Seminary Graduate Plants Churches in Russia

August 16 2017

Ivan Beshlyaga graduated from MECS (Moscow Evangelical Christina Seminary) with a bachelor of divinity degree in 2005. He then moved to Nizhny Novgorod to plant a church. A year later, he baptized Natasha, his first convert. Natasha grew quickly in the Lord and was soon leading the worship at the new church plant. A year later, Ivan sent Sasha, the rector of MECS, a wedding invitation. He was marrying Natasha! Since then, Ivan and Natasha have had three kids and planted three churches in the area. This past year, both Ivan and Natasha graduated from the seminary: Ivan with a master of theology degree and Natasha with a bachelor of counselling degree. Ivan and Natasha have now returned to church planting in Nizhny Novgorod.

Thank God with us for the ministry of MECS, and how he is using it to prepare students to reach the people of Russia.

Tags: seminary, moscow seminary, mecs, russia, church planting,

From Seminary Student to Pastor Changing Lives

August 14 2017

Arjun* was born into a Hindu family in the Indian state of Karnataka. During his childhood, Arjun's sister and parents came to faith in Jesus. The family began to attend the local church of the Evangelical Church of India, but Arjun could not understand his need for salvation in Christ. Then one night, while attending a revival service at the ECI church, the Holy Spirit spoke to him from Jeremiah 1:5, and Arjun realized that God had been calling him from his mother's womb into a personal relationship as a disciple of Jesus Christ. He confessed his sins and asked Jesus to take control of his life.

In 2010, Arjun enrolled as a student at the Karnataka Bible Seminary, one of the ten regional Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India that focus on raising up grassroots level church planters to launch and develop new churches that multiply. During his studies at KBS, the course in personal evangelism equipped him to share the Gospel effectively among his Hindu neighbors and family members. Upon graduation from the graduate of theology program of KBS, Arjun was appointed as a pastor to a small village church. He is now continuing his studies, pursuing the bachelor of theology degree at KBS.

I met Arjun in November of 2016 when I visited the school in Karnataka to facilitate training in Train & Multiply. T&M equips believers to find persons of peace, share the Good News, teach believers to follow the commands of Jesus, and multiply healthy, growing churches to the second and third generations and beyond. In a joint effort with OMS’ Every Community for Christ team and the Theological Education team, we are working with the Allahabad Bible Seminary and the regional Bible schools of ECI to incorporate T&M into their courses of study.

Arjun eagerly participated during the November training, and he reports that he was especially influenced by the 12 Principles of Church Multiplication. Today, he continues to learn the principles and practices of T&M at KBS, even as he applies that learning in his ministry as a pastor in a local village.

Arjun is only one example of the strategic role of the seminaries and Bible schools of ECI. Their impact goes far beyond the classroom into the cities, towns, and villages of India, often in partnership with the India Missionary Movement ministry of the Evangelical Church of India. These dedicated faculty and students are training thousands of pastors and laypersons while also engaging in creative and effective community outreach and evangelism. They do so with meager resources and most often in the face of fierce opposition and increasing persecution. Across India today, young leaders like Arjun are bringing transformation to individuals, families, and communities.

To learn more about the seminaries and Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India and how you can support them, contact OMS Theological Education or International Support Ministries or give here.

By Dick Freed, Director of OMS Learning & Development

*Name withheld for security.

Tags: india, theological education, training, sharing gospel, church leader, seminary,

Training Leaders in Haiti

August 8 2017

Since its beginning, One Mission Society has been in the business of developing Christ-like leaders for the global church. One of the ways this has been accomplished is through the planting of theological training institutions for the development of local church leaders all over the globe. Through the years, many of the Bible colleges and seminaries started by OMS have become leaders in their respective global regions among Protestant Evangelical theological schools. The Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti is great example of one of those schools.

In 1967, OMS started the Emmaus Vocational Bible School (EVBS) in a small suburb of Cap-Haitian, Haiti. Through Radio 4VEH, an evangelism and discipleship ministry of OMS, churches were growing and the need for theologically trained pastors was growing with them!

