Sep 9, 2019 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
What does indigenous empowerment mean?
If you say it out loud it is quite a mouthful, but to JV these two words are familiar and foundational to everything we do. Since indigenous empowerment is one of our five core values, we review it at every conference.
But what does it mean?
After finishing high school in Lviv Ukraine, Syava took a year off to earn money before deciding his future. He and a friend started doing manual labor at an evangelical church in Lviv called New Life, where he was challenged to follow Christ. In time, he surrendered his life to Jesus and soon began to experience a desire to invest in youth and the life of his new church. Syava is “indigenous” because he comes from the local “soil” and knows the language and needs of his context, since it is his home.
JV missionaries Ben and Kristy Williams had just begun investing in New Life church and quickly saw the potential of this young leader. Training him in ministry principles from the life of Christ, they showed him how to develop a youth group that reaches the lost and makes disciples. Syava was a quick learner, and soon built one of the healthiest youth ministries in the city of Lviv. He had been “empowered” to reach young people in his context for Christ. Then he was equipped by Ben and Kristy to train other youth leaders.
Today Syava and his wife Khrystya serve as national JV missionaries. He mentors youth leaders and pastors across the nation of Ukraine, equipping them to build healthy youth ministries. Syava thinks at the national level about the 4 million youth of Ukraine and is involved in training at the denominational level in the two largest denominations, but still is committed to personal discipleship and leading teenagers in his own sphere of influence.
Now in a new church plant with just 24 members, Syava assumed their English camp would be small this summer. But to his surprise 92 attended the week-long outreach – 60 of them new young people. Now he is meeting regularly with a group of new believers, and investing in a young man named Ostap. Syava’s goal is that soon Ostap will be discipling others. Indigenous empowerment is continuing.
Jesus modeled ministry that didn’t just produce participants, but active disciple-makers who were able to disciple others. In this way the seeds of the gospel spread and bore lasting fruit.
Your gifts and prayers make this all possible. Thank you.
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