The History of Protestant Churches in Belarus
Protestantism is one of the traditional religious branches in Belarus. Therefore it cannot be considered outside of the history of the Belarusian statehood and culture. Protestant Christians have made a great contribution to the economic, social and moral development of their native country.
Religious trends, the faith codes of which were similar to those that later constituted the Protestant doctrine, began to appear long before the Reformation in Russia and Belarus.
Having arisen in Europe in the first quarter of the 16 th century, Protestantism quickly became one of three largest Christian denominations alongside with Russian Orthodoxy and Catholicism. By the middle of the same 16 th century Protestants had already also appeared in the Great Principality of Lithuania (the territory of modern Belarus). The first representatives of this denomination on the territory of Belarus were foreign permanent residents – foreign merchants, experts, and also prisoners of war.
Historically Protestantism in Belarus was represented by various denominations. At the end of the 16 th century, alongside with Calvinists and Lutherans, the first reformers also appeared here. Newly sprung Protestant communities on the territory of modern Belarus were gradually obtaining their church buildings.
Protestants promoted the development of the Belarusian economy and the strengthening of the country’s defensibility. Not only they were engaged in trading, but they were also building factories and were engaged in the modernization and formation of a regular, strong army. Protestants have made a great impact on the development of education and culture.
In 1413 Jerome of Prague, a loyal supporter of the Czech reformer Jan Hus, was preaching the evangelical message about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and about the need of living by the God’s Word, the Bible, in Belarus. Already in a few decades the evangelical doctrine so was widely spread in our country, that in 1436 inquisition was established to oppose the Hussites. However it had not much success. We can see the signs of the Hussites’ activity in Belarus during the whole 15th century.
Jan Hus’ ideas made a great influence on the Belarusian first printer Francisk Skaryna, so that the united archimandrite Anastasy Seljaev, who lived in the beginning of the 17 th century, labeled him directly as “a Hussite heretic”.
Skaryna’s printing the Belarusian Bible in 1517, promoted the swift spreading of the evangelical doctrine. In 1535, in Slutsk, the plot of land for the construction of the first Lutheran church in Belarus was obtained. In 1539 Abraham Kulva, a Wittenberg university graduate, opened a Bible school for the children of magnates and gentry in Vilna.
In 1553 Nicolas Radzivill Chorny, the Chancellor of the Great Duchy of Lithuania and one of the richest magnates of Belarus, started openly professing Calvinism and founded Protestant churches in Brest, Vilna and Nyasvizh. Within several years the supporters of Reformation included such influential families as the Valovichi, Hlebovichi, Sapehi, Vishnyavetskie, Zyanovichi, Ahynskiye and other Belarusian magnates. The townspeople were also very active in accepting the evangelical doctrine. In the second half of the 16 th century there were about 300 evangelical churches founded in Belarus.
In the middle of the 16th century, the Reformation in Belarus reached such a level that it gives grounds to make conclusions of the Evangelical Church’s taking the leading position in the spiritual life of our country. The most of the political and intellectual elite of the 16 th century Belarus were either Protestant churches members, or strongly influenced by the reformators ideas. Among them were such key citizens as Nikolas Radzivill Rudy, Astaphey Valovich, Jan Kishka, Jan Hlebovich, Nikolas Darahastajski, Leo Sapeha, Andrey Volan, Vasily Tsyapinsky, Salamon Rysinski, Andrey Rymsha, Haljash Pelhrymouski, Tsyprian Basilic, etc.
The success of the Reformation caused positive changes in the life of the country. The 16th century is called the Golden Age, the best period in the history of Belarus. Evangelical Christians were among the founders and authors of the Second and Third Charters of the Great Duchy of Lithuania. The spread of the Biblical doctrine about salvation liberated the economic initiative of Belarusians. Due to the economic reforms which were carried out at the time, the country’s national income of increased in 4 times.
However in the beginning of the 17th century, the Evangelical Church in Belarus could not resist the Counter-Reformation Movement and began to quickly lose its positions. In these difficult circumstances Slutsk lands became the place of refuge for the Evangelical Church. In 1617, the Calvinist school, the oldest educational institution in Belarus, was founded in Slutsk. For 300 years of its existence Slutsk Grammar School produced a great multitude of scientific and church figures for Belarus. Among them the inventor of today’s Cyrillic font Illya Kapievich, philosopher and poet Jan Bialbotsky, writers Alherd Abukhovich, Anton Piatkevich, scholar of Slavonics Zarijan Dalenha-Hadakousky, physician Anton Krasousky, astronomer Vitald Tsesarsky, politician and patron of art Edward Vajnilovich.