The vision for EVBS was to develop both vocational and theological training for local pastors, church planters, and evangelists for the many small churches in northern Haiti. In 2000, after 33 years of equipping hundreds of local churches with theologically trained leaders, the school became Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti. The vision for the rebranding of the school was to offer undergraduate and graduate-level theological training for an ever-growing Haitian church.

Today, Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti is among the top 10 theological schools in the Caribbean and has one of the premier graduate programs among Caribbean theological schools. EBS has also partnered with Indiana Wesleyan University to deliver a masters in Theological Studies to Haitian students. The current enrollment at EBS is approximately 110 students with a mostly Haitian, fully credentialed faculty.

The following have been a direct result of the strategic partnership between EBS and OMS:

1. EBS has maintained its Wesleyan-holiness distinctive within its curriculum and training programs. Even today, EBS is one of only three theological schools in Haiti with a Wesleyan-holiness profile. Thanks to OMS, EBS believes that the best of the Gospel is the rest of the Gospel. This emphasis at EBS means the promotion of the transformation of moral character that is a necessary result of conversion (sanctification and discipleship development).

2. Because of EBS’s relationship with OMS, there is a continued emphasis on church planting throughout EBS training programs. In fact, approximately 40 percent of graduates go into some sort of church-planting ministry.

3. OMS has empowered the development of Christ-like leaders for the church in Haiti through providing highly credentialed faculty to teach intensive courses four times a year on the campus.

4. OMS has been a driving force in helping EBS raise funds for many development projects. In 2010, EBS relocated to a brand new, state-of-the-art campus five miles from its original location. Without OMS, this would not have been possible.

Without OMS, EBS would not exist today. Furthermore, EBS is one of dozens of schools with OMS’ fingerprints all over it. This is the business of the development of leaders for the global church. This is the business of Theological Education at OMS.

By Matt Ayars, rector and professor at EBS


To learn more about EBS and Haiti, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HaFJ8w50IE&feature=youtu.be

Tags: seminary, theological education, haiti, emmaus biblical seminary, church planting,

​Ministering to the TE Disciples

August 3 2017

What do you need? How can the One Mission Society Theological Education (TE) team best support and assist you in your ministry? These were the key questions I asked the OMS national and missionary leaders from Across Europe early in 2016. Their answers: 1) training in discipleship and 2) opportunities for fellowship with OMS European colleagues.

Armed with that information, we planned a special conference in the fall of 2016. With a starting budget of “two fish and five loaves” and the assurance that God had given the vision, plans were put in motion to invite a team from the Inspire Movement to lead a seminar on discipleship in Manchester, UK in May 2017.

And God provided over and over.

From November through May, those attending took turns calling one another to prayer through weekly emails that went out in English, Spanish, and French. Conference attendees came from Russia, Israel, Spain, Estonia, Ukraine, France, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland, Wales, and the U.S.

From May 8-11, along with the team from the Inspire Movement, we learned, practiced, and experienced discipleship. We discussed how we could contextualize the concepts and practices in our unique ministry contexts, and we fellowshipped, worshiped, and prayed together.

Here are a few of the take aways:

I think that the greatest blessing to me was spending time with fellow coworkers in the region.
I was blessed by being part of a team.
Meeting up with my European colleagues for the first time was just wonderful.
I loved the prayer time on the last night where we prayed as a group for one another's prayer concerns.

During the conference, God helped me to see the answers to some questions about my further ministry to him.
The theme of the seminar was very important for me. I think that the principles of deep communication in threes are applicable in our ministry to pastors of Blagovest Association and to members of the churches.
For me personally, having the affirmation from Inspire to focus on discipleship was very affirming and encouraged me that we're heading in the right direction.
The necessity, practicality, and simplicity of joining together as disciples in the name of Jesus.
I need to be a disciple before I can hope to make any.

Sometimes, the members of the body longing to be equipped for ministry are those who are already serving in leadership. The OMS Theological Education team desires to serve and support both those who are in leadership, as well as those who are in the beginning stages of their ministry leadership journey. Resources are needed to bring or send qualified instructors and practitioners, to purchase transportation tickets, and to provide lodging so that Christian workers come away for a time of refreshment, renewal, and mutual care for one another. Reading the take aways, we give thanks to God for the opportunity to ministry to the expressed needs of these precious men and women serving Christ in Europe.

