MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Russia is under great concern of nation’s poverty and social degradation and their impact on children. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the situation of Russia's neediest children and youth a "national catastrophe and social priority Number One." And Vera Lekareva, a member of Russia's Parliament lamented, "Criminals, sexual predators and drug dealers have opened an insolent and merciless hunt on our children."
According to Assist News, at least three million of the nation's children are homeless, three percent living in under-funded childcare institutions run by the State, and 120,000 children serving time behind bars, the plight of Russia's children and youth is cause for grave concern, according to the Wheaton, Illinois-based Russian Ministries.
Russian Ministries report that National statisticians estimate 1,200,000 Russians have died from drug overdoses in the last ten years.
Under the direction of Sergey Rakhuba, vice president of Russian Ministries, they will have new focus on training young leaders more systematically for the nation’s children and youth outreach.
During the event, Rakhuba called on the world's Christians to "stand with us in reaching the next generation in Russia with the hope of Jesus Christ by training and equipping a young generation of leaders for this important outreach."
"Our goal is nothing less than to engage and transform the younger people of the former Soviet Union into tomorrow's Christian leaders there," says Russian Ministries president Anita Deyneka.
The ministry is planning to train and equip 1,875 to 2,5000 youth as the leaders to reach their own peers and to prepare themselves for future leadership in the church. Then they will be training other youth within their region during a two-year period. This will bring great impact on other youth through their ministries within 5 years by training five times more of young people than the number they started with.
"Next generation leaders are often first reached as children through camps, clubs, and humanitarian assistance," said Deyneka.
"A chain of blessing is forged as children who have come to Christ and grow in Him, become the Next Generation of young leaders. These young leaders have a deep longing to reach their communities with the life-changing power of Christ.
"As they are trained and churches are established, meeting needs within the community is a next-step element in transforming newer generations and society at large.
"We are providing training seminars, materials and other resources to equip young evangelists, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, camp counselors, children's and orphanage workers, and leaders in all areas of children's ministry to stimulate the growth and long-term stability of evangelical churches there."
Partner ministries working with Russian Ministries in this initiative include St. Petersburg Christian University, the Evangelical Christian-Baptist Union, New Life Russia (Campus Crusade for Christ), Josh McDowell Ministries, Reach Out Youth Solutions, Samaritan's Purse, Cross International, Alliance for Saturation Church-Planting, Young Life, CoMission for Children at Risk, The Gathering (Moscow), Evangelical Accrediting Association, and Viva Network.
"There cannot be local Christian leaders with local Christian churches," said Rukhaba.
"A vibrant local church can be a magnet of hope to youth. Through the network of 25 regional evangelism and church-planting centers which Peter deyneka Russian Ministies (PDRM) has started during the past ten years and through our contact with other networks, Russian Ministries is reenergized and newly committed to provide training, networking and support to reach the next generation.
"We also seek to identify churches with existing youth ministries that can be expanded and replicated anywhere. We ask all the Christian people of the world to pray with us and for us as we begin this new undertaking that could shape and change Russia in the years come."
Russian Ministries has the endorsement of indigenous churches, para-church agencies and denominational leaders in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus