By Rev. Larry Duncan
SGA Director of Training Ministries
The Apostle Paul provided Timothy, his son in the faith and fellow servant of Christ, with the key principle for perpetuating God’s revealed truth from generation to generation. He said . . . The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). It is clearly stated that faithful men who have had the truth invested in them are to train faithful men, who in turn will train other faithful men.
At the fall of communism, the leaders of the Russian Baptist Union asked SGA to assist them in building up their leaders. Their ranks had been depleted during the 70 years of atheistic communism that had reigned in their country, and in the other former Soviet nations. Faithful pastors, missionary pastors, laborers in the local churches, and teachers for their schools needed to be raised up and equipped with the truth. That process began and it continues! And it’s my joy to tell you about it. Through your faithful partnership, SGA is blessed to be engaged in training faithful men to correctly handle the Word of God, and to reproduce it in their local ministries.
In the 32 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, SGA has invested in training ministries throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union. Church-based training now known as the Antioch Initiative, along with investment in strategically located seminaries and Bible institutes, has resulted in the equipping and training of thousands for a variety of ministries in and through the local churches. At the core is a clear commitment to the truth of God’s Word. These are faithful men who are now equipping others to perpetuate the truth of God’s Word among the peoples of the former Soviet Union.
Their individual stories speak to the equipping they received, and now the investment of these men in ministry in whom they are beginning to equip the next generation of believers for ministry. This is the template that Paul gave to Timothy. One story—among many—speaks to the faithful training of men for ministry. A brother named Ivan tells us that as a teenager the question arose before him—why do I live? For seven years, Ivan wrestled with the question. He had no motivation to pursue any direction in his life until the question was settled. He wrestled with this question until he met Christians who studied the Bible. This is the first instance of faithful believers passing along to others what God says in His Word. As a result, Ivan understood that only God could give meaning to his life. He repented and trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Ivan subsequently realized that he wanted to invest his strength and life to Christ and serving His church. He enrolled in the SGA-supported Novosibirsk Biblical Theological Seminary and studied from 2014-2018. He told us, “Thanks to the training, I received a comprehensive acquaintance with the Bible.” In 2020, God directed Ivan to start a new church in the large Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The new church began with two families, and now the Novosibirsk Evangelical Baptist Church has 20 members. According to Ivan, “Being engaged in the development of a new church, I understand how difficult it would be to do this without getting an education at the Novosibirsk Seminary.” Ivan is now entrusting what he has heard to faithful men and women in his church, and equipping the next generation of faithful servants of Christ.
The investment into all of the men and women since 1991 continues to bear fruit! The investment of faithful SGA partners enables the template given by Paul to Timothy to continue among the people of the former Soviet Union. And we give all the glory to God!