By Colleen Fitch, OMS Regional Consultant for Europe, Theological Education Department



To give to the Leadership Discipleship and Development ministry fund, click here.

Tags: discipleship, theological education team, leadership training,

​Evangelism: Intimidating, Yet Beautiful

July 21 2017

Let’s be honest, sharing the Gospel is intimidating. Why? Just as public speaking causes great anxiety for many people across the nations so does evangelism. This fear may derive from an innate desire to be liked among our fellow humans. Sometimes, we have to receive a little push out of our comfort zone to overcome this fear.

That is what it took for me. God pushed me out of my comfort zone by sending me on a short-term mission trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti, where I participated in door-to-door evangelism in a rural village with no electricity or running water, but with a rich voodoo presence. As the team prepared to go out, fear and anxiety took the lead in our minds. I could tell from the facial expressions of my teammates that I wasn’t the only who felt ill equipped and a little shaky when thinking about confronting a witch doctor with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We met with the local pastor in this rural village, went over the evangelism technique we were to use, prayed together, and then set out on our mission. The visit to the first home was a little rough. My partner and I equally had no clue what to say. Despite the brief evangelism overview prior to going out, we had no true training or preparation to “properly” share the Gospel. I kept frantically praying in the back of my mind for the Spirit to speak through me, but was met with what felt like silence from the Lord. As we approached the fifth house, I felt the Spirit nudge me saying, “Just share what I have done in your life, like Paul did.” So, I told my partner to give the presentation of the Gospel, and I would share my testimony.

We greeted the five boys who were sitting outside of the home, and I felt the Lord with me. I knew he was going to do something miraculous. Even though there was a language and cultural barrier, as I shared my testimony, I could see one boy, who seemed to be the leader of the group, genuinely connected with my story. His name is Johnny. The Lord clearly drew my attention toward him, which set him apart from the group. When I was done sharing, I simply asked if they would like to have a story of transformation similar to mine by giving their life to Jesus. They all said yes! As we said the prayer of repentance, all the boys, except Johnny, slowly stopped repeating the words in the prayer. Later, we walked by the house on our way back to the church and Johnny was eagerly listening the Resounding Hope radio we gave him. This radio, fix-tuned to OMS’ Radio 4VEH radio station and downloaded with an audio Bible in Creole, serves as a wonderful discipling tool because most Haitians who live in rural areas are illiterate, so cannot read the Bible. I am excited for what God has in store for Johnny! I know he will do great things for God in his village.

This trip has taught me that sharing my testimony is completely essential in the light of eternity, and although it may be a little intimidating, when given to the Lord, it is absolutely empowering and beautiful. I have returned from Haiti with a fiery passion to share what God has done and is doing in my life with those I come in contact with daily. You can make a difference where you are right now with what God has given you. I exhort you to not let fear cause you to hide God’s greatness. The power and transformation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not come from any evangelism training or knowledge but purely from the Spirit of the living God. He deserves to be shared with your neighbor, parents, kids, that woman in the grocery store, that man on the street, and with all people. So today, pray that God would help you share his greatness with all those around you, even through your weakness, fear, and anxiety.

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” ~1 Corinthians 2:1-5

By Taylor Logsdon, OMS Communications and Marketing Team

Tags: haiti, evangelism, radio 4veh, fear, short-term missions,

Passion for the Lost

July 18 2017

“I cannot think that God’s heart can be satisfied with the salvation of just a few when his great heart yearns over the millions.” ~Charles Cowman, cofounder of One Mission Society

Charles Cowman wrote these powerful words years ago, but they still ring true in OMS today. Aligning with our Billion.Global Vision, we are not content merely reaching just a few. We know that God's heart yearns to be known and loved by everyone. So, we continue to press forward in our vision to reach at least one billion people with the Gospel by July 2026.

To accomplish this vision, prayer is key. Prayer allows us to grow together and, in turn, grow the body of Christ. Prayer allows us to remain within the parameters of what we believe aligns with God's vision.

