… How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – Romans 10.14-15
CALL TO SERVE CHRIST IN POLAND
Joseph & Oksana Sheremet
Julie, Sophia, and Victoria
Pastor since 1998
Master of Divinity, Master’s Seminary, California
Jesus told them: all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28.18-20).
At present, the countries of Western and Eastern Europe are recognized as a huge missionary field for the gospel. The reality is this: the people of Europe are in great need in terms of planting new churches and spreading the influence of the Good News, many areas and cities do not have evangelical churches, there is no preaching of the saving gospel; without Christ, millions of Europeans perish.
God gave our family to see a great need and an open door for evangelism in Europe. After a long time of prayer, reflection, research and consultation, we as a family accepted the call to go to Poland for a long-term ministry primarily among the Russian or Ukrainian people, and for also the local people. Why Poland? According to generally recognized statistics, this is one of the countries of Europe not reached by the Gospel most. Even though most Polish people consider themselves to be Catholic, they do not know the true gospel and Christ. No more than 0.3% of the inhabitants belong to churches where the message of salvation can be heard. Of the 2490 administrative regions of Poland, 2219 do not have evangelical churches. Also, now there are several million people from Ukraine who need the gospel. It is obvious that the harvest is plentiful …
By His mercy and grace, the Lord called me to the pastoral ministry more than twenty years ago. Being one of the pastors of Grace Family Church (gfchurch.com) for the last six years, I am responsible for the Discipleship Department and the Mission and Evangelism Department.
Since 2017, the Lord has drawn me to help missionaries in Europe supported by our church, as well as the Association of Slavic Churches (PCSBA). While visiting missionary families and learning about the state of the gospel, I saw a tremendous need for missionary service and church planting among the various peoples of Europe. During these missionary trips, the reality of the great need for trained ministers of the gospel was clearly revealed to me. Against this background, the words of Christ were often recalled: “…the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few… ” He uttered these words in the context of the reality of the screaming need for many people: ” Seeing the crowds of people, He took pity on them, that they were exhausted and scattered like sheep having no shepherd.” Reflection on these words of Scripture naturally brought to the heart the subsequent call of the Lord: ” So pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest ” (Luke 9.36-38).
Prayer for ministers of the gospel, for missionary families in the vast evangelistic fields of Europe, set my heart to reflect on my personal ministry. A few years after my salvation, the Lord called me to actively serve in the gospel in the area where I lived, in the small town of Khartsyzsk in eastern Ukraine. Since 1993, I have been actively involved in various forms of evangelism: Bible study groups for unbelievers, evangelistic meetings in various cultural centers, work with children in schools and boarding schools, children’s camps for children from non-Christian families, street evangelism, tent meetings for residents of our city, helping the poor and evangelizing for them, and many other similar forms of work in reaching people with the truth of the Gospel. In August 1996, my family and I became part of the team in the creation of a new church in one of the districts of our city. Two years later, in September 1998, we started a new missionary church in Zugres. In this church, I was ordained to the ministry of an evangelical elder and led the development team of this church. The grace of Christ acted in and through us, and within a year the church grew, and many unbelievers turned to God. By the time that I moved to the United States for further study of the Bible in late 1999, our church building was full, with more than 60 people attending general meetings.
All these memories came to my mind as I thought about the mission in Europe. Over the past time – more than two decades – the Lord has given me much of His grace in shaping my heart as the heart of His servant: God gave me a unique opportunity to receive a spiritual education in one of the best seminaries – Masters Seminary. During these years of serving Christ and His church in various places with various responsibilities, the Lord has repeatedly enriched me with blessed experience of service; during this time, He broke my heart in a special way and taught me genuine humility and the ability to love people with the love of Christ; during this time, God richly blessed our family – we raised two sons and three daughters, whom from the first days of their lives we dedicated to God and His kingdom. The Lord graciously continues to use us in His service and gives us boldness and striving to carry the Gospel to unsaved people.
The team of elders of our church took our desire and decision seriously. After a certain time of prayer and reflection, an analysis was made, an assessment was made and a decision was made regarding our desire. The pastors came to a unanimous agreement to bless us as a missionary family from the church for this ministry, while providing us with spiritual, pastoral and financial assistance. Now preparations are underway in various fields for moving to Warsaw, Poland.
Now, there is a clear understanding of what the concrete work of the first years of our stay in Poland will be. Given the involvement of our church in missionary work in this country, we were offered to accept service in the church in Warsaw, where our missionary has been working for several years. Expected goal: to strengthen and develop this church as a basic platform for evangelism and further planting of new churches in Poland, both among Ukrainian and Russian speakers, and among Poles. Today, when there is a war in Ukraine, several million refugees have found shelter and protection in Poland. At a time when the government and people of Poland are providing all possible care for their physical needs, it is extremely important to bring the living and soul-saving gospel to suffering people. These circumstances are a unique opportunity and in a special way open hearts to hear and receive God’s Word. Seeing the pain and suffering of Ukrainian refugees, the residents of Poland also warmly respond to the testimony of the Good News.
This project includes several important areas of development:
- Develop and strengthen a team of ministers within the church and further form teams for the formation of new churches in various places in Poland;
- To form a culture of personal evangelism as the natural atmosphere of the church;
- Continue and develop ministry among refugees from Ukraine;
- Develop learning processes for missionary church planting ministry; pay special attention to the teaching and practice of natural evangelism;
- Create a platform for the biblical formation and development of different levels of ministers;
- Establish a bible institute to promote the sound doctrine and practice of church leaders;
- Create a base to help other missionary churches in various areas of church ministry;
- To develop and practice good interchurch fellowship among ministers of the gospel within Poland with the prospect of covering all of Europe.
We are looking for those who could become our partners and partners in the ministry of the gospel. We understand that not many people can go to the mission field, but everyone can become a part of the ministry through participation in prayers and financial support.
Considering this call to service, we are in great need of your prayers. We ask you to pray a lot for us, we ask many to pray for our family in this work. Pray for all the above ministry needs.
God has called us to spread the gospel in Poland among Ukrainian, Russian and Polish speakers. After many years of ministry of the gospel, together with my family, we are moving to strengthen the missionary church in Warsaw and further the church planting ministry in Poland through organic outreach, discipleship and spiritual education for church leaders.
We plan to move in early 2023 (end of January)
• God’s guidance in every matter of preparing, moving, settling and starting a ministry;
• Wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the Gospel in Poland
• Adaptation to culture and language
• Spiritual and financial support for the family
• Building relationships with people on the spot
• Ministry among refugees from Ukraine and other countries
• Finance for ministry development
• Church meeting and office space
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