PEACE and the Purpose Driven movement are making a tremendous impact across Russia thanks to foundations put in place during recent Saddleback missions trips. From June 1–19, Saddleback SHAPE Guides, Jill Gunter and Katrina Zepeda traveled to Moscow just one month after the locally-hosted Purpose Driven Church (PDC) Conference.
During that gathering, Saddleback’s Global PEACE partnering church in Moscow hosted over 240 pastors from 70 churches and six denominations to implement church health principles. Read the full story HERE.
Building on that momentum, Jill and Katrina later traveled to five churches in Zelenograd and St. Petersburg to provide PEACE Leader Training, SHAPE Guide Training, Small Group Training, and an overview of the PD Essentials Training.
In less than three weeks, they introduced Class 301/SHAPE and PEACE Leader Training steps 1-3. They also helped implement newly translated teaching materials. With access to these resources, church leaders were able to complete SHAPE Guide Training and can now take on their roles as “trainers of trainers.”
Currently PD’s Russian library is in the process of being built, with materials for Class 101, 201, and 301 already translated. A key mission of the recent PEACE trip was to test out these resources and verify that the methods are understandable in the Russian language and transferable in that culture.
“It was like seeing a wave across Russia,” says Jill, “So many lives are being transformed because of the PD April conference and the follow-up training. Churches committed to the PD paradigm are being asked by other churches to share their methods. It’s really blowing up!”
Several church leaders were humbled by the experience, asking how they warranted such valuable training for their leaders. Their enthusiasm and dedication to PD/PEACE concepts was not limited to a single demographic or denomination. Whether young or established, churches embraced the biblical foundations to build healthy churches together.
Since the April conference, several of the Russian churches have already implemented Classes 101 and 201, and were simply waiting for tools to begin Class 301/SHAPE. That’s why it was critical that Jill and Katrina stepped in to offer proper training and material for all five churches.
The results have been almost instantaneous. A young church in St. Petersburg just started teaching Class 301 in late June. The church is already balancing all five purposes, claiming it gave them a clear road map for spiritual structure.
Members of another church near Moscow have grabbed onto the PEACE Plan and are actively seeking opportunities to reach their community. Not only has it caused them to rethink local and global missions, but it has birthed a passion for change and transformation from the inside out.
“We’ve equipped these churches to be a local resource,” says Jill. “One pastor is helping translate PD Essentials into Russian, with a larger goal to train more pastors later this year. They all have gained theory from the PD conference, but now they want practice to continue with the PD multiplication model.”
This is just the beginning for PD and PEACE in Russia. In November, Pastor Steve Gladen will be traveling to Russia to host a Small Group Conference, making it the first time this foundational training has been taught in the country.
Perhaps one of the greatest seeds planted was in an Armenian pastor who witnessed this movement in Russia, and now is reaching out for training in his own country.
“It’s really just getting started,” says Jill. “Churches are connecting across denominations and are getting stronger in the process. I’m so excited to see what God’s going to do for Russia.”