The new format of education

i122cimgpsh_orig i125cimgpsh_origWhat we can do if students do not have opportunities to come for study in the classroom? What if the teacher cannot come to the students? With these issues we are faced in Church Ministries Institute.
In February 2014 because of war situation in the Donbas, we had the last course “Old Testament survey” in the Bible school in Kirovskoe, with hope that over some time we will be able to come back to the local church and continue training. But, it has passed 2 years, and the opportunity to back to Kirovskoe, uncontrolled Ukraine, we do not have. We prayed a lot for our students that God saved their life there and give them peace on their territory.
All the time we had communication with the bible school, which been in isolation. Mikhail Shevchuk, bible school administrator, attended the annual conference of CMI in 2014 and 2015, and often had conversation with CMI office via mobile phone. The students were eager to continue their studies, but the entrance to the town is just allowed with special permits. After long prayers, reflection and negotiation, we decided to resume the work of the bible school, using Skype.       This format of education was used in Transnistria, in the Bible school in Tiraspol. Students, together with the pastor of the church, passed 2 subjects: “New Testament Survey” and “Basic doctrines of the Bible” via Skype. For the students and for teacher the training in this format was like a journey through uncharted terrain. During teaching process we had a lively atmosphere; a lot of questions were discussed on these courses.

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After this experiment, we found that training on Skype has no significant differences from the standard teaching in the classroom. The most important things for using this format of teaching are HD camera and high-speed internet connection.
30th September 2016, we continue study in Bible school, the Kirovskoe. Group with 12 participants was gathered together. But … suddenly turned off the light in the entire town. The church started to pray and God give the answer in time – at the time of the start of classes the light was turned on. We connect Skype and started study process with “New Testament survey” course.
God has blessed our training, although initially faced with some difficulties. Students are accustomed to the fact that they see the teacher face to face. Teacher on a computer screen perceived unnatural. However, with sometime after beginning of the course, students adapting to this format, and they had many questions and start interesting discussion. After 10 hours of Skype-communication, the desire to continue study, even more increased. Students asked to repeat the course “Old Testament survey” because a lot of the material was forgotten for last 2 years.
Let us pray for church in Kirovskoe, that the education of students through the Church ministries institute program, help Christians who are in the zone of the war, to continue with the courage to preach the gospel of our Lord to people who as a result of military action have lost their loved ones and their homes.
The Church in Kirovskoe is very active in helping children and needy families with food, goods, restoration of destroyed houses. Our desire is to the local church, to grow spirituality, and more effectively serve God in a situation of war.

Mission – God’s desire

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God’s mission did not begin with Christ’s Great commission on the Mount of Olives, but much earlier. God’s entire plan for the salvation of humankind, beginning with the Book of Genesis – it is God’s mission. Jesus just continued the work of the Father, and the Church continues the work of God’s Son. On 12-16 September 2016 Church Ministries Institute held a seminar “Kairos”, on the course of Missiology, which motivated students to expand God’s mission for the salvation of the nations.

The course of “Kairos” reveals that mission is rooted in the nature of God, who sends and saves. This is mission from a biblical perspective. All Scripture is permeated with the desire of the Creator to tell about the great glorious history prepared for the people!
According to the students, this course helped them to see big picture of God’s plan of redemption. The important discovery was is that the preparation for the mission much more serious than is commonly understood and looks at first sight.
The practical aspects of the seminar were just great: modeling of worship in different intercultural contexts. Teachers were available for questions and clarifications of the study material. They used different methods in the learning process, feel a deep knowledge of the material and were sensitive to students.
We expect that course of Missiology not just in theory inspire our students, but helps them on practice be part of God’s mission.
We are waiting for a next course “The Theology of Paul the Apostle” from 28th November – 2nd December 2016.

