Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing
by Brad Horne
Our first few years on the field in Russia, I found a Russian national to work with and we held big evangelizations to start up a church quickly. Our first 5 years on the field, we were able to start 4 traditional churches that all still exist today, some 15-22 years later. Praise the Lord that these churches are still reaching people today! That is why we are starting new churches instead of being church growth specialists and helping the existing churches to grow. More churches do reach more people.
In 2002, we were kicked out of Russia. In 2003, we started another traditional church in Ukraine. Soon after that time, God spoke to me and convicted me of this fact. No where in the Bible does it say to go and start churches. But it does say to go and make disciples many times. This really hit me hard, because I was a church planter. That was my title with the IMB. What was I supposed to do? Not start churches? I wrestled with this for several weeks. God led me to making my first personal disciple in over 10 years. It was freeing, exhilarating, and very fulfilling.
I remember my first personal disciple and how we got started. His name was Kostya and he was a 19-year-old who had become a Christian about a year before, but never made the transition to getting involved in a church. This was all God, you know. He came up to me a couple of weeks after I had started praying to God that He would send me my first disciple. I really didn’t know where to look at that point. Kostya came up to me one day and asked me if I would like to read the Bible with him! Wow! As soon as I heard this, I knew God was answering my prayer.
Our first week, we agreed to read the Gospel of John. I was actually proud of myself for reading the whole Gospel of John in one week’s time. When I met with Kostya, he told me that he had read all of the Gospel of John, all of Acts, and some of 1 Corinthians. I was truly humbled by his incredible thirst for the Word of God. We were supposed to sow the Word abundantly in our hearts by reading 3 chapters of the Bible every day.
After meeting with Kostya for a couple of weeks, he asked me if he could invite his best friend. I enthusiastically replied with a “Yes”. Our group was growing.
This is how God moved me from planting churches to actually making disciples as well as planting churches.