Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Seminary

I am teaching in a Presbyterian seminary in Russia and for Russians run by Koreans. This is actually an experience of three cultures - Russian, Korean and American.

Here’s the story.

A business man who was an elder in his Presbyterian Church founded the seminary. He goes by Elder Lee and the seminary began during a dramatic experience with the near death of his wife. While his wife was recovering from a stroke and unconscious, he remembered a vow he made to God in high school that in his lifetime he would reach 10,000 people for Christ. He had forgotten it. He became a successful entrepreneur as owner of a manufacturing company and forgotten his promise to God. In that moment, in that hospital room, it all came rushing back to him and he decided he would not wait a minute longer. He prayed and asked God where he had the best hope of reaching thousands of people for Christ. He realized Korea was not that place because it was a highly Christian nation. But not too far away was Russia. While his wife was in recovery, so the story goes, he bought an airline ticket to Moscow and began the journey that led to the establishment of a seminary.

Elder Lee realized that it was not enough to personally seek to reach 10,000 people for Christ. He needed a bigger strategy. A bigger dream. It occurred to him that 100 pastors reaching 100 people for Christ each would achieve his dream. That vision combined with entering Russia right after the restructuring of the nation and end of communism was a perfect combination in the early 1990s. Now, over 200 pastors have been trained and over 200 churches have launched. The goal is now bigger. Much bigger. He is now reaching for 600,000 people for Christ. The seminary continues to grow and expand and is now in the middle of a $1.5 million renovation.

The reason I’m here is because about ten years ago, they begin to realized that the Russians who were being trained perceived Presbyterian Christians to be only Koreans since Koreans ran this seminary. So they been to invite non-Korean scholars and pastors to come in for teaching weeks. Our church in Florida hired Pastor James Kim to coach with us on a church planting project and James has been coming here for years. He invited me to team-teach with him.  The seminary has teams come teach at least four times a year. One person told me ten teams will have been here by year-end.

Pastor James and I are teaching about 25 students for a weeklong seminar on leadership, communication, evangelism, discipleship and what pastors need to know about addiction ministry.

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