Extreme Institute 2016 – Impressions of the Project Participants

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Spiritual growth is always associated with great pain and stress…like climbing the mountains when our frail body is screaming, not wanting to continue to move to the top of the increase in God, when our inner man resists and does not want to reach spiritual heights.It is one of the complex processes of the Christian life. Author Brian Zahnd encourages “spiritual climbers’ with the words:” Do not stop half-way from the top, climb to its peak; do not stop half-way in the Christian life, overcome all the way. Do not be mediocre: strive for the best”.
For over 10 years CMI has been holding ‘ Extreme Institutes “- a project that includes deep Bible study and theology out of the classroom walls , often in the open air, and the participation of students and teachers in evangelization. From10 to 18 July God gave us the opportunity to spend an anniversary “Extreme” in Verkhovyna in the Carpathian Mountains .
It was not our first visit to this beautiful mountain village. In the past we held there a winter project –a study of the theology of the Gospels and Acts, activity with skiing, enjoying the scenery of the snowy mountains –anunforgettable time. But “the summer Carpathians”, according to our students, are even a more exciting picture.

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Located in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains and studying the theology of holiness in the context of The Epistle of Romans 6-8 chapters, we could not remain indifferent to the people who live there, and we, together with the local church, participated in children’s evangelization.
It was interesting to plunge into the world of Hutsul culture. Visiting a museum, listening to exciting stories, songs, and even playing on national musical instruments, we were part of mountain local flavor.
We climbed to the top of Pop Ivan Mountain –can we forget this? How much effort it took for our teachers and students to overcome this difficult path and, with joy, look down and photograph from one of the Carpathian peaks. Overnight in tents – it was a special moment -when the wind shakes your tent, ready to rip it apart and the air temperature does not cooperate – chilly, you feel so weak compared to the strength of the wildlife and even more admire the power and majesty of its Creator! Throughout the ascent and the transversal of the mountains we felt a friend’s shoulder, whether teacher or student – encouragement and support were our companions throughout the hard way.

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Some participants of the project wanted to stay another week and climb not only to Mount Pop Ivan (2028 meters) but also on Hoverla (2061 meters) and other hills of the Carpathians. Others, after studying the Epistle to the Romans, had the desire to deeply explore this amazingly multifaceted theoretical and practical aspect of the book. Evenings by the fireplace, communication in the rooms and a beautifully manicured courtyard helped students from different cities to learn more and support each other, encouraging a life of holiness, a life of struggle of the spirit with the flesh, in which, ultimately, will win the one who in us by His authority and power. Such an inspiring conclusion was reached after studying just a small part of the great messages of the Apostle Paul.
We hope that every member of the project fruitful spent time in Verkhovyna.Even the pool and sauna were available to all who came. It should be noted that the age of the oldest “extremals” VitalyKobzar, who says about himself that he is not just an old man (rus.- “Star”), but “superstar”, 68 years old. Lifting up to the Pop-Ivan, he confirmed the principle “growth never ends, it is the process of a whole life.”

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According to Mikhail Suprun: “Climbing to the mountains gave me understanding of the physical limitations of the human body. I thought about the fact that the Lord has given to us eternity, but He put us in a limited space and time for the understanding of his majesty! Great, we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:7). Studying Romans6 – 8 once again showed how the Lord teaches us some lessons:the deadness of the believer to sin and the life in Christ, the law in the Christian life and the unconditional love of God – especially memorable themes. In a lively discussion participants confirmed the relevance and practical words of Scripture.”
Oleksandr Khandus also shared his impressions: “some activity, exciting Bible study and Christian fellowship, contemplation,the surprising color of the Carpathians…all this became possible for me through the project of the Church Ministry Institute ” Extreme Institute – 2016 “. For the first time I have seen the beauty of God’s creation from the height of the Carpathian slopes. It captures the spirit of projections created by God, and I want to shout David words, “For what you have done I will always praise you” (Ps. 52:9) One feature of the extreme institute is the combination of elements of rest and training into one. So, Vladimir Nikolayev, director of CMI, conducted training on the subject “The holiness of the believer based on the Epistle to the Romans chapters 6-8″ And for me personally, the issue of the grace that is taught by the Apostle Paul, has been perceived in a new way. Specifically, the believer has a new position in Christ, which frees him from the power of sin and death. His life is renewed completely and this regenerate man is obliged to Christ”.
We are full of gratitude to God for the privilege of studying His word, beholding the beauty of His creation, and we are hoping for the mercy of God, looking forward to “Extreme Institute – 2017″, where students together with teachers in an informal location again will jointly engage in enhancing their spiritual and physical health. Every believer needs a catalyst for spiritual growth, and our project is one of the responses to this need. Praise the Lord!

