Our Ministry Vision
There is a lot that that can be said about our vision and hope for L'viv, but I think the first word should come from God. The Bible has a lot to say about missions and ministry but recently Psalm 96:1-4 has been a key theme for our calling to Ukraine.
Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
Our central hope and vision is for God to be worshipped and His glory to be declared by all people and by all nations. I love the way John Piper summarizes this thought in the opening lines of his book, Let the Nations Be Glad (an incredible read by the way).
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.”
I really can’t summarize it better than that ..... the core of our ministry vision is to gather more worshippers for God. With the supremacy of the Gospel as the foundation of everything we do, there are some specific goals we have for L’viv - all of which ultimately relate back to the Gospel and gathering more worshippers for God.
The primary goal of the MTW L’viv team is to plant a church planting church for God’s glory; a church which is founded on the Gospel and which address all areas of life. The ultimate hope is to see God raise up a church in L’viv which will serve as the hub for planting new churches in L’viv, Western Ukraine and the World. L'viv is a strategic city for this vision because it is the largest and most influential city in all of western Ukraine. Church of The Holy Trinity (the L'viv church plant) began formal worship services in 2012. As God grows this community of believers, additional ministries are also being started and developed to equip and minister to the church body and to reach the city for Christ.
L’viv is the educational hub of western Ukraine with over 23 educational institutions and over 100,000 students in the city. The younger generation in Ukraine seems to be more open to new ideas and more open to the Gospel. Developing ministries to university students is a key focus for the MTW team. After only a few years of work, God has already raised up a large group of college students which meet regularly. Meetings include Biblical teaching, worship, fellowship and community service projects. University students are a key focus because they will be the future leaders of Ukraine and the future leaders in the church.
The MTW L’viv team is made up of a mix of several families with young kids and a few singles. The children on the team have proven to be a great bridge for the gospel. Kids tend to naturally make friends with other kids at school, in the neighborhood and at the city parks. God has already blessed us with a large group of children within the church ranging from a few months old to early teens. One of the primary ways the church and the team seek to minister to children is through a weekly Sunday school where we teach the stories and truths of the Bible. We also provide special kids programs throughout the year to help draw in new friends and contacts.
Solid Christian materials in the Ukrainian language are scarce to non-existent. Translation projects are therefore a critical part of our work and ministry. Bradley manages all of the team's translation projects and is developing a publishing house that we hope will be a tool to provide materials to the entire Ukrainian speaking church. Some of our current and recent projects include various Sunday school materials for children, catechism booklets, music projects, family advent devotions, easter devotions and more. The photo to the right shows the cover of a catechism cd project recently completed. Through music and songs, the cd teaches about God and creation using the children's catechism questions.
BIBLE STUDY & DISCIPLESHIP
Bible study is a key ingredient in the walk and life of all Christians. As God builds His church in L’viv, Bible studies will be a central part of our ministry ..... for our own growth and for the growth of new Ukrainian Christians. God is already using small group Bible studies to expand His kingdom and raise up new leaders for the Ukrainian church.
We believe the Gospel changes everything. The reality is that a love for Jesus should naturally move outward to a love for others and especially to the friendless, stranger, poor, widow and orphan. It is our hope that the church in L’viv is outward focused and seeks redemption and restoration for a fallen and suffering community. Church of The Holy Trinity has a partnership with a local orphanage and provides aid to several elderly in our neighborhoods.
Theological education is a vital tool to train and develop future church leaders. We currently provide several seminary level classes using Third Mill materials. The long term vision is to create a seminary to train future pastors and leaders to lead the church in Western Ukraine.
Every summer our church, team and university group hosts an English Camp in the Carpathian Mountains. The camp is for university students to learn and practice English. However, every applicant is interviewed and told that the Bible and Christian teaching will be a focus of the camp. The camp has been a huge evangelistic tool and led to numerous new contacts. Several of the current L'viv church members made their initial contact with the church through the camp. Also, the vast majority of all the students involved with the university ministry first attended one of our English Camps.
The Gospel typically spreads through relationships. Much of our ministry includes seeking new relationships and warmly welcoming new friends into our home. Our home is a primary location for much of our ministry as we seek to love the Ukrainians God brings into our lives. Hosting can range from something small such as coffee or tea with a friend to large gatherings for a birthday party. The opportunities to show hospitality are endless and make up much of our daily life and ministry.
TRAINING FUTURE MISSIONARIES
A secondary goal of the L’viv team is to train and develop future missionaries. The team hosts interns most summers in a program called "Leopolis Green". The goal of Leopolis Green is to equip the interns for ministry by helping them understand who they are in Christ. The overflow of this understanding is what fuels ministry and mission. Each intern will better understand their calling and giftedness as they participate in God’s mission in the world.
Most of the families in Church of The Holy Trinity are first generation believers. We long to see new families added to the church community but we also want to train, teach, equip and model what it means to be a Christian husband, wife, father, mother, etc. At times the L'viv team has offered parenting seminars and conferences to better equip parents with the tools needed to care for and raise their children. Living life in and among the church community provides endless opportunities to minister to families.
KIDS CAMP (VBS)
Each summer Church of The Holy Trinity and the L'viv team host a week long kids camp (similar to a VBS). The camp provides a great venue to invite families and friends who may not yet be comfortable attending church. The week is full of games, crafts, Bible stories, songs, skits and loads of fun activities. Our most recent kids camps had to be capped because we ran out of space. The camp is also a great way for the families and members of the church to get involved and gain practical ministry experience.