In the middle of the 19 th century a new stage in the development of Evangelical Movement began in Belarus. In the cities and villages of East Belarus Baptist churches began to appear. The first of them was the church in Ut village of Gomel region. In 1888 Baptist services began to be held in Vitebsk, and in 1905 in Minsk.
In 1920s Evangelical revival broke out in the Western Byelorussia. Within one decade there appeared about 200 Baptist and Pentecostal churches. In 1926 Luka Dzekut-Malej, a pastor from Brest, started printing New Testament the Belarusian language, and in 1931 the full text of the New Testament and Psalms appeared in Luka Dzekul-Malej and Anton Lutskevich’s translation.
In spite of the fact that the Protestant churches in our land were prosecuted their number was constantly growing. By 1917 in Belarus there had been about 200 thousand local Belarusian Protestants. Many of them were Protestants in several generations already.
Although the main Church and the authorities attitude towards Evangelicals was rather hard, Protestants always remained a part of the society and shared all ups and downs with their country. Belarusian Protestants paid most attention to spiritual issues, but were also involved in charitable work. For instance, during World War I they opened hospitals for the wounded, gathered finances for their equipment and the maintenance, for the wounded and the families of the victims. Many Protestants fought in the field army.
After the Revolution of 1917 they took an active part in the social life of the country: founded collective farms based on Christian principles, promoted moral values, economic efficiency of fair and honest work, and a sober way of life.
The end of the 1920s became a time of trials for the Protestants of our country: they underwent most severe reprisals and persecutions. In spite of it during World War II Protestants acted as true citizens of their Motherland. Heroic work at home front and participation in military actions, praying for the country – such was the contribution of the Protestant Christians to the struggle of saving the country during those hard years. Despite of their circumstances becoming more favorable in 1940s, Protestants were still persecuted and limited in church activity to the end of the 1980s.
One of the most serious restrictions which were imposed on Protestant Christians together with the representatives of other religious trends in the Soviet period was the prohibition of any forms of social activity, including charity.
In 1945 because of the pressure of the Soviet authorities, some of the churches had to work illegally. Despite of the raging atheism policies carried out by the USSR authorities, the Evangelical Church not only has not been destroyed, but even continued to grow.
Disintegration of the USSR and Belarus gaining her independence have opened new opportunities for the preaching of the Gospel. The following organizations began to function as independent affiliations – the Union of Baptist Evangelical Christians, the Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals), Affiliation of Full-Gospel Christian Communities, Adventists of the Seventh Day Conference.
Since 1990s, in last years of the existence of the USSR and after the foundation of the new independent state of Belarus, the Belarusian Protestant churches have eagerly joined the public life of the country. In the last years there many social programs directed on rendering assistance to the deprived, physically challenged and other unprotected strata of society have been conducted. Children, orphaned children and children of Chernobyl are given aid, rehabilitation centers for alcohol and drug addicts are opened.
As of January 1, 2004 there are 977 communities of Evangelical Christians which unite more than 100 thousand believers, registered in Belarus.
Our Doctrinal Statement
We believe in one God, Maker of all things and being in Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, became incarnate, was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
We believe in the resurrection of the dead, the eternal happiness of the saved, and the eternal punishment of the lost.
We believe in personal salvation of the believers through the shed blood of Christ.
We believe in the Bible, in its entirety, to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and conduct.
We believe in divine healing, through our faith, and healing is included in the Atonement.
We believe in the Christian’s hope – the imminent, personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe in intensive world evangelization and missionary work in accordance with the Great Commission, with signs following.
We believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance (Acts 2:4) from the new birth, and in the nine gifts of the Spirit, listed in 1 Corinthians 12, as now available to believers.
We believe in sanctification by the blood of Christ, in personal holiness of the heart and life.
Another Full Gospel church believes
We believe the Full Gospel includes the proclamation of both the eternal power of Calvary and the potential power of Pentecost; the baptizing Power of Jesus Christ for salvation because of Calvary and the filling/controlling power of the Holy Ghost for service and holy victorious living because of Pentecost. (Acts 20:17,1:8).
We believe in the perpetuity and continuing ecclesiastical value of all spiritual gifts for the edification of believers and the Body of Christ until the end of this church age is consummated by the glorious event; the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 12:14 , 13:10 , Romans 12:3-7, Ephesians 4:11-12).
We believe in the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit and His present day ministry to believers, which includes the sovereign distribution of Spiritual Gifts to believers for empowerment for service in the contemporary church. (I Corinthians 12).
