Without Passion Nothing Happens
M o s c o w – Without passion nothing happens. That was a central theme of the US-American Pastor Bill Hybels speaking in Russia for the first time on 13 October following a conference in Kiev. His platform was a „Global Leadership Summit“ which brought together 450 mostly youthful pastors and laity in Moscow`s „Rossa“ (Dew) free-church congregation. Hybels is pastor of „Willow Creek Community Church“ in South Barrington near Chicago. That “megachurch”-congregation is visited on Sundays by roughly 20.000 worshipers.
Hybels was the only leading speaker present in the flesh at the Moscow event. The remaining ones appeared on a large video screen. A Co-President of the conference, the Baptist Pastor Vitaly Vlasenko (Moscow), reported: „The video transmission was not really a problem. Some people think one can only really learn if the speaker is live. But that is not necessarily true.”
Global Leadership Summits, which have been held in 31 countries since 1996, feature a strong pastor- and congregation-centred approach. They state: If a pastor allows himself to be changed by the Spirit of God, then that pastor can contribute to the transformation of his congregation. The transformed congregation can then change the city, country, and even the entire world.
It was also mentioned at the Summit that church growth in itself should not be the actual goal. It is totally insufficient for a pastor to – as is often also the case in Russia – wish himself a large congregation. Yet the goal can only be, that he and his congregation truly comprehend and embody the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The primary goal must be to become a truly Biblical church. Congregations in which its people love and support each other are irresistible. Congregations emulating the Book of Acts are always sure to grow, for human beings harbour a deep longing for that kind of fellowship.
In Moscow Bill Hybles also spoke of “a vision worth dying for”. “If we really trust God and are truly willing to die for our convictions, then God will honour that. Nothing will then be able to stop us.” A pastor must be able to spread enthusiasm and convince others. He must place his whole life behind the vision that he has.
Pastor Vlasenko mentioned in conclusion: „Actually nothing really new was said at the conference. The old truths were simply described in a new and creative fashion. And the listeners were thrilled by it. I liked that very much, too. I hope we will be able to have another Summit during the coming year.“
This conference, which took place in Moscow for the first time last year, is only indirectly supported by the large free churches. Two more Summits are planned for Russia this Fall: in Krasnoyarsk/Siberia from 26-27 October and from 2 to 3 November in Krasnodar/Southern Russia.
Dr. William Yoder
Department for External Church Relations, RUECB
Moscow, 17 October 2007
A press release of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. May be published freely. Release #07-39 460 words.