Report of the Church Ministries Institute

Spring is over and summer has come, and it’s time to look back on the past academic year at the Church MinistriesInstitute.
Duringthis entire year our Lord provided us with many opportunities to glorify His Holy Name. Each year several schools graduate their students and we start new schools. We had some changes in our institute. Mikhail Suprun and his family moved to Kiev in 1of March, 2016. Now he works as Academic and Student Dean and Regional Developer.He is also a pastor of a church.
Mikhail is responsible for coordination work in the Bible schools and he teachessome courses. He helps students in academic and practical issues. For now Mikhail is a studentin Kremenchug Evangelical Seminary and Tavria Christian Institute on in their master’s program.
CMIis actively developing an onlineprogram. In 2015-16, 97 students registered for the onlinetraining. We translated from English to Russian 5 online courses for students and 2 courses for teachers. For leading this program, we have prepared 8 teachers. A great blessing for us is that Oleksandr Khandus joined the team of CMI.He isthenew Dean of OnlinAe Learning. He completed a master’s program in Prague. Oleksandris one of the ministers in Kiev church “Word of Truth” and he is a missionary in the Chernigov region (Ukraine). Oleksandr also teaches some courses in Bible schools.
During the 2015/16 academic year we had 15 Bible schools. God allowed us to organize 5 new Bible schools in the cities of Kanev, Fastov, Kremenchug, Novograd Volynskiy and Poltava. Geographically – it’s 15 local churches, located in Ukraine, Russia and Pridnistrovie. During this period of time we taught 36 courses through 18 teachers, 15 of them ordained ministers in local churches. The total number of students who studied at the institute was 294in 15 schools. Theseare brothers and sisters who want to get a biblical/theological education at the “certificate” level with the ability to continue to studyin the program, “Diploma of Church Ministry.”

New Bible schools (startof education 2015/16 school year).
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In the autumn teaching began with the course “Old Testament Survey”in the church in Kanev (1st Baptist Church). Training was held for 26 students. They are young people who arestarting their way with Jesus Christ and those who are already in ministry. Pastor Nikolai Panchenko is actively involved in the process of spiritual formation. Teachers in this biblical school arelocal brothers who have a master’s degreeand visiting teachers as well. The church is veryactive in missionary activity: they are in contact with several new organized churches in the region.The church is also involvedin work with orphanage children.
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Novograd Volynskiy – the birthplace of the famous poet and writer,Lesia Ukrainka. First Baptist Church in the city is involved in the study process. An important fact – the pastors in this church are very interested in the learning process: the senior pastor – Malyuk Peter Vasilyevich and Pastor Godun Viktor Stepanovich. The church is very hospitable and active in various areas of ministry: youth ministry, social and evangelistic. We have 20 students in our biblical classin this church.

Fastov –a city in Kiev region, a major railway junction. The Baptist church is located on Chicherina street 74.On the territory of the church they havea drug rehabilitation center andin this center we have CMI biblical class . Pastor Igor Bugaev initiated the biblical education for the church. Among the students arelocal brothers and sisters andthose who come from the region. In the biblical class we have free listeners- rehabilitants of level 1 (in the center for the first 6 months) and among students also are those who finished rehabilitation level 2 (adaptation after rehabilitation). It is very inspiring to see how the students become involved in ministry and grow in relationships, both with God and among the people in the churches. The Bible School Administrator (and also one of the best students) is our brother Yuri Evsikov. 26 students are trained there.

 

Existing Bible schools.

IMG_0098     The first capital of Ukraine, Kharkov city. The church “Evangelical Life” is on Alekseyevka street. The training program CMIhas taken place in the local church for many years. More than a hundred brothers and sisters were blessed by studying in this Bible school. 35 students are now involved in the study process. They are active in ministry,doing a missionary trip and growing spiritually. The church has a huge potential for ministry to our God. Senior Pastor of the church – Dribnohod Andrey, and pastor – Portyanko Alexei Leonidovich, are also actively involved in teaching in the Kharkov school and in other schools CMI.

