The United States is a land of immigrants. If you ask most people, they have some knowledge of their “immigrant” past. Close to 15% of the residents in big cities weren’t born in US; imagine if you take their children and grand children into consideration? Most families, in one way or another, have some connection to immigration.
That said, when most immigrants come, they start attending an “immigrant” church, where the native language is spoken. But, sooner or later, unless the church adopts to reach the vast, multi-ethnic community, the “immigrant” church splits up, and eventually shuts down, loosing most of their former members to regular, English-speaking congregations. Just ask any of the large, influential churches in the US, and they’ll tell you that a part of their growth is coming from Christian immigrants joining their congregations!
It is a similar situation with the Slavic immigrants, and immigrants from Asia, Central America, India, African countries, etc.
Many immigrant pastors and “potential” pastors join already established, english-speaking congregations and make a great impact on their congregations, like Jim Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle (his parents were of Ukrainian and Polish descent and they spoke a native language in their home growing up).
Though difficult, many “immigrant” pastors, with an accent and much prayer, eventually begin multi-ethnic, English speaking congregations in the US. Today in the US, many of such pastors are making a big impact, like Pastor Choco (Hispanic) of New Life in Chicago, and Pastor Eugene Cho (Korean) of Quest Church in Seattle.
Today, there are probably at least 400 Slavic/Russian/Ukrainian/Belorussian/Moldavian congregations in the United States. Many of them are still growing, but the growth is mostly due to immigration, church transfers and a high child birth rate. But, God is raising up a younger generation of Slavic leaders, who are longing to live missional not only oversees while on the missions trip, but here at home. I am aware of close to 20 of such pastors who have stepped out in faith, and have planted English speaking churches. (I will write out another blog post, where I list all the Slavic pastors I know who have planted English speaking congregations).
Recently, I connected with 10 of these pastors, and we did a Google Hangout together. Each pastor sharing their story, and some practical advice from their experience. I look forward to more of similar conversations with these men.
The 10 pastors that were on this Google Hangout were:
Russell Korets, City On A Hill Church, Kenmore WA
Andrey Khilchenko, City of Rain Church, Tacoma WA
Alex Klimchuk, New Life Church Sioux Falls, SD
Roman Trachuk, Church of Truth, Vancouver WA
Bogdan Kipko, Forward Church, Irvine, CA
Yuriy Senchenko, Choose Life Church, Fife WA
Roman Barabolkin, Arise Church, Atlanta, GE
Peter Kucher, Christian Worship Center, Chicago IL
Yevgeniy Kovalenko, House of the Gospel, Fresno CA
Vasiliy Stupin, Good News Church, Tacoma WA
You can watch the Google Hangout here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuT7TTpZfN4&feature=youtu.be