"Missions in profession" - equipping leaders in Eurasia
Six hundred young professionals from Belarus and surrounding countries learnt how to be more influential Christians in the workplace in a strategic conference earlier this month. The conference was the latest in a series of events aimed at equipping a generation of Christians who have re-entered public areas of life following the fall of the Soviet regime
The Time for Professionals Forum was held on October 6, 2018 in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, jointly organised by Mission Eurasia and the Baptist Union of Belarus.
The participants were from Belarus as well as Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltic countries, Central Asia and Transcaucasia. The key speakers included author Philip Yancey, John Bernbaum, president of Business and Education as Mission, Leonid Mikhovich, head of the Baptist Union of Belarus, and Marlene Wall, president of LCC University.
They were joined by Artem Adamenko, leader of a Christian medical movement in Belarus, Yuriy Karmanovich, founder of Global Leadership Summit in Belarus, Mikhail Bychko, a representative of the Christians in Business initiative, and Michael Cherenkov, an international director for Mission Eurasia, among others.
Philip Yancey also had the opportunity to speak to large audiences of young people in Ukraine and Belarus as part of the lead-up to the Forum. These events were attended by 1,100 young people who were eager to learn how to deliver the gospel to modern society as effectively as possible.
A week after the Forum, on October 13, 2018, a series of training conferences, Forum+, built on the theme of the Forum, providing young leaders with useful and practical ways of living out their faith as well as helping them start new associations for Christians in their professional fields.
The team of Forum organisers hopes that the Forum and Forum+ in Belarus will have a strategic influence on more than 5,000 professionals, shaping them into leaders who will serve society.
‘I finally understood how I be influential as a Christian in the workplace’ - reaction from the participants
Yelena, a medical doctor, wrote on her blog after the Forum, 'Six months ago I read one of Philip Yancey’s books, and it turned my worldview upside down and gave me answers to many questions that I had had for a long time.
'Today I talked to him personally. It’s so amazing to have the opportunity to meet the author of a book that resonated so much with me and had such an impact on my life, and then to share that impact with him personally.'
Alexander, a student from Lithuania, shared during a seminar at the forum, 'I am studying Business Administration. I have always wondered how I will be able to combine my Christian principles with the reality of the professional world. During the Forum I finally understood how I be influential as a Christian in the workplace, and also found some Christians in management and business that I will build relationships with.'
Alexey, an IT specialist from Minsk, shared in an interview after the forum, 'In just one day I have totally changed my attitude towards work and ministry in the workplace.
'I finally grasped the importance of maintaining a Christian witness in the workplace. Now I can address the question of how I can share Christ with my colleagues and clients.'
Missions in profession - the purpose of the forums
Time for Professionals Forums have already taken place in Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan and impacted more than 30,000 young leaders, equipping them to serving Christ in the professional world. What are these forums like? What tasks do they accomplish? And what motivated Mission Eurasia to start organising these forums?
The main reason is that after the fall of the Soviet regime, Christians re-entered the most important areas of public life. Now it’s up to them to change their professional environment if they don’t want their environment to change them.
In Soviet countries there are already a great number of young Christian leaders who are prominent and with a lot of potential in their fields. A new generation of educated and active professionals occupy important places in post-Soviet society. Now is the time for professionals who combine Christian calling and professional competency. Now is the time for missions in profession.
The simple concept of “missions in profession” is embodied in an equally simple working model that is easy to understand, replicate and use in different contexts. That is the purpose the Forums serve as they bring together working Christians to discuss all aspects of Christian influence on society through profession. A Forum is the most suitable format for fellowship and networking of young leaders. An interactive meeting environment promotes individual abilities, progressive ideas and future plans to take shape and develop.
Forums are part of the Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI), and serve to promote associations of Christian professionals created through the initiative. NGPLI was developed by Mission Eurasia in order to strengthen, develop and motivate a new generation of Christian professionals for active and efficient ministry for Christ and His Kingdom through their professional opportunities and broad influence.
The goals of the initiative are: to form a holistic worldview, leadership qualities and skills in young Christians that they need to be of influence in their professions and transform the society, as well as to teach Christian professionals to show their faith in practical ways in their workplace.
From the very beginning, NGPLI has been building on the experience, ideas, resources, leadership, and network of partners and churches developed through Mission Eurasia’s educational project School without Walls.
'A response to an urgent need of young leaders in the church'
The forum that took place on October 6, 2018 in Belarus was a response to an urgent need of young leaders in the church. We believe that the forum helps meet the need of society in professionals who are guided by Christian values in their work and relations.
We believe that NGPLI is a strategic opportunity for churches to influence the countries of Eurasia and for young people to channel their leadership potential in those spheres of life where they spend the most time.
We believe that the forum in Minsk will give start to new Christian initiatives in the fields of business, education, healthcare, management, and IT. We believe that the workplaces of 5,000 young professionals will become the territory of God’s Kingdom.