Lance & Megan's Blog

Church

July17

Some of you asked about what church is like and what the spiritual atmosphere is in Ukraine. I thought I would share a bit of what was told me this past week that may shed a little more light.

A friend was sharing how several churches came together for a conference in my town not long ago. A speaker was sharing on unity and was reading from the Bible on the topic when an elder stood up and asked “how can we talk about unity when half the men in this room are wearing short-sleeved shirts?”

Really?!

Another church in the city had a discussion on ‘how to pray.’ This was not about what to say, but how to stand and where your hands should be. They decided your hands should not be in the front nor behind you, they should be at your side with your head tilted slightly.

Seriously?!

My previous roommate visited the church across the street and knowing they were very strict on outer appearances she wore a long skirt, head covering, and no earrings. She thought surely a necklaces would be ok. Nope, the topic of the night was on the evils of jewelry and it was directed at her!

All of these instances are true and are unfortunately common in many churches. Ukraine is still a young country spiritually. They only received religious independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Prior to this atheism was encouraged and any religion was oppressed by the Soviets. When the Soviet Union fell, many people were not able to receive training on being a pastor. They were able to freely read the Bible now, but without any training it was interpreted however people wanted it to be. For example, several time in the Bible it talks about tucking your garment into your belt (2Kings 4:29, 2Kings 9:1, Acts 12:8), this is taken as you must never have your shirt untucked.

There are many churches that are not as strict as some, many are becoming more relaxed and free. There is a Hillsong church in Kiev and the church I attend is alright with wearing jeans. Even where churches may not be legalistic there is a lack of training or teaching for the congregation. I met a middle aged woman at our English club who had never read the Bible yet considered herself devout Orthodox. She was amazed at some of the verses we told her and wanted to know where they were in the Bible.

Many pastors are looking to connect with other pastors and gain further understanding and training. Biblical teaching is needed in many rural areas and cities where religion has a tight grip. I am grateful for the church I attend and am blessed by the missionaries who come here to plant churches. Continue to pray for eyes to be opened and for spiritual revelation to happen in the people.

posted under cultural, Ukraine

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