“God used many trials, tests and suffering in the life of this pastor to grow and break him, and now he uses these experiences to understand people at a deeper level, and preach to them the only message of hope.”
It is easy for a pastor to feel a little worn down as he is continually tried and tested while faithfully ministering to others. But just as Pastor Volodymyr grew through times of hardship in Ukraine, he is now able to help others grow because he understands them at a deeper level.
Not only do we learn through our various trials, but God gives us the ability to overcome and have victory in them as we are equipped in a much greater way to share in the trials of those He places before us. Thankfully, Volodymyr didn’t let his trials overcome him, but instead looked to the Gospel to lead him into deeper ministry. Please be in prayer for the many pastors who daily fight these battles!
SGA team member Angela writes . . .
I had the chance to meet with SGA-supported church planter, Pastor Volodymyr. SGA also supported several ministry projects for their church’s children’s ministry throughout the past four years, and providing heating supplies during the war. Praise the Lord for the work being done through this pastor and his church!
The scent of coffee pleasantly wafted through the air of the meeting room in the warm church building. Smiling photographs of several groups of believers getting baptized stood on the bookshelves. On the whiteboard was a large model and plan of the goals for the following year—highlighting the life emphasis of this pastor, a firm believer in the power of small group ministry.
After dozens of wrong choices in a search for the meaning of life, Christ saved Volodymyr at the age of 24. Shortly after, Volodymyr read a book about the influence of small groups on discipleship and was given the responsibility of organizing and leading the first group in the church. This first-time experience grew into a life-long commitment of preaching the Gospel through small group ministry. God used many trials, tests, and suffering in the life of this pastor to grow and break him, and now he uses these experiences to understand people at a deeper level and preach to them the only message of hope.
By the grace of God, in his 19 years of ministry, Volodymyr, along with his wife and kids, participated in 15 church plants. His words on the subject, both through the pages of the book he wrote and the many seminars he teaches on discipleship, go hand-in-hand with his practical life. Volodymyr is certain that discipleship through small groups is Jesus’ way of teaching. He has witnessed that both in good times and bad, God continued growing His Kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in small groups that became churches across the region where Volodymyr serves. Throughout Volodymyr’s ministry, the churches that were planted in turn planted other churches, and God spread the Gospel through new believers who preached to more new believers.
Now, as Grace Church plans for the upcoming year, their goals continue to broaden. Although many prior church members evacuated because of the war, God brought many new people that became believers into their church family. Recently, a highly respected politician of Tatar descent began attending their church, came to Christ, and is now preaching the Gospel to others. Another man, who is a national gold-medalist in Judo, recently became a member of a discipleship group. With the growing numbers, Pastor Volodymyr wants to expand to 15 small groups and 40 discipleship groups, as well as take on new students to their church’s Antioch School of Preaching program. But they don’t want to stop there. Pastor Volodymyr believes that, in the near future, God is calling him to plant another church in the region. Also, due to the numbers of soldiers coming back from war, they are now praying about finances to open a rehabilitation center for veterans and victims of substance abuse to answer these needs.
The fields are always ripe for harvest. Pastor Volodymyr says, “What upholds my faith and what I’ve seen in ministry is the relevancy of God’s promise to Joshua: Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you (Joshua 1:3). God wants to fulfill His mission through His faithful servants and opens the hearts of people to the Gospel in every place. Our job is to preach it!”