Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: Not a “Flash in the Pan”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, says his church’s partnership with the IMB allows them to have a ‘front-row seat in what was formerly one of the most closed places in the world.’ IMB photo

By Grace Thornton

Imagine if you lived in Texas, and on a day’s notice you had to leave and you ended up in Florida. “All your belongings, your home, your job, your friends—they’re back in Texas, but you can’t go back there because it’s too dangerous,” Russell Woodbridge said. “You have to start life all over again. Where is your hope? Where are you going to look for answers?”

This is the climate in Ukraine, where Russell serves as an IMB missionary. He encounters people all the time who fled their homes in the eastern part of the country when war broke out a few years ago. And in the midst of that heartbreak, he and other Ukrainian believers want to help them find a hope that transcends the uncertainty of war.

IMB missionary Ingrid Woodbridge meets with a group of Ukrainian women as part of a mentoring group she started. She and her husband, Russell, have planted themselves in Ukraine to train believers there to take the gospel to the world.

“A year and a half ago with the help of Ukrainians we started a new church plant that specifically tries to reach these people who have been displaced and lost everything,” Russell said. “We’ve seen people come to Christ and be baptized.”

Through the seminary where Russell teaches, he’s been able to mobilize displaced believers to plant churches among other displaced Ukrainians. He’s even seen them plant churches beyond Ukraine’s borders. One student went to Central Asia and led people there to faith in Christ. Another planted a thriving church in Poland.

“This is what we’re about—training Ukrainians to go with the gospel to the nations,” Russell said. “It’s been a joy and a privilege for me to come alongside them.”

Back in North Carolina, Russell’s home church feels the same way about his work. J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, says their partnership with Russell and his wife, Ingrid, encourages the church and enlarges their faith.

“We pray, we give, we go — not because we have to, but because of what God has promised He’s going to do among the nations,” Greear said. “We get to have a front-row seat in what was formerly one of the most closed places in the world. It’s our honor to be connected.” That’s the blessing of working alongside the IMB, he acknowledged.

“Being a part of this great network of churches provides opportunities that maybe you couldn’t do if you were by yourself,” Greear said. “It helps us engage in ways that are meaningful and not just a flash in the pan.” That’s the same whether your church is 50 or 5,000 strong, he said. Regardless of size, churches “can be directly engaged in the exciting things God is doing in the most unreached places on the planet.”

Russell agreed. “It takes all of us — American churches, IMB missionaries, and Ukrainian believers,” he said. “It takes all of us working together to reach the nations for Christ.”

• Ukrainian believers to plant strong, healthy churches that spread rapidly among the lost in their country and beyond.
• Churches to come alongside the work overseas and support them with prayer, funding, and volunteer help.

Albany church hosts fishing tournament to raise money for Hurricane Michael recovery
While in Jonesboro, Tennessee pastor Haun was foretold of ‘great revival’
Graffiti 2 Works eternally impacts South Bronx
‘Rock of Faith’: For 92-year-old Kingsland choir member, age is just a number
FBI honors Baptist ministry for human-trafficking work
Missionary to urban Scottish youth, profiled in 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, dies of cancer
Crumbliss retires after nearly five decades of ministry
Orlando pastor David Uth to be Pastors’ Conf. nominee
Bible Study for May 26: Exploit your friends
Daily Bible Readings for May 16-31
Bible Study for May 19: Hate your family
Bible Study for May 12: Let the dead bury their dead
Skipper tapped to be Evangelism catalyst in Georgia Baptist restructuring
IMB’s Chitwood discusses ‘unique’ partnerships with Georgia Baptists
Gwinnett County native named as Georgia Baptists’ lead strategist in Church Strengthening
At law enforcement summit, Baptists expand meaning of ‘Mission Georgia’
Orlando pastor David Uth to be Pastors’ Conf. nominee
Various groups to host gatherings, give reports during #SBC19
WMU Missions Celebration ‘like none other’
New opportunities among women’s events in Birmingham