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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leadership Conference - Nizhny Novgorod Russia

Young Russian Church Leaders

For three days this week 65 leaders from all over Western Russia gathered just outside of Nizhny Novgorod for the annual Cornerstone church leadership conference. We were privileged to both attend and to serve these dedicated young men and women.

Conferences are a big part of church life in Russia. To be a Protestant believer here in Russia is to be classified as belonging to a cult and to be on the fringes of society so when believers gather together in conferences they benefit from the fellowship, teaching and gaining the perspective of a bigger picture.

Most of the attendees at this conference are former drug addicts and criminals, not unusual since the entire Cornerstone movement is dedicated to evangelizing the marginalized of Russian society.

It was a joy to see the exuberant worship, the sheer joy of knowing Christ and being set free from despair and hopelessness. The worship, as always was loud and heartfelt. It is almost impossible for me to not have tears in my eyes when I see these young men and women wholeheartedly worshiping the Lord who has set them free.

The days were filled with workshops and “master classes” taught by some of the senior leaders in the movement. It is almost laughable to call them senior leaders because most of them are about 30 years old. The reality is, though, that they have been believers for 5 – 10 years, have each planted several churches, started numerous rehab centers and led hundreds of people to Christ. Oh, that we could all say the same!

Mealtimes were spent discussing some of the teaching and just enjoying being with like-minded believers, those who are sold out to Christ and are radical disciples serving not for money or position, but to see the Kingdom of God expand through reaching the lost and hurting. What a privilege Karen and I have to walk alongside these faithful servants and to serve them in some small way.Pastor Dimitry Teaching

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