We believe in Jesus Christ as the sovereign giver of Spiritual Gifts to the church. We believe that Spiritual Gifts are given for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ and are given without regard to ethnicity, social class or gender. (Ephesians 4:7-12, Galatians 3:26-28).
We believe in the autonomy of the local church as an independent entity with regard to matters of government, polity operation and discipline. (I Corinthians 5:5, I Thessalonians 5:21, II Thessalonians 3:6,14-15, Acts 6:3-5, 11:22, 14:23, Titus 1:5).
We believe in the value of biblical terminology of leadership in the contemporary church: Bishop, Overseer, Pastor, Elder, Minister and Deacon. We believe that all of these designations are for servant-leaders. (Jeremiah 3:15 , Acts 20:28 , II Corinthians 6:4, I Timothy 3:1-7).
We believe in the formal, intentional praise and worship of almighty God as a proper spirit-led corporate acknowledgement and response to His person and work. (Psalms 46-50, John 4:23).
We believe in Jesus Christ as the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit. Whereby He, by means of the Holy Spirit, brings men and women at salvation into relationship with Himself and His Body, the church. Believers are never commanded to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. It is in fact the Baptism of the Holy Ghost that makes one part of the Body of Christ. All believers have been baptized by Christ with the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 3:11, John 1:33, I Corinthians 12:13).
We believe in the dwelling of the Holy Ghost for all Christians. It is in fact, this indwelling of the Holy Ghost that verifies and validates the believer as a part of the Body of Christ, for He only indwells believers (Romans 8:14-27).
We believe the spirit-filled life as desirable, valuable and an issue of obedience for all believers who are commanded to be filled with the Holy Ghost. We acknowledge that within the Body of Christ, the term “filled” with the Holy Ghost is often used interchangeably with the term “Baptism of the Holy Ghost”. The controlling presence and power of the Holy Ghost as a result of the alternation of terms. We believe it is the will and command of God that every believer be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18).
We believe all believers are exhorted to be filled, walk in, be led by and live in the power of the Holy Ghost. (Ephesians 5:18 , Galatians 5:16, 18, 25).
We believe that it is God’s desire that all believers live their lives under the control of or being continuously filled with the Holy Ghost. We believe there are many fillings and there is to be an ongoing filling ministry of the Spirit in the life of the believer for empowerment to effectively and victoriously live a life that glorifies God. (Acts 1:8, 2:4, 3:10, 4:8, 4:31).
We believe the Holy Ghost fills or empowers believers for service in the Kingdom of God . Being filled with the Holy Ghost is the result of continuing submission to Divine power and control. (Acts 1:8, Ephesians 5:18).
We believe all believers are baptized with the Holy Ghost and all believers “should be” filled with the Holy Ghost. (I Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 5:18).
We believe in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and the filling of the Holy Ghost is a distinct, separate, valid and valuable ministry of the Holy Ghost, which may occur simultaneously at salvation. Being filled with the Holy Ghost may and should occur subsequent to salvation in obedience to biblical exhortation. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost occurs once and for all, at salvation. Being filled with the Holy Ghost should not only be a continuous reality, but an ongoing characteristic of the believers consecrated holiness.
I. The meaning of the term “Full Gospel”
“Full Gospel” is literally taking the Bible and accepting fully and totally all that is in the Bible, to revitalize the faith and fullness of the Holy Spirit as was done in Pentecost. Full Gospel faith not only accepts the Gospel of salvation which Christ made complete as He was resurrected from the dead, but also believes in the release from physical illness and salvation for the cursed life.
II. The Seven Theological Foundations of the Full Gospel
1. Faith in the Cross on Calvary
Full Gospel faith refers to the acceptance and belief of Christ shedding His blood and dying for us to provide eternal salvation so that anyone who believes and accepts can be born again in Christ. Since salvation was made complete on the cross on Calvary , it is part of the foundation of the Full Gospel faith.
2. Faith in the Fullness of the Holy Spirit
It is the purpose and hope of Full Gospel theology to bring back the faith of the early church Christians, the faith which clearly reflected the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
3. Faith in the Spreading of the Gospel to All the World
Those who are born again through the redemption of the cross of Jesus Christ and have received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, will naturally find their faith growing and filling them with a desire to witness to others.
4. Faith in the Good God
Full Gospel Faith places absolute faith, in a good God, the God of love Who not only provided the salvation for us, but continues to bless us.
5. Faith in Christ Who Carries Our Diseases
Full Gospel Faith firmly believes that Christ not only redeemed our spirits but also our bodies from the curse of disease, and that He continues to bestow that blessing on Christians today.
