It was a packed service on Sunday morning at Central Baptist in Krasnoyarsk, with nearly 700 in attendance. This is a big church even by Russian standards. They have 7 pastors; 2 of which specialize with children. They run a huge number of programs, many of which have an evangelistic focus. Again, as in Smolensk, I was taken with how practical their faith is. The gospel has many hands and feet here, far more than our churches in the West.
The building itself was beautiful. They put a lot of work into their ‘Houses of Prayer’ as they call them. See that lighting. It was all made by hand. It lowers down to the floor so that light bulbs can be replaced (it was the first I asked as I entered; pastors think about these things!).
Communion was not rushed. They take this seriously also. The setting was given, the gospel clearly explained along with a call to confess sin and renew faith in Christ, and then the bread was broken. It took two men about 5 minutes to break the loaves, piece by piece, for 700 people. And everyone watched. What a wonderful visible demonstration of Christ’s body broken for us. Even an unbeliever would get the message. My heart was moved.
After that I preached from Philippians 1:21 – to live is Christ and to die is gain. This passage exhorts the saved and calls the lost to faith in Jesus. Andrei, my translator (perevodchik) did a great job, and the Lord used it for his glory.
As in Smolensk, the service was over 2 hours. No one looked at their watches (except me!), or fidgeted or walked out. This is the way things are for Christians in Russia. It’s time with the Lord and his people. It’s not a time to be rushed.