February 2009

The main event of the month was our full-time staff retreat. (We have 10 persons on the payroll full-time currently and a couple of dozens of volunteers across the former Soviet Union. Specific jobs like books/papers/scripts translations cover design, work at camps, one-time projects, etc. part-timers do.)

Most full-time workers are managers in various areas of the ministry (One can see most of the faces at http://scienceandapologetics.com/en/index.php/our-team). At the big events (big conferences, camps, etc.) all our team works together, for the “landing parties” various sets of staff go together. During the routine daily work we meet all together each Monday morning for the devotion; at the beginning of every month for reports and ideas exchange; a couple of times a year – for the retreats or evaluation and planning conferences. The rest of the time departments work semi-autonomously, contacting and interacting with one another directly (decentralization and personal initiative is our key approach for the leadership development – whether they are staff, volunteers, or coordinators at regions).

The general management department (Science and Apologetics Center) takes care of ministry planning, strategies development and implementation, communication and coordination with the ministry partners, personnel training and development, resources management, legal paperwork, and, after all – publishing.

The networking and Distribution department (Eurasian Apologetics Society) develops a network of ministry coordinators in regions and takes care of volunteers’ training and children’s ministry curricula development, PR, and distribution of our materials to those who need them. Usually, we distribute about 100 books and 10 DVDs a month out of our office by mail. However, the number is times higher at the direct distribution during just one day of the event like “landing party” or a big conference. Our target audience – teachers, preachers, evangelists, students – all those who will use our resources for the Kingdom’s sake.

The media production department (Blagovest [Good News in Slavonic] Production Studio) produces media. Video producers are shooting the seminars, drama (we are working on children’s musicals now), short films, etc. The sound group records audio materials does voice editing for our videos and dubbing for the videos we translate. We are doing weekly broadcasts on the local TV as well as supply with video/audio materials for others who have access to the broadcast in former Soviet Union countries.

Internet ministry is developing pretty fast now as well. Establishing a new site, www.ScienceAndApologetics.COM, an exact mirror of the site www.scienceandapologetics.ORG provides reliable access to one or another for any visitor at any time. The sites are “passive ones” since they are databases/libraries mostly. A completely new endeavor is the Eurasian Apologetics Society Network multi-blog portal www.apolsoc.info. It is a decentralized testing field for the ideas and approaches of national apologists from all generations. The next internet ministry project to come is a Lingua Franca (“common language”) a youth social network http://linguafranca.su (the site is under the construction, and does not work yet) for developing common ground with youth subcultures.

The retreat was a great joy and encouragement for everybody. We made SWOT analyses of our team and the missionary field conditions and discussed the dreams, hopes, and priorities of our ministry. Our main goal is still to equip national churches for effective bible-rooted evangelism through worldview transformation. Our strategy approach involves recognizing local believers who are able to play a key role in effective change (“coordinators” as we call them), finding out the needs we could help with, and equipping them for the effective ministry of finding and equipping others.

Our Blagovest Production Studio has released two new short films (Episodes 5 and 6) from the ‘Simply Essential’ series (http://scienceandapologetics.com/en/index.php/multimedia) for a generation that was brought up on the TV commercial format. What makes Episode 5 ‘The Fittest’ special – is its plot is based on the actual account of our 10 years old subscribers (we train kids to be missionaries at their school to their peers and even to their teachers). When a biology teacher told that through the millions of years of the survival of the fittest amoebas evolved into dinosaurs, the boy asked: how come the fittest dinosaurs are extinct, but fewer fit amoebas are still alive? The teacher had no answer.

On the other hand, our video production department has completed a big project in partnership with Teaching Ministries International – a video version of the 30 hours study course “The Literature, History, and Worldview of Early Christianity and its Impact on Western Civilization: Jesus of Nazareth – the Central Figure of Western Civilization”.

At the same time a book “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? by James Kennedy, related to the topic of the course, was published finally. We got sample copies from the printer last week and going to get the entire print run this week. That publication is extremely important for our part of the world. Three generations of the Soviet Union were brainwashed with anti-Christian propaganda. Today both Christians and nonbelievers in our part of the world have a distorted understanding of the impact of the Church on history and culture. When the issue is raised, a traditional set of accusations (pretty valid ones often) comes up on the terrible things that were done in the name of the Church, such as the crusades, inquisition, etc. Unfortunately, most often believers go for the defense with reproachful replies, pointing out the horrors done by those who rejected the Word of God – the Commune of Paris terror, world wars, Holocaust, Gulag, the Pol Pot’s “death fields”, the slaughter at the Tiananmen Square and etc. In such a “look at yourself” style of the arguments exchange Christians, even when they have a leading position, defeat the opponent on points, getting rather a quantitative victory than a qualitative one. The book makes it very clear: the impact of Christianity on the world could not be reduced to inquisition and crusades. If Jesus had never been born, the “civilized world” of today would be lacking everything it is so proud of.

A new door for our ministry is opened – “Eden Radio” satellite broadcasting company has requested our audio materials (Creation apologetics books and programs) for broadcasting them through EB 9 and the Hot Bird 6,7,8 and 9 satellites. Please join our prayers for the Lord using that development for His glory.

Meanwhile, we are starting preparation for a great outreach event in Kyiv in May. Two years ago we organized a Creation Science Lectorium at ‘Planetarium’ conference center – Kyiv’s downtown headquarter of ‘Znaneye’ (‘The Knowledge’) State Enlightenment Society, the former greatest agent for communist / atheistic ideological brainwashing. It was a great precedent for the encouragement of Christians in other regions of the former Soviet Union to boldly confront the monopoly of naturalism/atheism ideology in education and social and political life.

Ahead of ‘Znaneye’, a Bible believer now (Praise the Lord!) has contacted our coordinator at Kyiv with the idea to use their facilities again to ‘celebrate’ the Year of Darwin (a big issue in both Western and Eastern Europe due to 200th Darwin’s birthday and 150’th birthday of his book). Here is the complex outreach project we came up with:

April 25 – May 24 – exposing population (3 millions) and visitors of Kiev to the facts that challenge atheistic naturalism and support veracity of Genesis through posters at every car of the city subway (the most popular way of transportation in downtown area) and at the subway stations walls with invitations to the events at Planetarium

May 9 – May 21, Planetarium.

10 am – 7 pm – Creation Science exhibition (displays with the evidences for the world supernatural origin, flood, Ice Age, etc.); book/videos sale; brochures and leaflets distribution

11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm – show the Creation Science documentaries

7 pm – 9.30 pm – seminars and open discussions May 16, Planetarium – round table ‘Origins in Education’

 May 23-24, Planetarium – conference ‘Biblical Paradigm in Science’

While November Ostrog Conference targeted the state system of the education establishment, this one is going to be the outreach mission mostly to challenge the public opinion. So – that is going to be the major project for our team to work on while I am away for the seminary (my last visit is at hand). Please pray for this event planning and preparation.