6. Faith in Christ Who Will Return
Full Gospel Faith is an eschatological faith which hopes for the New Heaven and the New Earth as stated in the Bible, and which allows the faithful to live in complete devotion to the Lord.
7. Faith in Sharing
Sharing faith refers to that which allows the faithful to first thank God for the blessings he has received, return that blessing through tithing, and then share the blessing with others. It is a redemptive, charitable faith.
Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers International
1. THE SCRIPTURES INSPIRED
The Bible is the inspired word of God, a revelation from God to man; the infallible rule of faith and conduct and is superior to conscience and reason, but not contrary to reason (II Tim. 3:15,16: I Pet. 2:2)
2. THE ONE TRUE GOD
The one true God has revealed himself as the eternally self-existent, self-revealed “I AM,” and has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association, i.e., as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29 ; Isa. 43:10,11; Matt. 28:19).
3. MAN, HIS FALL AND REDEMPTION
Man was created good and upright – for God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness,” “But man, by voluntary transgression fell and his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Gen. 1:26-31; 3:1-7; Rom. 5:12-21).
4. THE SALVATION OF MAN
a. Conditions to Salvation: The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, through the preaching of repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ; Man is saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and being justified by grace through faith, he becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 2:11, 3:5-7; Rom. 10:13-15; Luke 24:47).
b. The Evidence of Salvation: The inward evidence, to the believer of his salvation, is the direct witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16 ); the outward evidence to all men is a life to righteousness and true holiness.
5. BAPTISM IN WATER
The ordinance of baptism by burial with Christ should be observed as commanded in the Scriptures, by all who have really repented and in their hearts they have truly believed on Christ as Savior and Lord. In so doing, they have the body washed in pure water as an outward symbol of cleansing, while their heart has already been sprinkled with the blood of Christ as an inner cleansing; thus they declare to the world Jesus, and that they have also been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matt. 28:19; Acts 10:47,48; Rom. 6:4; Acts 20:21; Heb. 10:22)
6. THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper, consisting on the elements, bread and fruit of the vine, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4); a memorial of His suffering and death, and a prophecy of His coming (1 Cor. 11:26 ); and is enjoined on all believers “until He comes.”
7. THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER
All believers are entitled to, and should ardently expect, and earnestly seek, the promise of the Father, the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire, according to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the endowment of power for life and service, the bestowment of the Gifts and their uses in the world of the ministry (Luke 24:49); Acts 1:4; 1 Cor. 12:1-31). This wonderful experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth (Acts 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9).
8. THE EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY GHOST
The Baptism of the believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4). The speaking in tongues in this instance, is the same in essence as the gift of tongues (1 Cor.12:4, 10,28), but different in purpose and use.
9. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION
The Scriptures teach a life of Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. By the power of the Holy Ghost we are able to obey the command. “Be ye Holy, for I am Holy.” Entire Sanctification is the will of God for all believers, and should be earnestly pursued by walking in obedience to God’s Word (Heb. 12:14 ; I Peter 1:15; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 1 John 2:6)
10. THE CHURCH
The Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven (Eph. 1:22023; 2:22; Heb. 12:23)
11. THE MINISTRY AND EVANGELISM
A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for a twofold purpose: (1) theevangelism of the world and (2) the edifying of the body of Christ (Mark 16:15-20; Eph. 4:11-13).
12. DIVINE HEALING
Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers (Isa. 53:4; Matt. 8:16-17)
13.THE SECOND COMING / BLESSED HOPE
The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the blessed hope of the Church (1 Thess. 4:16-18; Rom. 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Rev. 11:15)
14. THE MILLENIAL REIGN OF JESUS
The revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, the salvation of national Israel , and the millennial reign of Christ on the earth is the scriptural promise and the world’s hope (2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 19:11-14; Rom. 11:26-27; Rev. 20:1-7).
15. THE LAKE OF FIRE
The devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, and whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, shall be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev. 19:20 ; 20:10-15).
16. THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH
We, “according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 peter 3:13 ; Rev. 21:22)
Origins of «New Life» Church
New Life Church is one of many Full Gospel churches of the city of Minsk that is developing dynamically, has a great vision and huge spiritual potential. It has more than 1000 people (members and regular attendees), not counting 307 children. Having begun in 1991 from a group of young people, now the church has 14 branch churches all over Belarus and beyond with total number of 560 members. The senior pastor of the New Life church is Slava Goncharenko.
The beginning of the church took place in a very unusual manner. Looking back, one can easily see how the heaven participated in its birth.
The understanding of church structure came after realized necessity to take care of those that were brought to personal relationship with Jesus.
