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Idle in the Market Place

Oct 27, 2007 at 15:38

By: Steve Hill

There has been a wonderful move of God in Ukraine since the Iron Curtain rusted away.  The majority of pastors and missionaries in Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union are Ukrainian.  We began working in Central Asia with team sent from Ukraine and met other Ukrainians there!  

However, last March I had a very unsettling experience in Ukraine.  I had observed hundreds of young people standing around on the streets at all hours of the day and night and had asked how we could hire them for the Kingdom.  The brothers I was with said, "That would be difficult since most of them have already been through the churches."

Of course my next question was, "Why?"  

The answer was difficult to hear.  They talked of two kinds of churches in Ukraine.  The first kind were the Baptist and Pentecostal which survived the Soviet era and still carried symptoms of that era in their totalitarianism  They were a system of total control that dictated not only what you could or could not do in the meetings but also who you could marry, how many children you should have and how long to grow your hair.  The second kind were the new independent charismatic churches which were much freer  in worship and dress but they were authoritarian in that everything was centered around submission to the leader and his vision.  It was controlled by a person rather than a system.  

The view of many is that the churches are just like the mafia in existing to serve those at the top.  They have the nice cars, nice houses and opulent offices.  The system benefits the leaders but the ordinary members are supposed to serve and give with out question. The older denominations reflect the totalitarianism of the Soviet system.  The newer movements reflect the present cult of leadership privilege and materialism.

We need to face the problem!  One church in that city grew to 3,000 after the iron curtain fell.  They experienced a powerful move of God.   It is now less than 300 people!

The question for many is very simple.  How do I enter into the Kingdom of God without going through "church as we know it"?  

That is the success of the small communities of disciples meeting in homes across the muslim cultures.  They can meet under the headship of Jesus without going through the doors of any institution.  The only mediator between God and man is the man Christ Jesus.  Where Jesus is revealed He will build His church!

Jesus preached a gospel of "good news".  It is not good news to be told to go to church and support the program or you will be a bad Christian!

Jesus preached the good news of the Kingdom of God!  You can enter into the Kingdom and the Kingdom can enter  you!  You can know the reign of God over you and in you!  You can have the same relationship with the Father that Jesus has!

You can have the same adventure of obedience, suffering and joy!


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