His ministry, we may become vain and stop in our following God. People and problems can stop even the most anointed ministers. But if we look to the Lord and find comfort in Him, then He will fulfill the desires of our hearts. Therefore, look at Jesus and follow Him. May God help you go to the end.
Bishop Eduard Grabovenko