Editor's Note: Pavel Ryndich is a pastor in the village of Bor, near Nizhnii Novgorod, Russia. Averaging 300 in weekly attendance, this Pentecostal congregation has planted two sister churches in Russia and one in Germany and anticipates launching another in Nizhnii Novgorod in the near future. Nizhnii Novgorod native Pavel Ryndich came out of a life of drinking, drugs, and violence. When he became a Christian he shared his radical change of heart with his addicted friends, who began meeting together with him on a regular basis. His congregation today is composed primarily of new converts from the drug culture. The same is the case for the new church fellowship he established among Russian-Germans and indigenous Germans in Saxony, Germany.
We recently lost the possibility to gather for Sunday services. The city government prohibited us as a cult because we are not Orthodox. At first this was a shock to me. I wondered how 200 people could serve God without a building! It is cold outside. But God always knows a way out. About a month and a half after the loss of our church building we began to conduct our services in cell groups. We are doing great. I thought it would be a disaster without Sunday services for the whole church. While in some ways we lost advantages, on the whole I think we have benefitted. Our people have become stronger and more active and they are more responsible and closer to each other. I did not know that the church not only can survive in such a situation (loss of the possibility to gather), but can even grow! It is incredible! Now we minister in the following way: I gather all the leaders of the church once a week and preach a sermon. Then they share this sermon with the cell groups in their Sunday services around the city. So every person in the church receives spiritual food. New people come and receive Jesus. What is also positive is that we lose fewer people among new believers because their cell group services offer more love and consideration and acceptance than large Sunday services. Also, now more people come to all-night prayer meetings. This brings me joy! The Lord is great. He turns my every stumbling block into a stepping stone.
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© 2002 East-West Church and Ministry Report