In 988 Christianity was accepted as the state religion by Volodymyr the Great of the Kievan Rus, eastern Slavic state. Today Orthodox Christianity of the eastern Christian tradition is still the main religion in Ukraine, which at times has been closely aligned to Ukrainian national identity.
The evangelical church (about 2% of the population) began its history in Ukraine 170 years ago with the Bible being translated in Russian, making it available to ordinary people. Since its existence, it has suffered persecution – from the Orthodox church and from the Soviet authorities. Distrust, segregation and division today hinder the church, making it difficult to partner with other denominations and inter-denominational missions organizations.
The recent events since the end of 2013 have, however, brought a fresh push of Evangelicals toward evangelism and reacting to the human tragedy caused by the war. Church planting movements are being established and people are open to the Gospel.
The first OM team was established in Rivne in western Ukraine in 1994, after the fall of communism. 2000 saw the birth of the legally registered body for OM in Ukraine called the “Ukrainian Christian Missions Fellowship”. Today there are 4 ministry teams in the cities of Rivne, Kaharlyk, Vinnitsa and Odessa focusing on a variety of ministries.
OM Ukraine is passionate about grafting the missionary vision into the body of Christ in pursuit of reaching the least reached (www.ua.om.org)
Ministry Opportunities in Ukraine:
- Crisis ministry focuses on reaching out to those affected by war through strategic partnerships. Ministry includes reaching out within the conflict zone and serving many of the more than 1.4 million IDP’s in Ukraine, by showing the love of Christ in a practical manner as well as sharing the Gospel message.
- New Generations ministry focuses on Orphan ministry, in partnership with the local church and the Odessa province. Also, serving the local village churches in the Vinnitsa province to develop children’s ministry and Sunday schools.
- Church planting ministry focuses on planting churches in those areas within Ukraine where there are little or no evangelical witness.
- Innovation (Sustainable Missions) in the city of Kaharlyk works toward community transformation and envisions the future support of other ministries within Ukraine.
How you can get involved:
- Pray for peace in Ukraine and the ministry of OM Ukraine to those affected by war.
- Pray for the more than 80,000 orphans in Ukraine, and that more churches will get actively involved in the dream of seeing a Ukraine without orphans.
- Pray for the Ukrainian church to not get discouraged with the challenges that the crisis in Ukraine presents, but to rise to the occasion so that we will see many more churches planted and souls won for the Kingdom.
- GIVE: Give here: http://www.om.org/en/give to support the work of OM in Ukraine.
- GO: If you feel that God might be calling you to serve Him in the Ukraine, find opportunities here: http://www.om.org/en/opportunities.
More information about Ukraine
- Population: 44,209,733 (world fact book 2016)
- State of economy: Russia’s occupation of Crimea in March 2014 and on-going aggression in eastern Ukraine have hurt economic growth. With the loss of a major portion of Ukraine’s heavy industry in Donbas and ongoing violence, Ukraine’s economy contracted by 6.8% in 2014 and by an estimated 10.5% in 2015.
- Religious make up: East Orthodox, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant (less than 2%), Muslim(1%), Jewish(1%) (2013 estimates)
- Personality of the culture/people: Ukrainians are very hospitable. As their guest, you will receive red-carpet treatment. The culture is predominantly “Honour/shame” oriented, but “power/fear” is also prevalent. Ukrainian is the largest nationality living in Ukraine, constituting about 73% of the population. Other nationalities include Russians (21%), while Jews, Belorussians, Moldavians, Bulgarians, and Poles make up another 6% of the population.
- Spiritual needs: Ironically, because of the crisis in Ukraine and the way the church has reacted to help and support war-affected, Ukraine is experiencing a revival. The challenge is whether the church will be able to serve, disciple, and nurture those who are searching for hope in these troubles times. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.