DSC00165     Lebedin–is a small town in Sumy region. The Church “Spiritual Renewal” is continuing study. 17 students are involved in the program “Certificate of Church Ministry.” Pastor and brother, Tymchyshyn Bogdan, is the Bible School Administrator and one of the leading teachers. Senior Pastor of the church, Sergey Ovcharenko, encourages members of the church to take this opportunity for studying and strongly contributes to their spiritual growth.

Oposhnya –a pottery center in Ukraine and one of the most famous small towns in Europe because ofher national traditions. Brothers and sisters are continuing their studies at the Bible school CMI. Pastor, Martosenko Viktor Yanukovych is an exemplary student and good leader. One of the primary teachers is the pastor of Gadyach church, brother Isaev Vladimir Borisovich. For now we have there 15 students. Training takes place in a very friendly atmosphere.
Bohuslav –a green town near river Ros. Students of the Bible school on the street of Nikolaevska completed the first level of the CMI program and received a “Certificate of Church Ministry.” But for many of them it was justthe beginning. Therefore, the desire to learn and know our Creator transformed intocontinuing education at the B level, “Diploma of Church Ministry.”
Pridnestrovie – the blessed and long-suffering region. In the city of Tiraspol in the localevangelical church “Open Skies” is also a Bible school of CMI. An interesting feature of this school is that learning takes place in both the church building and through the distance program using teleconferences. Pastor Shkuratov Ruslanis one of the students in the Bible church and is very innovative and active in ministry and in social activities. For now we have there 8 students.
Church Ministries Institute has also two schools on the territory of the Russian Federation: in the town of Stary Oskol (Belgorod region) and in Perm.
Look to the future…
For the next yearwe plan to open 7 more schools, including in the Republic of Belarus. We also expect the Euro-Asian Accreditation Association visit in September, 2016 with a view to accredit our program, “Diploma in Church Ministry.” We plan in the next academic year to have 4 courses for “Diploma in Church Ministry” level through Kiev Theological Seminary. This course: Missiology (Kairos), September 12-16, the teacher Chad Wiebe; Theology of St. Paul, 28 November-2 December, lecturer Vladimir Nikolaev; Biblical Worldview, February 6-10, 2017, the teacher Mikhail Suprun and Course in Critical Thinking and writing, May 15-19, 2017, teacher Jim Erhard.
We continue to pray for…
Understanding that God has done through us His great work, in helping churches with training, encourage us to work for Him more and more. We pray for all our students, who want to know our Lord and who expanding the Kingdom of God.

In a Time of Chaos Students Learn to Make Order in Ukraine

Things are Chaotic in Ukraine. The war in Eastern Ukraine has destroyed much of the infastructure as well as many lives! In other parts of the country people are worried and wondering if there will ever be peace.

The new government in Kyiv is already not trusted by many Ukrainians and the economy is on verge of collapse with a currency that continues to drop in value.

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“What is the church to do in these chaotic times?”

This was the question we asked our students during this summers’ Extreme Instistitute!

Training and Practice Together

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Studying the letter to Titus

The purpose of the Extreme Institute is to provide training for our students in a non-formal way that combines Biblical teaching with practical application. We like to focus on helping our students learn valuable skills in evangelism, missions and church leadership.  While we have often taken our students outside of the country, we thought that with all the tragic events in Ukraine in the past ten months that it would be appropriate to stay with-in the country.

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Pulling up tents to move to the next village

Mikhael Suprun (pastor and CMI director of developement) organized a five day teaching/ministry expedition for our students in the Central Ukraine region of Cherkassy. Students met up in the city of Uman, where they were able to visit historic Sofia Park and also to fellowship with a group of Korean missionaries who work in Ukrianian schools.

From Chaos to Order

From Uman they traveld about 20 miles North to the town of Mankivka, where they set up tents in the church yard and spent two nights there. Every morning and evening the students intensely studied the book of Titus. The main theme of the book is found in Titus 1:5 where Paul tells Timothy:

“I left you in Crete so that you might put what remained in order.”

This topic was very appropriate given all that is going on in Ukraine! The students dug in deep with many questions and some great conversations. We disscussed everything from why it’s important to have order in the church to the vital significance of keeping the gospel truth at the core of everything the church does.

From Learning in a Classroom to Living it in Real Life!

