Movement leadership often use the IFES vision to intercede for their ministries. They pray that students would be transformed by the gospel, gathered into communities of disciples, impacting the university, society and church for Christ. However, in a sensitive country in Eurasia, impacting the church seemed impossible: local churches guard their young people carefully, to the extent that they would not allow them to study the Bible with a staff worker who is not from their church. Read the testimony of an intern who broke through this barrier, written by Paul, the general secretary:
“When a new intern moved to our city to join the team, the pastor from her home church recommended a particular fellowship. We had been praying God would open a door to this church but had not been able to make meaningful contact with them. When Sasha decided she wanted to settle there, we arranged to meet with the pastor and explain our ministry. We had long discussions about the relationship between an inter-church organisation and the local church, discussing his fears, but we did come to some level of understanding, and the opportunity to work with some of their youth in a limited way. This was very useful as he is the most influential senior pastor in our city. So, Sasha settled in the church and became a valued member.
One day, many months later, this pastor asked his young daughter what she was reading in her Bible. She was reading it but couldn’t remember what she read; it was just words that didn’t resonate. As a good father, this concerned him. As he asked around, he found that many people in his church read the Bible but didn’t understand it. He and his wife started to investigate this problem. Through internet searches they discovered a method called inductive Bible study, which helps people engage with and remember the text. At the next church leaders’ meeting he asked if anyone knew anything about inductive Bible study.
Sasha, our staff worker, explained that this was the foundation of our evangelism and discipleship. The pastor then invited her to run a weekly training course for all the church leaders using 2 Timothy with the plan that small group meetings would be based on inductive Bible study. She’s now running a repeat of the course for those who didn’t attend first time, and some of the small groups are using inductive Bible study for their meetings.
Subsequently, their pastor and several others from the church have wholeheartedly joined a training in expository preaching, run primarily for staff and students from our region, together with Langham Partnership. The Lord answered our prayers and opened the door for Sasha to impact the church for the glory of Christ!”
IFES seeks to be a blessing both to students and the churches they are involved with. Praise God for the way he used Sasha to lead others into a deeper study of Scripture. Pray with us this week:
- Pray that movements like this one would find more ways to build trust with churches in order to partner with them in reaching students.
- Pray for more staff like Sasha who are willing to do the long-term relationship building to be raised up and encouraged.
- Pray that IFES students and staff would continue to leverage their influence to bless the church and the university.