The desire to care for those people was the driving force of a small group of young people that started the church.
The main idea was to have evangelistic outreaches in streets of Minsk which were taking place daily. The team of “pioneers” was initially made up of three people: Slava Goncharenko, his oldest brother Pavel and their friend Andrew Sidor.
The first people that came to know Jesus through their ministry were students of Economic University and Art College . They were the ones that began to participate in youth ministry in an old fashioned Pentecostal church. But very soon it became obvious that the leadership of the church was not able to understand intense feelings and radical views of new converts.
Youth meetings with praise and worship and preaching of the Word were being conducted for 2 months. Due to large number of people that began to attend those meetings there arose a need to rent a bigger facility. A decision was made to rent a cinema. To buy all tickets in order to have a service there, one month’ wage was necessary. At that time Slava was working in a hospital and his salary was used to rent that cinema. Lots of people came to participate in a service that took place in that cinema. It was something new for their mentality.
Material resources at that time were very scarce. A car (donated from Sweden ), and musical instruments, including one speaker and a guitar (a gift from a Norwegian missionary).
During the first service more than 50 people got saved. Raised funds covered the price to rent the cinema one more time. In this way, having no outside inflows, but only the desire to do the will of God, the newly formed group began to grow and during the next 6 months, using money that was left after the rent was paid, they began to buy very simply musical gear. Soon there were people in the church responsible for administrative work, praise and worship and other ministries.
6 months later people in the church began to call Slava Goncharenko their pastor and their gathering – church. But the official “birth” of the church was dated on June 17, 1992 when the first water baptism took place and first communion was served. By the end of that year the church had 300 members.
Soon there came a time to be officially recognized and the church was registered in the city of Minsk Executive council in the year of 1992.
The system of training of New Life Church represents a series of Bible schools, arranged in a special order to help each person at church follow the road from a new believer up to a home group leader.
All the Bible schools existing in our church we consider to be a single school, in which each subschool compiles a new grade (1st, 2nd grade, etc.).
The name of schools:
1. “Being Born Again” Seminar.
2. АВС School.
3. Elementary School.
4. Spiritual Growth School.
5. Ministry School.
“Being Born Again” Seminar
“Being Born Again” Seminar is a doctrine designed for all new believers at church, who have not had a real experience of their spiritual revival.
Being born again is the only door to the kingdom of God.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 3, it is written: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”.
The aim of the seminar is to help a new believer experience a deep intimate meeting with God, clearly understand what sin is and realize its consequences, and receive freedom of any kind of sorcery, curses, etc.
The seminar takes place once a month (announced in church bulletin).
Main aim of ABC to help people realize what happened to them after being born again, teach them real practical steps in order for them to grow spiritually and develop their personal relations with God.
By the end of training we expect each person to receive answers to questions on why all those things happened in his or her life, and see the spiritual roots of his or her problems.
He or she will also receive a personal revelation regarding his or her walk with God, it concerns his or her personal relations with God and how to work out his or her salvation.
The classes at school take place once a week on Mondays for two months.
1. Unconditional Love of God.
3. Man – Who is He?
4. Who We are in Christ.
6. What it Means to Follow Christ.
7. Renewal of Mind.
The aim of school is to reveal the predestination of the Church on the earth, and role of each person in it. To show the purpose for which God has created the Church.
After graduation from this school, each person should receive a revelation on what the Church is and of its predestination, and having identified himself or herself with it, ponder on his or her own place in the Body of Christ.
After receiving the certificate of graduation from this school, any person can become a member of “New Life” Church.
Classes at school take place once a week on Thursdays for two months.
1. The Purpose for Which God Created the Church.
2. How Jesus Builds His Church.
3. Rebellion. The Causes Of Rebellion.
4. Temptation in Church. Conflicts.
5. Sociability. Friendship. Loneliness.
6. The Lord’s Supper. Membership in Church.
7. Final Test on the Above Mentioned Material.
Spiritual Growth School
The purpose of school is to give a clear understanding of the basic Bible doctrines and to systematize the prior received knowledge
1. Who is God.
2. Who is Jesus.
3. Who is Holy Spirit.
4. Who is Man (Spirit, Soul, Body).
5. The Blood of Christ. Blood Covenant.
6. Righteousness and Grace.
7. Discipleship: Self-Discipline; Dedication.
8. System of Values (Reassessment) – Sanctity, the Fear of God, the Fruit of the Spirit.
9. Spiritual World (Angels, General Demonology, Authority of the Believer, Spiritual War).
10. Personal Relationship with God.
11. Prayer Life.
12. How to Hear the Voice of God.
13. Worship as Life Style. Praise.
15. The Word (Its Importance).
16. Studies in the Word.
17. Lures, Heresies.
18. Faith. Mentality of the Righteous.
19. How to Control Your Mentality.
20. What is Ministry and How Step into Your Calling.
21. Gifts of Service.
22. Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
23. Teocracy in Church.
24. Importance of Right Relations.
25. Christian Family.
26. Evangelism: Awakening and Growth of Church, Fellowship.
27. End-Times (“Doomsday”). Ascension of Church.
After graduation from this school, people will be more competent and mature spiritually (though maturity is not determined by knowledge of doctrines), ready to devote themselves for practical service in Church.
