Four weeks into our outreach, my Titus team made a grueling thirty-hour train ride in order to spend a few weeks in Lugansk, an average sized city on the Russian border. In this grey, post-Soviet mining town, our contacts had arranged for us to teach a number of Inductive Bible Study seminars in the local churches. We started without delay. Our seminars were attended by Christians from varied theological backgrounds. In one particular seminar, we noted students from at least four different churches passionately studying God’s Word together and ecstatically sharing their discoveries. In this moment denomination differences meant nothing – Calivinism or Arminianism? Pre or Post Tribulation? Sprinkling or immersion? Women in ministry? Rapture? Tongues? These things which so often divide were never mentioned. There was only God’s Word, the joy of discovering its truth, and living it out together. On the right side of the room, a few rows from the front, sat a group of people that we referred to as “group number three”. Sitting around the desk were three women and one man. Each was in their mid-twenties and each from one of the four churches represented.
Throughout the seminar I watched as they worked together, studied together, congratulated each other over questions well answered, passionately shared their discoveries, chatted and joked through the breaks, and even exchanged phone numbers. The cherry on top of the cake was right after we had dismissed the students at our last session. As everyone rose to leave, I looked over and to my amazement “group three” remained seated, hands clasped tightly in a circle around their desks, Bibles in the middle, heads bowed in prayer. They were thanking God for His Word and their time together. Four churches, one Chief-Shepherd.
This profound and beautiful glimpse of the unifying power of God’s Word is one I will not quickly forget.