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Friday, May 15, 2009

Church Planting - Kstovo Russia and Gorodets Russia

On Sunday, May 10, Cornerstone Church commissioned two new church planting teams. The team members are all recent graduates of the Bible/Missionary training school operated by the Cornerstone movement and located in Novosibirsk, Russia.

Karen and I know each of the team members and had a part in discipling them. We love these young men and women and will continue to work with them as much as possible through the next few years as they seek to establish new churches. One astounding fact is that none of these men and women is more than 2.5 years old in the Lord. The average is closer to 1.5 years! Another fact is that every one of them is a former drug addict and between them they have close to 50 years of addiction! They are so new in their faith, but so eager to tell others the good news of the Gospel which has set them free.

One team will go the city of Kstovo, a small city about 20 miles south of Nizhny Novgorod with a population of about 70,000 people. There may be 2 churches there but we are not sure.

The second team will go to the twin cites of Gorodets – Zavolzha. These cities are located about 35 miles north of Nizhny Novgorod and have a combined population of about 150,000. There are only 3 to 5 small churches in this area.

As you read these statistics keep in mind that the average city in America with a population of 75,000 can typically have 50+ churches. The city, in which I grew up, Anderson, Indiana, has a population of about 60,000 and has over 100 churches. You can see the great need for church planting in Russia.

As usual, the major part of the church planting strategy will be reaching out to the addicted, and the socially outcast. Each team will seek to establish a drug rehab center, a place of regular worship and eventually a facility of their own. It is very difficult for Protestant believers to rent facilities in Russia in which to hold worship services. Typically churches if allowed at all, can only rent a facility for several hours on a Sunday.

Please pray for these young pioneer church planters. They need wisdom from God. They need spiritual gifts. They need finances, places to live, meeting places and rehab facilities. They will receive all of this, but we need to pray for them as they seek to expand the Kingdom of God.

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