Pastors Friendships, Life and Ministry Amid Ukraine War & Reaching Mission Field in Your Neighborhood
No mass burning, no bricks flung through shop windows, no cars plowing through protestors. When a video leaked of Ahmaud Arbery shot down as he casually jogged through a mostly white suburb three years ago, protests were peaceful, especially in Arbery’s hometown of Brunswick, Ga. A year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, today marks a year of death, devastation, and upheaval even as airstrikes and explosions continue in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions. And, a recent survey done by Lifeway Research revealed that most evangelicals want to connect with their community.
No mass burning, no bricks flung through shop windows, no cars plowing through protestors. When a video leaked of Ahmaud Arbery shot down as he casually jogged through a mostly white suburb three years ago, protests were peaceful, especially in Arbery’s hometown of Brunswick, Ga.
On the third anniversary of Arbery’s murder, with three white men serving life sentences for killing him, pastors believe justice came amid peaceful outrage because of godly relationships already in place.
“Those who would be offended that a Black was in their white neighborhood, that is very little,” Chris Winford, a white pastor who leads First Baptist Church of Brunswick, told Baptist Press ahead of the Feb. 23 anniversary. “Those three men, they were the minority.”
Feb. 23 will forever be Ahmaud Arbery day in Georgia, by act of the Georgia General Assembly. The state has amended its vigilante justice law, barring bystanders and witnesses from making arrests. Georgia has since passed a hate crimes law, having been among only four states without such a law at the time of the murder.
A year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, today marks a year of death, devastation, and upheaval even as airstrikes and explosions continue in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions. Although an estimated 8 million Ukrainians have fled the country as refugees, at least 5 million more have been displaced from their homes, and tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict.
The Church’s tireless wartime ministry and relief efforts in Ukraine and in bordering countries have continue.. As Ukrainian resident Iryna Los recounts, churches, seminaries and other Christian ministries in Ukraine have united in their efforts to provide food, shelter and Gospel hope to millions.
Los is the chief of staff at the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary, she say they have testified to the presence and power of God in suffering and have helped the hurting, offering them love and hope in Jesus Christ.
Good News for Today is sponsored by The Voice of the Martyrs
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.
A recent survey done by Lifeway Research revealed that most evangelicals want to connect with their community. Most evangelicals trust the people in their community (76%), know many of their neighbors by name (67%), and seek out opportunities to talk to them (69%). Although the pandemic has limited interaction with others, evangelicals still care about their neighborhoods.
However, according to a survey completed by Lifeway Research before COVID-19, Protestant churchgoers rarely share the gospel with others. While most churchgoers (73%) pray at least once a month for opportunities to talk to others about Jesus, more than half (55%) had not talked to someone about Jesus in the past six months.
The quick tips for ways you can build relationships with your neighbors are:
* Sit on your front porch
* Open the front door – invite folks in for a visit
* Gather around the table – sharing a meal build relationships
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