Twenty years. Twenty leading organizations. Twenty key questions.
November 18-19, 2011
Association for Spiritual Renewal Center
Irpen, Kiev Region, Ukraine
Twenty years of religious freedom and evangelical missions in former Soviet republics.
In December 1991 the USSR, whose entire history was marked by persecution of Christians for their faith and with limiting the freedom of churches and opportunities for missions, ceased to exist. During the fall of the Soviet empire the first national missions, international partnerships, and large-scale humanitarian and evangelistic projects were started.
It was a time of massive changes, unprecedented spiritual hunger, and unique freedom for preaching the Gospel.
In 20 years of religious freedom much has changed in society itself—attitudes towards democracy, the status of the Orthodox Church, attitudes towards the West, the political system, the structure of society, interethnic relations, and Islam’s role in the religious life of post-Soviet countries. These changes, in turn, affected the identity of the Church, its outreach strategy, and the effectiveness of missions work.
Looking back, we can see the abundant fruits of the active outreach and evangelism on the part of evangelical churches. The past twenty years have been a blessed time of active work in an atmosphere of freedom. Considering the path we have travelled, it makes sense to analyze the successes and failures of the past 20 years of missions, and also to give praise to God for His gift of freedom and His leading in history. Looking forward, we can see new challenges ahead for the Church in the post-Soviet sphere, which require a renewed vision.
The twenty years following the fall of the USSR have been a historic period for post-Soviet republics and the national churches. They present an opportunity to remember the path we have traveled and look to the future, and prepare for our next steps and the next page in missions.
Twenty leading organizations will present and reflect upon their ministry experience
Twenty Key Questions – about the Church, missions, theology, and leadership – to analyze and discuss:
The Church yesterday and today
-Why have Evangelical churches remained marginal in society?
-Have Evangelical churches become national or have they remained post-Soviet?
-Why have churches stopped growing?
-Have national ministries become independent?
-How should ministry strategy change in situations of Islamic and Orthodox pressure?
-Do Evangelical churches have a position on social and political issues?
New Horizons for Missions:
-Will there be a revival? Why has there been a decline in activity?
-How can we evaluate the results of Evangelical missions in the last 20 years?
-Why have Christian media not become a noticeable factor in community life?
-What blessings and disappointments has the Church experienced in social ministry?
-Why have international partners lost interest in supporting ministry in the former Soviet Union?
Education and theology: Evaluating changes
-Christian education in the former Soviet Union: twenty years of growth or stagnation?
-What is the reason behind the intellectual and cultural weakness of Evangelical Protestantism?
-What are the defining characteristics of post-Soviet theology?
-Why is it that through twenty years of practice a theory has yet to emerge?
-Does the Church need a Christian intelligentsia?
Leadership at the junction of generations:
-How can we resolve the crisis of workers for churches and ministries?
-How can we resolve conflicts between generations?
-What should a leader be like today and what is our current leadership situation?
-How can we motivate the next generation to ministry?
The Goals of FORUM 20:
-Celebrate and thank God for the blessings of twenty years of active missions work in a free society
-Analyze the successes and failures of 20 years of ministry
-Offer a renewed vision for the future
-Call for unity in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:1-3) in the lives and ministry of churches.
The Forum’s Program:
We will invite the main leaders of Evangelical churches and missions to attend the Forum, but speaking spots will be limited to those who write and submit ahead of time analytical papers, therefore we hope for a meaningful discussion of the above-mentioned questions. The papers will be available ahead of time, therefore we expect the forum to be spent discussing the papers, not presenting them. The forum will be interdenominational, and seeks to make objectivity and respect for others its main principles.