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Anatoliy sharing the gospel outside a wedding

We planned for several opportunities for our students to practice what they were learning in real life. In the town of Manikova they were able to spend time walking the streets and sharing the gospel. One group of students spent over an hour talking with several members of Ukraine’s Self Defense force. They clearly shared the gospel message with them and left with with Ukrainian New Testaments. Another group came across a wedding party and shared the gospel with them!

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Bogdan preaching in the village of Kishintsi

The final three days of Extreme Institute were spent in the village of Kishintsi. Here students studied God’s Word together with local believers. Then on Sunday morning they conducted the worship service, including three sermons, special music and testimonies. The local church members received great encouragement and gladly invited them back any time!

Commited to Serve the Church

One of the most important results from a project like this is the individual commitment of each student to serve faithfully in his own church. As we wrapped up our 5 day teaching and training adventure you could sense that the students had been changed by the teaching and the experience. They were each going back to their local churches better prepared and more motivated than ever to teach, serve, and preach the Gospel!

CMI Main Office Moves to Kyiv

We are happy to announce that the CMI’s main office has moved from Odessa to Kyiv! This move is part of a broader partnership agreement between the Church Ministries Institute and the Kyiv Theological Seminary.

On July 4, a truck filled with furniture, files, computers, equipment, and books made the 500 kilometer trip north from Odessa to Kyiv. Several volunteers helped to unload its contents into our newly renovated office on the first floor of the Kyiv Theological Seminary building.
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In addition to operating our main office out of the KTS building in Kyiv, we will be offering second level classes at the KTS campus this year as well. We believe that this move will make it easier for a greater number of students to come to our second level classes, due to KTS’ central location, broader contacts with churches, and beautiful dormitory facilities.

Our new partnership with KTS will also allow the CMI to cut down our costs considerably , and to share the excellent administrative resources available at KTS, including a large library.

We are excited about what this partnership agreement will mean for the future of the CMI. We are already in talks about offering complementary academic programs. KTS is interested in helping with our local church Bible schools, and helping to promote our distance program. KTS will also provide a wide range of quality bachelor and master programs for our students who would like to seek advanced training after their graduation from our first and second levels. We are also in the initial stages of planning a new program designed specifically for youth leaders.

What will happen to our old office in Odessa? While a small part of the facility will still be used for our CMI distance program, we are excited to be renting the rest of the facility out to a Christian organization for the next two years. They plan to use it for an evangelistic children’s center and a new Baptist church plant.

We appreciate your prayers for Rick Ferrari, interim CMI director, as he leads us through this transition, along with Vladimir Nikolaev (CMI vice president and academic dean) and the rest of our administrative team. Rick has relocated his family to Kyiv, and is eager to see you in Kyiv!

Ukraine’s Crisis Brings Unique Opportunities to Share the Gospel

We continue to see reports of Ukrainians on edge, as the military prepares for war with Russian invaders. How should we respond to the Ukrainian crisis?

Anatoliy Cherepinskiy, a Ukrainian church planter and Church Ministries Institute alumni, describes how he and his team are finding creative ways to use this crisis to share the Gospel, and to build bridges with the residents of a village where they are planting a church in Southern Ukraine.

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Here is a recent not from Anatoliy describing the unique opportunity he has taken advantage of to share the Gospel in the midst of this crisis.

“I would like to share with you how we again have clearly seen the hand of God. In the village of Limaniy, we visited the husband of our sister (in Christ), and he sincerely repented. On April 1st we buried him. People from the village listened to the sermons and our singing. There was no alcohol on the table, and people responded very well to us. Praise God!

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Ukrainian military units were stationed seven kilometers from the village. We brought them milk and groceries, and learned that they were in need of showers. Throughout the week we brought them with us to our church building in groups of 8-12, where they warmed up in our sauna. Along the way, we got acquainted, shared the Gospel with them, and handed them Gospels. We socialized with them in the church building, fed them, and prayed with them. We also drove them to the regional center, where they purchased stove pipes and other items.

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In all, about 90 soldiers and officers heard the Gospel in detail, and saw our ministry to them in practice. They were so very thankful. In the village, we often heard good reports about our church. People also remembered how we cared for the electricians who lived with us in the church building after the ice storm, and other occasions.

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We rejoice that the Lord is using us in sowing the Word of God, with the help of your support and prayers for us. Glory to Our Great God!”