Phil Rector, a Missouri director of missions and FLF field services director, organized the team of Missouri pastors and two first-time directors of missions for the January retreat. Financing this year, including hotel, retreat facilities and three meals a day, was provided by FLF and Gasconade Valley Baptist Association, where Phillip serves. They taught 45-minute sessions via Zoom using two interpreters, despite an eight-hour time difference.
Authentic, evangelical Christian faith and practice has only recently been possible in Ukraine. Although past propaganda under the Soviet Union resulted in a culture lacking trust, there is now an excitement because truths found in Christ and the Bible are now available without government interference – a newfound, unfettered experience!
Jason Gentry, who led the previous year’s trip, taught coaching during this year’s seminar. Though it wasn’t a topic he had previously taught, “I was appreciative of the challenge and area of spiritual mentoring/coaching.” Each of the team members had the freedom to develop their lecture methods; he used PowerPoint and screen sharing.
“From past experience, the Ukrainians are very good at preaching sermons but an area of weakness is appropriate and applicable illustrations to drive home the point. I used personal illustrations in my own spiritual journey of mentoring and being mentored, and I used pictures to cement the points I was making in terms of the Biblical mandate and model of mentoring.”
Jason admires how Elisey Pronin of the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary uses this weeklong seminar “to not only equip the students and leaders under his charge, but also to encourage and edify” them as well.
Jason observes that the Ukrainian participants “are still very hungry to reach their country and the world for Christ. They are very humble and receive instruction with eagerness and appreciation.”
“I am thankful for the opportunity, once again, to partner with UBTS through the ministry of FLF,” he continued. “It keeps the connection strong and active between myself and the Ukrainians…and opening the door for future partnership and ministry opportunities.”
We are grateful for this team of Missouri pastors and directors of missions (DOM), listed below with their teaching topics:
- Alan Earls (DOM, Concord Baptist Association, Jefferson City): Biblical Leadership
- Jason Gentry (First Baptist Church, Hallsville): Coaching
- Scott Hanson (Midway Heights Baptist Church, Columbia): Evangelism
- Mark Johnson (Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, Dent County): Crisis Counseling
- Kevin Sullivan (FBC. Owensville): Discipleship
- Preston Thompson (DOM, Heart of Missouri Baptist Association, Columbia): Multiplication
After the seminar, how can you continue to pray?
Remember to pray for these Ukrainian church planters, that they may be blessed with perseverance and good health.
Photos are from this year’s church planting conference in L’viv, Ukraine.