Russian Messenger Conference News
A WORKER APPROVED BY GOD
By Alexey Belykh/Ron Ward
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2Ti 2:15)
Upon the encouragement of P. Abraham Kim, and at the invitation of Russian leaders, two members of the Education Committee, Dr. Mark Yang and P. Ron Ward, visited Moscow to serve a Russian messenger conference. It was held in the Moscow UBF center from March 12-14 and missionary and shepherd families served this conference with delicious meals in turn.
Seven Russian leaders participated. Six were from Moscow UBF: Alexey Belykh, Konstantin Kalinkin, Artyom Datsenko, Ivan Fominykh, Evgeniy Visitskiy. One was from MGIMO Center in Moscow: Daniil Zhivayev. Four subjects were presented: 1) Inductive Bible Study, 2) Independent Bible Study, 3) Expositional Preaching, and 4) How to Prepare and Deliver a Sunday Message. After the presentations there were workshops. In one, the members carried out a factual study of the book of Titus, practicing the principles of inductive Bible study. In the other, the participants wrote messages on Titus 2:11-15. Later these messages were shared together; they were very graceful. There were opportunities for questions and answers.
Sh. Alexey Belykh, director of Moscow UBF, wrote this about the conference:
I thank God for the messengers’ conference…the main goal was to raise the quality of messengers by several levels. For this we needed to change our approach to the Bible study. Through the workshop we learned several principles, the first of which is inductive Bible study. This means to study the passage with careful observation, in detail, which gradually leads to an understanding of the main idea. In contrast to the inductive method, there is the deductive method. This method is used when we need to quickly prepare a message or a Bible study, and rushes into an application, neglecting careful and prayerful observation and sound interpretation. As a result, the message or the Bible study can reflect the opinion of the preacher or teacher rather than what the Bible is actually saying. Messages and Bible studies prepared in this way become superficial, not touching the heart; they result in a low quality of spiritual service.
A second principle is to prepare a Jesus-centered message. Jesus said: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me…” (Jn 5:39). The Bible does not give any answers, how to obtain eternal life. Instead, it speaks about Christ. Only Jesus can help us. I realized that a good message, which touches people’s hearts, is the one that leads us to Jesus.
A third principle is independent study of the Bible. Independent study means that one can understand the word of God without consulting commentaries. God wants to talk to us and the Bible is His word. Therefore, people must learn to understand the word of God directly. To do this we need to pray, asking God to reveal His word.
To implement what we have learned, the Russian messengers in Moscow pray to change our method of Bible study to inductive, and to study together two weeks before the message is to be delivered, and to finish the written manuscript one week before delivery. I pray that God will help us attain a new depth of studying his word, and that we may see new spiritual life in our ministry.