13 Churches Unite to Change Russian Megacity

( [email protected] ) May 12, 2004 02:29 PM EDT

A media mission group based in Finland, IRR-TV (International Russian Radio-TV) has just completed an historical mission to the Russian city of Ufa, one of the Russia’s 12 Mega cities following the harvest of a similar mission project to Volgograd last year.

The city of Ufa, is situated on the western slope of the Urals Mountains, a continental divide separating European Russia from the Russian Far East. Ufa is one of the least Christianised cities in all of Russia today.

The first Christians came to Ufa approximately one hundred years ago. Fifteen years ago, only one Christian congregation with one hundred members was to be found in Ufa. Today there are fifteen congregations with only one church building in their possession.

The situation has been totally overturned as a month-long mission strategy was presented to the Russian pastors by IRR-TV. The mission project officially called “Power to Change” acted as a catalyst to bring the churches to united into one, with a determination to reach the city Ufa for Jesus like never before.

All thirteen evangelical or protestant churches in Ufa formed a coalition of Christian Churches and worked hard with IRR-TV. A joint pastoral committee was formed to supervise the execution of the outreach.

In a six-week period, power evangelism was carried out with an ambition to reach up to 80% of the people in the area. The goal was achieved by making every person in Ufa repeatedly see and hear the Gospel in various ways simultaneously - TV, radio, print, newspapers, giant billboards, transportation, other ads. Only it insisted in preaching one single message: “God gives the power to change”.

The most potent media for communicating the Gospel to the population of 1.1 million people in Ufa during the campaign was local television. People were able to watch and hear moving stories of how God’s power changed lives everyday. Air viewers were also able to call into the TV studio and ask questions.

At the same time, the churches have focused on training people to take care of the new believers. A large team of people was assigned to answer incoming calls from ads and television programs as well as to process names, addresses, book orders, and to manage the Mission Ufa website.

With the aid of Campus Crusade for Christ Canada, hundreds of church members received discipleship training and prayed with new believers to secure their newly found faith in God.

The outreach is the first of its kind on such a level in Russian cities. Most of the required funds to resource the outreach came from the west.

The news of victory was finally announced by IRR-TV's Hannu Haukka, "During the six-week mission over 60,000 contacts with non-believers were made. The call centre alone received thousands of calls from non-believers in the city. Several thousand people are in the follow-up process already. Five Ministry of Justice officials accepted the Lord during the unprecedented media campaign."

A miracle has happened in Ufa, the capital city of Bashkortostan, an Islamic enclave in the heart Russia. Despite the stiff resistance from the Islamists of Ufa -- especially from Bashkir State Television which is run by Islamic fundamentalists, Haukka said the fruits of the mega city media have surpassed the expectations of Russian pastors and IRR-TV.

The “Power to Change” book is the main piece of literature that records this amazing campaign. It contains ten of the most dramatic testimonies of God’s grace in Ufa. At present 50,000 copies of the book need to be printed.