In 1989, when Mark Elliott, director of the Institute for East-West Christian Studies, compiled a directory of Christian ministries to Eastern Europe, it contained 369 entries. Now Elliott, along with Sharon Linzey of Seattle-Pacific University and Holt Ruffin of the Seattle-based USSR Project, is working on updating that list. By mid-April, the count was up to 969.
“The three of us are running across new groups almost daily,” says Elliott. And the directory does not include the many independent efforts by individuals and congregations. The majority of ministries, Elliott says, target evangelism and church development. They include numerous radio and television efforts, as well as publication of Christian literature.
One of the most promising ministry possibilities, according to Anita Deyneka of Deyneka Russian Ministries, is Christian camping. Campgrounds once reserved for training future Communist leaders are now being used to develop the next generation of church leaders, as well as to reach unchurched youth.
Among the most ambitious evangelistic efforts on the drawing board is a project known as “CoMission.” It is being spearheaded by the Jesus Film Project of Campus Crusade for Christ, along with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries and the Association of Christian Schools International. Organizers have solicited participation of dozens of diverse Western Christian groups. CoMission’s plans call for placing over 12,000 people in full-time ministry in the Commonwealth of Independent States in one-year appointments over four or five years, and for thousands more to serve for periods of between two weeks and three months.
Humility And Respect
The burgeoning Western missionary activity in the commonwealth, however, has been accompanied ...1
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