Classes at this school take place once a year for three months (February, March, April), three times a week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). During SGS students do not attend home groups.
This school is designed for those people who are ready to start a home group and become a leader. Admittance into school is based on the result of the interview. Necessary condition for admittance is to have at least one disciple (new believer) who attends either Church, or a home group. An ideal variant is when each student of MS registers an official home group by the end of the practical course.
Training consists of three stages and goes on each year in the period of October through April.
Ministry School consists of an initial, practical and basic courses.
Initial Course Topics:
1. Who is the Leader (Qualities, Skills, Essence of Service).
2. G12 System (Complete Training).
3. Evangelism (Practical Advice and Ideas).
4. How to Work with New Believers.
5. Home Group Work.
6. Gathering of a Home Group (Purposes and Preparation).
7. Basics of Counseling (Initial Skills of Working with People on Personal Level).
8. Planning (How to Arrange Your Life and Ministry Keeping the Main Priorities)
Training at the initial course of MS continues for two months (October, November) two times a week (Thursday, Friday). One day – theory, and one day – practice in hospital.
This course provides training for those students who had finished the initial course of the school.
The purpose of this course is to help each student to gather his disciples (from 5 to 12 people).
During practical course a group of students gathers once a week to evangelise, and once a month has a general meeting. The place and means of evangelism will be defined depending on the people studying.
The course continues for three months (December, January, February).
Basic course provides training for students who had registered a home group during the previous training, or have at least three or four disciples and can register a home group by the end of the course.
1. Working with Various Categories of People in a Home Group.
2. How to Form a Team.
3. How to Bring Up New Leaders.
4. How to Organize Evangelism at a Home Group Level.
5. Practical Demonology (Ministry of Setting Free).
6. Practical Counseling (How to Work with People Who Have Serious Issues).
G-12 System. Principles of Work
New Life Church adopted G-12 System for its development.
G-12 System is a system of discipleship, love and care about each other. Jesus had 12 disciples. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, a nd to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mark 3:14-15, KJ). Jesus has given His all to His disciples, and it was them that became the beginning of the great blessing for all people.
G-12 System is such a church model where each person is purposefully nurtured under spiritual protection and is viewed as a potential leader. This system provides the maximum saving of the achieved result in an outreach and moving in spiritual unity with the pastor.
The basic values of this system are
– paternity (spiritual protection);
– spiritual unity;
– training of leaders.
The most important priority of this model is that each member of a home group is viewed as a potential leader.G-12 System represents a strategy for the multiplication of leaders. In it we see an opportunity to fulfill the vision given by God to our church.
G-12 System is Biblically grounded. In the Gospel of John 15:1-7 it is written: ” I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”(KJ).
This Scripture reveals the following spiritual aspects and principles: the branch cannot live by itself, any branch that does not bring forth fruit is also cut off. In G-12 System, the greater serve the lesser as Jesus did – “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15, KJ). By being in fellowship with brothers and sisters, praying for their needs, caring about them, showing interest in their life the leader grows him- or herself. Obedience, humility, responsibility are those major qualities which are developed in a person through the existence of his or her 12 disciples. Each leader has an obligation to encourage and help his or her disciples to gather their twelve disciples. That is, each leader raises and trains the next twelve leaders.
G-12 System stops the spirit of delusion and backsliding, for everyone is in the same doctrine and anointing. In The Acts of the Apostles it is said: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42, KJ).
G-12 System Advantages
1. Everyone participates, including the pastor. In G-12 System the pastor is a part of the system of home groups (its base) and leads an “exemplary group”.
2. This system enables each member of church to reach the leadership position, regardless of the number of people attending the group. It allows everyone to begin their home group almost instantly.
3. Cell groups (home groups) do not split up, but are kept undivided. The advantage of this system is that a home group is like a family for a life time. When becoming leaders, home group attendees smoothly pass onto leaders’ group stage staying within the same group of people.
