Episode 051

Ukrainian Seminary Student, Church Planting, & Bold Evangelism

Mar 14, 2022

A Southern Seminary student in Louisville, Kentucky is keeping a close eye on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. God called Michael and Traci Byrd to return to St. Louis and plant Faith Community Bible Church. And Jayson Larson encourages people to resist the fear they may face when sharing their faith.


Southern Seminary student from Irpin, Ukraine

A Southern Seminary student in Louisville, Kentucky is keeping a close eye on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Vlad Hruntkovskyi grew up in Ukraine and many of his closest family members are still there. His father is a pastor and his family is helping to lead Irpin Bible Church. The church is connected in partnership with Carmel Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.

“The reality of this conflict is very severe and very real,” Hruntkovskyi said. “What is being portrayed in the American media is true; it’s not an exaggeration. It is as bad as they say it is.”

Relief efforts from the church include assisting in the evacuation process for those fleeing as well as providing church members and civilians with food and shelter in the church basement.

To learn how you can help with relief efforts visit SendRelief.org.

Church planters reaching St. Louis

More than a decade ago, Michael and Traci Byrd moved out of a rough inner-city neighborhood in St. Louis, swearing they’d never go back.

But God called them to return and plant Faith Community Bible Church. Their mission is to care for people who feel abandoned, Michael said. The neighborhood, which is 95% African-American, has a high poverty rate, a high crime rate, and mostly single-parent homes.

By canvassing the community, the Byrds quickly found their assumptions of needs were different from reality. Building relationships over shared meals, offering group cooking lessons and even trips to the grocery store have become pathways to meeting needs and discipling new believers. And now Faith Community Bible Church has expanded to a second campus.

“All people have the same heart condition in small towns and in the big urban centers,” Michael said. “We all need the same Jesus.”

The Byrds pray the Lord will continue to open hearts to the Gospel as they serve in St. Louis.

Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

No need to fear evangelism

In a First Person piece on Baptist Press, Texas Baptist Jayson Larson encourages people to resist the fear they may face when sharing their faith.

Larson acknowledges that it might be intimidating to engage someone about Jesus Christ, but he says there are some ways we can overcome our fears.

First, he encourages people to pray. He says Christians should ask God for courage to be obedient and to ask God to give them opportunities to share.

He also encourages people to prepare to share their faith.

The more you people view life through a spiritual lens, the more you’ll equip them to dwell in the peace Christ promises when the next storm comes.

I believe there’s a heavy guilt carried daily not only by followers of Jesus, but also by pastors and church leaders who feel like they’ve missed the mark when it comes to evangelism. No matter what has happened in the past, God will put people all around you today who need to meet Jesus.

Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.

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