On 3 March 2009, 214 participants from different corners of the Eurasian Region entered the chapel of Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS) in Kiev, Ukraine, to open the Eurasian Lausanne Consultation for Younger Leaders. Participants came from Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Philippines, and Ukraine.
The event began with prayer and singing, accompanied by UETS’ choir. Dr. Anatoliy Glukhovskyy (Lausanne’s International Deputy Director for Eurasia) made a presentation on the Lausanne Movement and talked about Cape Town 2010. Brian Birdsall, Campus Crusade for Christ director in Ukraine, shared his experience and perspective on Lausanne and its call to world evangelization.
The first day ended with a roundtable discussion on “cross-cultural evangelism,” in which participants from Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Ukraine shared their experience of ministering as missionaries. It was stressed that Christians must distinguish the eternal elements of the good news message and make it native to people using their cultural authenticity.
During the two-day consultation, younger leaders discussed thirteen issues:
- How to reach the indigenous population of each country in the Eurasian Region
- How to reach nations with authentic culture without changing it
- New ways of evangelism to reach people preoccupied with materialistic success
- Evangelism in university and student dormitories
- Evangelism in the midst of financial crisis
- Unity of denominations in evangelism
- Evangelism between young people and their peers
- How to motivate young people
- Spreading the good news in contemporary society
- Evangelism to young people in jails
- Evangelism in the Orthodox context
- Discipleship and how to keep and develop new converts
- Charity and ministering to destitute people
Participants also enjoyed Lausanne International Director Lindsay Brown’s teaching on how God uses people to work in cross-cultural evangelism. He outlined five biblical life principles for all Christian workers:
- To be strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus
- To pass on the truth you have learned
- To be prepared for hardness
- To be single-minded in devotion to Christ
- To stay a forbear like the farmer
He emphasized that what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-7 is still relevant to the new generation of “Timothys.”
The second day started with a morning devotion and a short message from Rev. Fyodor Makan from Moldova, who spoke about true worshipers the Father seeks today—ones who bring glory to him.
During the second roundtable discussion on “studying without isolation from evangelism,” participants shared ideas of evangelism to students in secular universities and ways of being effective while getting an education in seminaries and Bible colleges. It turned out to be a vital topic, since there were many students from Bible colleges.
The third roundtable discussion on “evangelism diversity for the sake of unity in the Body of Christ” gathered participants from Armenia, Belarus, and Ukraine representing different evangelical denominations. After discussing examples of denominational cooperation, it was shared that many still seem to be fighting for traditions which to others seem to make no sense. While it may be impossible to have unity on every level, when we are setting right priorities, we realize there is something far more important that unifies us—the salvation of non-believers.
Brown also taught on how the gospel interacts with culture by using Jesus’ model of being salt and light to the world. Brown said the concept includes three principles:
- Believers are called to be radically different from non-believers. Because light clearly differs from darkness, we are called to be holy.
- We must penetrate non-Christian society with radically different biblical principles. The salt must be mixed with meat to prevent decay, the light must shine through the darkness, and we must be spiritually and morally distinct, but not socially segregated.
- Christians can influence and change non-Christian society by prayer and fasting; by thoughtful, creative, and courageous evangelism; by being a loving example; by argument; by compassionate engagement with people; and by testimony through suffering.
He shared that we may need double repentance for compromises with the world and pessimism about society. He emphasized that culture can be transformed by two percent of its population. We are called to make a “salty” influence and to be a light to society.
Rev. Vasiliy Raychynets from Ukraine spoke on the “evangelical marathon” according to 1 Corinthians 9:24, saying that it is the finish, not the start, that defines the marathon. Therefore, it is important to use your strength wisely and not to grow weak and stop running before achieving the finish.
He defined four issues impeding the run in evangelism today:
- Idolatry: everything that puts God in second place
- Immorality: God’s standards being distorted
- Temptation: temptation to speak against God and his anointed ministers
- Grumbling: not as reaction to troubles, but chasing of better things
Our loyalty should be proved by time and action. The consultation was closed by singing and prayer.