4. It is not necessary for a person to be strong (spiritually) to start a home group. He just simply needs to do the same what his or her group leader does.
5. In G-12 system a leader has twelve assistants, who he or she gives his or her all to equally. A leader delegates responsibility to the twelve disciples for fulfilling the necessary needs, purposes, and aims.
6. Each leader is concerned in every one of his or her twelve disciples becoming a successful leader as his or her own ministry depends on it.
G-12 System in Action
1. Everyone has two positions and two responsibilities. A person is a leader for those people who are a part of his or her home group and at the same time he or she also submits to his or her own leader and attends that leader’s home group. I.e., you have got a leader and you are a leader to someone. Each believer needs to be served to and to be serving others as well.
2. In G-12 the first in command are not appointed. They arise naturally as the number of the disciples is gradually growing.
3. Discipleship principle. It is the main principle of the system since it provides the quantitative growth of home groups and raising up of new leaders. Briefly, it is carried out in three steps: “See how I do it”, “Let’s do the same together”, “Do it yourself”.
4. The principle of transmission. A leader should be a 100 % conductor. It is the ability to accept a vision, anointing, doctrine from the pastor (or a higher leader) and to transmit it (put it into) to his or her people.
5. Verticality. G-12 System emphasizes the initiative of each leader. A leader can rise as high as his opportunities suffice. He or she can train as many new leaders as he or she wants to and as far as his or her time and talents permit. Vertical reposition happen according to a person’s fruit, horizontal relocation is done in complete freedom, each person can choose a leader him or herself.
6. Planning and the accountability. Leaders make up a work plan for a year and report of their work every month. It is an integral part of G-12 System. Terms and purposes are advantageous because they mobilize leaders to work successfully.
At the moment the pastor has twelve regional leaders in his team who have their own groups of leaders. The total number of home group leaders is 74 people.
There are also teenage home groups joined in a separate region named Unity.
This region unites about a hundred children of the church aging from 10 to 15 year olds. 12 male leaders are engaged in their spiritual upbringing. Children attend home groups, hold children’s services, go on interesting hikes and camps.
The purpose of these home groups:
In 3 – 4 years of our work we expect each teenager to feel significant and loved due to built up close and friendly relationship with his or her leader, be born again and baptized by the Holy Ghost, to grow to love God’s Word, Jesus and His church. During this time we want to plant a spirit of missions within them.
These teenage home groups became necessary as children quickly mature and require the relations at an individual level. The world in which they live should not “snatch” them, we should seize their lives. We should be fighting the good fight for their minds and souls, protecting them from arising ideology, new political organization B elarusian R epublican Youth Union.
Our aim is also to provide our children with the personal spiritual protection, to raise a generation of people full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, for the time they will live in is the preparation for global experiments.
They will be the main conquering force for Jesus. We should give a reply to their questions that are tough to answer in the modern and corrupted world and show them a good example of faith which will help them to withstand in hard days.
Spiritual inheritance and the family in which our pastor grew up
Slava Goncharenko was born on June 16, 1970 in the city of Minsk , in a family of evangelical believers. He is a third generation believer on his father’s side and forth on his mother’s.
His father, Leonid K. Goncharenko, was a minister and preached in a Pentecostal church. His mother, Maria, was helping her husband in his ministry and brought up their 12 children.
During the era of socialism Christians residing on the territory of the Former Soviet Union, suffered from constant pressure and persecution. In the year of 1961 Slava’s father was sentenced for 5 years in prison as a youth pastor. He was 22 years old at that time. Slava’s mother has not received her high school diploma since she was considered “someone with a different point of view”.
The church, where members their family belonged, was considered an underground one and underwent constant pressure from the government, but, despite all difficulties, was able to withstand all pressure from the outside.
Slava’s father, Leonid, practiced a model of a real church inside of his family structure. With its own praise and worship, prayers, and Bible studies, God was real in this family and worked incredible miracles. Father saw his children as ministers of the Gospel and they constantly heard about it.
Two persons – his father Leonid and Sunday school teacher Sergei Sharapa – have seriously impacted spiritual growth of the children: preaching of the Gospel became to them a necessity and their main passion.
On September 15, 1987 to the church that the Goncharenko family belonged to, there came Alexander Popov, pastor and participant of the renown Tallinn revival of the 1970-s, marked by great miracles. During services that Alexander Popov was holding in that Minsk church, people (mainly youngsters), experienced supernatural touch from God that defined their life’s direction. Those young people completely dedicated themselves to the Lord’s service and later on became full-time ministers. One of them was Slava Goncharenko.
