Alexey is a graduate of the Samara Center for Biblical Training. He and his family have accepted a request by a small group of believers in St. Petersburg to plant a church there. St. Petersburg is the second-largest city in Russia (10 million people), and the need for more Bible-centered, Christ-exalting churches is enormous. Alexey began his church-planting efforts there in the fall of 2013. In the following is recorded Alexey’s thoughts about last year’s HeartCry conference in St. Petersburg.
The conference was a special time for us because it was devoted to understanding and preaching the gospel. The conference was for the whole Evangelical Baptist Union of Saint Petersburg, though there were also attendees from other parts of our country as well.
The conference took place at Central Baptist Church, and Paul Washer was the main speaker. There was also a luncheon during the conference where all the pastors of the Baptist Union churches gathered together with Paul to discuss various issues of pastoral ministry. Some of the pastors asked hostile questions regarding differences in doctrine, but Paul was very wise in his answers to all the questions and even helped to bring peace among the group.
On Sunday morning, after the conclusion of the conference, Paul preached at the worship service of Central Baptist. After that, he came to our church (we meet at 4 PM on Sundays), where he also preached for us. He spoke about the responsibility of men for their families. On Monday we had a brothers’ meeting for men in our church. Paul spoke to us about our personal responsibility of prayer and service to God. He also touched on the issues of our personal righteousness, being devoted to our families, and personal evangelism. He warned us of the dangers that could be awaiting our young church if we stopped evangelism and focused merely on good preaching. If there is no growth in our daily lives – in reading Scripture, prayer, evangelism, and sanctification – then we cannot help other people: we cannot influence their lives and move them to change. Afterwards, the men in leadership at our church also had an opportunity to spend some quality time with Paul and with Holden Barry. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and getting to know each other on a deeper and more personal level.
HeartCry’s visit helped to improve our interactions with each other and our communication. It was good for our church to see the people who help and support us in our ministry. People in small groups and study groups are still talking about the positive influence of this visit and the service of brothers Paul and Holden.
This month was devoted to building our pastoral team. We have established consistent meetings in which we devote time to pastoral prayer for each other and for our congregation. We also use the time to resolve matters and to discuss how we might become more involved in the lives of our ‘flock.’ I am beginning to see the deep interest of the members in each other’s needs, and it brings me joy to see that God is forming a unity of thinking in our minds. This not only inspires our pastoral team, but it also encourages the entire congregation.
Please continue to pray for my family, especially that God would give my wife and me strength to minister to our children. Also, please pray for our children, that God would open the truths of the Scriptures to them and that the gospel would touch their hearts.
Finally, pray for the building up of our pastoral team; pray that the brethren in our congregation would minister to their families and to one another.