When darkness falls on Easter Saturday, the Christians at Golgotha Church in Moscow gather for a special service. We sing and, as pastor, I teach through the account of the Passion Week of Jesus, step by agonizing step. The service lasts deep into the night. As midnight approaches, we focus on Christ’s death. And when the clock strikes 12, each person lights a candle, and we parade through the surrounding streets, singing songs that proclaim and celebrate Christ’s glorious resurrection. As we walk, many from the neighborhood join us—either to rejoice with us or to satisfy their simple curiosity. When we arrive back at the church, I stand on the steps and preach about the resurrection of Jesus to those who have gathered. What better time to proclaim salvation and new life in Christ than while anticipating the sunrise on Easter Sunday!
I love these services because they combine so much of what’s essential to the Christian life: the worship of God, the proclamation of the gospel, the fellowship of God’s people, and most of all, the clear teaching of God’s Word. When I think about getting back to the basics of our faith and about my passion behind ministry, I think of these fundamentals.
As pastor and translator, I ensure that the proclamation of God’s Word and discipleship in the Christian life are at the core of the Russian-language ministry of Insight for Living. The ministry exists to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to Russian-speaking people of all walks of life in the hope that they might accept Him as Savior and grow spiritually. Our radio broadcast currently reaches the ears of many unbelievers in Russia’s two largest cities—Moscow and St. Petersburg—as well as all of European Russia and even former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.
In all these places, the Holy Spirit is using Insight for Living to touch the hearts and lives of our listeners—not only leading them toward salvation but also encouraging them in the basics of the Christian life. Many respond to the broadcast with thoughtful questions and significant counseling needs. They ask questions about the gospel, prayer, and the Bible, as well as about matters such as dealing with addictions or troubles in their marriages. These listeners desire to live their lives in a God-honoring manner, a desire we seek to cultivate through the broadcast, correspondence, and personal interaction.
God has also blessed me with ministry opportunities beyond the radio broadcast. Preaching and teaching every week as the senior pastor at Golgotha Church in Moscow help me to widen Insight for Living’s circle of ministry in Russia. But more than that, my role allows me to speak directly with people, to learn about their needs, to pray with them, and to minister to them in person.
Whether it is one-on-one or from the pulpit, I believe that clear instruction comes directly from the Word of God and is the best way to help people toward a flourishing and vibrant Christian faith. For that reason, I am passionate about my role as president of Moscow Theological Seminary. My work on the administrative side of the school helps enable students from all over Russia to come and train for the work of the ministry. Whether they serve in their churches as pastors, deacons, music directors, or Sunday-school administrators, the students at the seminary become better prepared to be more effective ministers of the gospel throughout Russia.
From the radio booth, to the church and its neighborhoods, to the seminary and its ministry to people all over Russia, getting back to the basics of proclaiming God’s Word and discipling believers has an immense impact, especially when we focus our teaching on the One who has given us life—Jesus Christ.
When Christ is at the center of any ministry, the proclamation of Scripture naturally draws people to Him. And when we receive Christ, we change our priorities in life. We make the love of God and the love of neighbor our first concerns. This is the benefit of good Bible teaching—when we hear and respond, our lives become less about our own desires and needs and more about what we can do for others. In that spirit, Insight for Living in Russia desires to call people out of the darkness, light the candle of salvation in their hearts, and point their lives toward the only One who gives life—Jesus Christ.