How can you be a part of fulfilling the vision?

You can pray. Prayer is powerful, and it is at the center of everything we do.

We are fully aware that we cannot achieve our goals without complete dependence on God, the one who is ultimately in charge of this vision. Pray that we are filled with zeal for the Lord, that we remember that this vision is not about us, and that we give ultimate control and glory to God.

In the fourth century, there was a man named St. Ephrem who lived in Syria, and he wrote this prayer which reaches to our core:

“O Lord and master of my life, take from me the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of purity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant. Yea, O Lord and king, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.”

If we are serious about working together to give at least a billion people the opportunity to hear, understand, and believe the Good News of Jesus Christ, we must share this prayer. We must pray for purity, humility, patience, and love; we must pray that we don’t make ourselves the center of what God is doing. May we not only pray this, but also experience God’s enablement to live it!

With a vision this size, we must rely on the only one who can make it a reality. And, by the grace of God, we will continue until one billion people have heard the Good News of the Gospel.

By Bob Fetherlin, One Mission Society President

Tags: prayer, billion.global vision, vision, outreach, passion for lost,

Working Together Toward the Billion Vision

July 7 2017

There are 7 billion people in the world, yet only 2.4 billion people know Christ.

How will we give at least one billion people the opportunity to hear and believe the Good News that Christ promises by 2026? What we know for sure is that we will not and cannot accomplish it alone. It will take everyone working in unity to complete this God-sized vision.

Writer Jennifer Schuldt shares in Our Daily Bread the story of Nicholas Taylor, a man who was boarding a train in Perth, Australia, when his leg became wedged in the gap between the platform and the commuter car. Safety officials tried frantically to free him to no avail. Thinking quickly, they gathered about 50 passengers who lined up along the side of that car. On the count of three, they pushed against the train. Pushing in the same direction together, they shifted the weight of that massive train car just enough to free Taylor’s leg.

I tell this story to show how vital it is that we don't strive for this vision alone. In Ephesians 4:3, we are challenged “to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” It’s amazing what God’s people can do for his glory when they work together as one body, for one purpose, to spread the Gospel to one billion people. It's amazing how much more can be done together than alone.

With that, we pray for growth. The Billion.Global vision may have originated with OMS, but we are fully aware that this God-sized vision will not be accomplished without coming alongside partners like you. We want to see all believers from around the world engaged in this vision. With God's provision and empowerment, we truly believe that we can reach a billion people with the love of God.

Gratefully,

Bob Fetherlin, President, One Mission Society

Would you like to know more about how prayer fits into the Billion.Global Vision? Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg2raKNPF8k

Tags: vision, billion.global vision, reaching 1 billion, working together toward goal

​"I really hate ultimate frisbee, but …"

July 7 2017

Chelsea Long, a junior at the University of Missouri Columbia, is passionate about telling people's stories. With an emphasis in strategic communication and a love of theater, her special set of skills reveal a young woman who strives to share everyone's unique story. So it's no surprise that she decided to serve in the Communications and Marketing Department this summer with One Mission Society.

Chelsea grew up in a Christian home with a family of strong believers. She was plugged into church the minute she was born, she jokes, but when she was old enough to finally join the youth group, the beloved youth pastor left. Unfortunately, the new youth pastor focused more on growing numbers than growing the faith of the people [who] had been there." By her sophomore year in high school, Chelsea joined a new church and youth group where she happily connected with a great group of Christian friends. But, after several issues, the friend group dissolved only two years later, leaving Chelsea feeling isolated and alone, like she had no one to lean on or pour into her spiritual life.

When it came time to choose a university, Chelsea chose one that everyone warned was a huge party school, effectively causing her to worry about falling in with the wrong crowd of people. So, the minute she arrived on campus, she dedicated herself to finding a good group of Christian students. It just so happened that soon after her arrival, she was invited to play ultimate frisbee with a group of fellow Christians. Chelsea’s first thoughts were, “Yes, friends! Boo ultimate frisbee!” Despite the fact that she firmly hates ultimate frisbee, she went in order to invest in and cultivate relationships. She reflects that this group of friends has been instrumental in "building me up, strengthening my faith, and teaching me how to live out my faith, especially in a very secular school."

