St. Petersburg Training
St. Petersburg Training National Trainers Team
MVC continued its ongoing support for the St. Petersburg Training National Trainers team. Pastor Mike Locke, Elder Dan Johnson and church member Terry Lekberg flew from Chicago with Bill Mills and Don Couwenhoven to St Petersburg to spend a week working with 23 pastors. They were able to see first hand the impact of the TNT program, as the Russian pastors led nearly every session over the 4 days they were together. The main Bible study for the week was the book of Habakkuk. The pastors demonstrated how to find the main idea of the book and to interpret the book using clues of context, genre, structure, Biblical theology, and application. While the book of Habakkuk is relatively small, it has a huge message – while Habakkuk was crying to God for justice, God was working His own plan for His own glory. We even see the first reference to one of the anchors of the Reformation – “the just shall live by faith” in chapter 2, verse 4. Mike, Dan and Terry presented two sessions each. Each one presented a session, which was mostly testimony, to establish a connection with the pastors. In each testimony, the pastors were encouraged by God’s faithfulness to Mike, Dan and Terry in very difficult times. In addition to the testimonies, Mike described how he leads the family ministry at MVC. Most Russian churches do not have a specific family ministry, so this was a very new and exciting topic for them to hear. Mike’s teaching produced lots of questions and led to several good opportunities to minister to some of the pastors in a smaller setting. Dan taught on what it means to be an Elder at MVC. He spent a little bit of time clarifying cultural and language concerns, as there are a number of different terms churches around the world use to describe the work that our Elders do. He described, based on Acts 6, how our Elders focus on the ministry of the Word, prayer and shepherding to lead our church. He also taught on the importance of following teachings regarding qualification of Elders in Titus and 1 Timothy. At one of the last sessions, Terry taught on discipleship. He talked a lot about his ministry to the Chinese students through MVC, and this seemed to really intrigue the pastors, as some mentioned they were encouraged to hear that the gospel was being preached to the Chinese. Bill and Don and the pastors expressed their gratitude for MVC’s partnership in this ministry. It was very encouraging to hear the reports of these pastors developing their skills and also passing their knowledge on to others as well. Thank you for your prayer and financial partnership for this trip.
“I was blessed to be a part of the October TNT training in St Petersburg, Russia. This was a very encouraging time to see and hear how God is working in and through the pastors there. God blessed all of our travels. Our connections were flawless. We had no concerns with health or safety. It was great to see how dedicated they were to preaching the Word of God with the heart of God. Session after session revealed their desire to interpret the word correctly and to apply it properly. Several of these pastors were facing difficult challenges at home or in their church, and it was great to be able to bring them some encouragement for them to cling to. One of the pastors found the teaching that we provided to be very timely as he found out just a few days before the conference that he was just named a bishop, and he would be responsible for training other elders and pastors in 5 churches. Our teachings on family ministry, eldership and discipleship came at a perfect time for him. Probably my favorite time was near the end of our gathering, when one of the pastors led us in singing Amazing Grace. I sang English with their Russian, but I knew that God heard it all very clearly. This week revealed to me on a small scale what it will be like to worship God when every tribe, tongue and nation is gathered around His throne.”
- Dan Johnson (Elder)