Youth, that experienced revival during services of Alexander Popov, burned with passion to preach the Gospel in the streets of Minsk. It was the time of Communism’s collapse when doors to preach the Gospel flung open in the republics of the Soviet Union. Young Christians sensed people’s spiritual hunger and tried to meet it. With evangelistic outreaches they traveled to many cities, but sensed in their hearts a special bond with their own city and God’s calling to minister there.
Family of the pastor (story of his marriage)
Pastor Slava is married, has four fine daughters: Caroline, Esther, Milan and Angeline. His wife Irina, as considers Slava, is the greatest blessing for his life.
The history of their meeting is miracle and beautiful.
In 1991 Slava, together with church youth was involved in regular evangelistic meetings which were taking place weekly in the city of Bobruisk. These assemblies were happening in schools of the city and other places where the Christian youth was invited.
During one of those meetings Slava was approached by school’s director and who asked him to meet her daughter in Minsk, at that time the student of National Economical Institute. Her desire was to have Slava share his faith in Jesus with her daughter.
Having returned in Minsk, Slava stayed true to the promise made to her. During a meeting and short conversation two young students gave their life to Jesus. Next day (it was Sunday) both girls were invited by Slava to attend a service in his church. With them there was their friend Irina. After service Slava saw off girls up to a hostel, talking with them and answering their many questions. For three hours young people stood under a canopy, being hidden from a rain and continuing to talk. At the end of conversation Irina invited Jesus in her heart!
When she has opened eyes after the prayer of repentance that she said aloud, Slava, having looked in her eyes, shuddered. At that moment between them there was an invisible spiritual connection which developed for over 18 months.
Irina became a member of a small team of ministers and started to lead a cell group in a young church “New Life”.
Nobody knew about Irina’s mutual feelings and Slava’s. He could hide them for some time. Time was required to check it and surety of the choice. But one event has pushed Slava to make a step toward Irina: several nights in a row he saw the same dream about Irina`s marriage, but Irina got married not to him! After these dreams, Slava told her that she does not need to marry anyone else, but only him. Then they both admitted that love each other!!!
Wedding was to take place in two months. Active preparation for it began. The main problem was to find a minister who would do the wedding ceremony for the young couple. All was solved literally one week prior to the wedding: from Riga at request of Slava there arrived Andrew Kochkin, the assistant to the pastor of church “New generation” Alexey Ledjaev. He conducted the wedding.
Wedding was held on November, 28 1992. The marriage of the pastor was the first one in the new church. It became an enthusiastic example for all others.
Branches of «New Life» Church
Living Word Church in Borovlany village (population of 20000 people)
pastor Tamara Konstantinovna Yukho
(contacts via the main office of New Life Church)
New Life Church in Gorodishche village
pastor Gennady Latyshevich
(contacts via the main office of New Life Church)
New Life Church in Smolevichi town
(population of 17000 people)
pastor Mikhail Konopelkin
Smolevichi, P.O. Box 15, 222210.
The church’s aims: To bring the love and purity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the hearts of residing in this region.
To direct the activity of the church’s services on charity and mercy.
To provide Smolevichi with the necessary premises for church services, conferences and entertainment for the population of town (construction of a building).
To restore the town’s attractive appearance, making Smolevichi a place of cosiness and comfort.
Building up new Christian structures outside of Belarus (missions).
New Life Church in Zhodino town (population of 60000 people)
pastor Alexander Sidor
P.O.Box 520, 222163
New Life Church in Ivanovo town (population of 17000 people)
pastor Sergey Omelchuk
(contacts via the main office of New Life Church)
The church’s vision: 3500 born-again people.
New Life Church in Grodno city (population of 300000 people)
pastor Ilya Lovtsevich
P.O. Box 26, 230009
The Church’s vision is based on the Scriptures: Mark 16:15 , Mat thew 28:19-20, Eph.4:11-12 and is the following: to preach the Gospel, to train new believers and to set them free for ministry.
New Life Church in Stolbtsy town (population of 16000 people)
pastor Timur Savinykh
P.O. Box 3, 222660
The Church’s Vision: To win the quarter of the population in Stolbtsy and S tolbt sy District (the population is around 40000 people). To have at least one home group with the prospect of further development in each settlement (there are 211 of them). To educe missions outside of Belarus.
New Life Church in Lida city (population of 100000 people)
pastor Andrey Grinkevich
The Church’s Vision: Spreading the Gospel in Lida and its vicinities, serving the perishing world through preaching the Gospel, the acts of mercy, charity, mass-media.
New Life Church in Baki city (Azerbaijan)
pastor Lyudmila Ibragimova
(contacts via the main office of New Life Church)