With the summer quickly approaching, Chelsea actively sought an internship that was either nonprofit or focused on ministry. This led her to accept a summer position with OMS, a decision she does not regret.

"OMS gives you great experience in your specific field of study, while also helping you build your faith while being surrounded by a great group of believers."


This is our fifth in a series of five blogs about our summer interns. We hope you enjoyed learning more about them. If you, or someone you know, is interested in an internship at OMS, email go@onemissionsociety.org.

Tags: summer internship, interns, communications, college intern, growing faith,

​No Small Thing

July 6 2017

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. . . Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” ~Heb. 10: 22a, 23.

As the first year of our 10-year vision is coming to an end, we praise God for his faithfulness. A goal to see at least one billion men and women gain the opportunity to hear, understand, and believe the Good News of Jesus Christ is no small vision. It is a vision that requires bold and unwavering faith; it is a vision that requires action.

We live in a society that is content to let things be, to not cause problems, and be tolerant. With the magnitude of distractions that are thrown our way every day, maintaining a firm faith that does not waver is no small challenge. Being an intentional witness can become a challenge for many Christians because of the numerous distractions we find ourselves facing and the rejection we fear we will receive from the few people who do seem to listen. But the answer is not to remain silent, the answer is to pick up our swords and fight for this vision.

One billion people will not hear about the Gospel if we settle for being content.

In spite of the difficult and testing circumstances that we know will be encountered, because we have an enemy who doesn't want our vision accomplished, I pray that we continue to be people of unwavering faith. The enemy wants our vision to fail, but we have a God who is far more powerful than any enemy who wants the Billion.Global Vision to succeed. Prayer is powerful, and prayer is key to achieving the vision of reaching at least one billion people by the year 2026.

Will you join us in prayer for this visions' success and growth?

By Bob Fetherlin, President of One Mission Society

Go to Billion.Global to become a part of the movement or to sign up to receive monthly prayer updates.

Tags: billion.global vision, vision, reaching the lost, one opportunity

Finding Her Identity: Summer Intern Grows in Christ

June 30 2017

"I definitely knew about the Bible, grew up with it, [and] was familiar with it, but it wasn't until the end of high school that my faith became personal."

Sierra Steffen, a senior at Purdue University majoring in organizational leadership, is excited to figure out what it looks like to combine everyday work with personal spiritual growth while serving with the Communications and Marketing Department this summer.

Sierra grew up in a home that put God first, but it took her years to recognize that she wasn't fully putting her identity in Christ.

On the evening of her high school graduation, she found herself looking at her pictures, plaques, and trophies, everything she had put her identity into in high school, and she felt empty. She k new she needed to place her identity into something, or more appropriately someone, who was permanent. She counts herself fortunate that she grew up in a household where she knew that Jesus was the answer. Jesus was who her identity should be founded in, so it was on that night that she gave her life to the Lord.

When she felt God calling her to Purdue, she was surprised because it wasn't the type of school she had previously considered. But, God had a plan that involved getting plugged into a good youth group. She reflects on this calling with a laugh now because it has given her "A lot of opportunities to witness to people on campus."

The first summer after her freshman year, Sierra interned in a big city, and she hoped to do something similar after her sophomore year. She wanted to achieve bigger and better things, but she had to come to terms with the fact that God was calling her home for the summer. "God totally changed my heart about going home for the summer. He led me home and closed some doors to make it very clear that's where he wanted me. Looking back, it's so neat to see that he needed me home that summer."

Knowing that God's will mattered most, she fully relied on him while trying to figure out where to go and what to do for this current summer. "I really prayed that his will would be done, and that I would be where he wanted me." Accepting where that would be was hard, but "He definitely knows what's best, and he led me to One Mission Society."

And, with every creative meeting, deep conversation, and coffee break that makes you hold your stomach with laughter, she is reaffirmed of her decision to serve with OMS.

"You're part of the Great Commission here."

Tags: internship, marketing, summer, oms, spiritual growth, communications intern,