Dear Supporters and Enthusiasts,
In case you missed my previous note, I am David Briar, SRS Treasurer. I am pictured here (right) with my wife Erin and my seven children. I am a retired Air Force Colonel living in Tok, Alaska. Blake Purcell led me to Christ in 1984 at the Air Force Academy and I have been serving on the SRS board since 2015.
As treasurer it is my privilege to report to you annually on how we have used what God has provided through you, and let you know what the SRS board believes we need to fulfill God's call on our ministry in Russia and beyond.
During the past twelve months we have received $350,000 from 44 churches and 156 individual donors.
This money has been distributed in the following ways:
- 40% Seminary Intensives and Pastor Training and Mentoring
- 35% Pastor Stipends and Church Planting
- 9% Ministry to the Disabled and Prison Ministry
- 8% Partnerships with US Sponsors and Promotions
- 8% Administrative Costs
Our primary ministry is to plant churches where there are not churches. We do this both by training pastors and by financially supporting our Russian speaking church planters directly.
As you can see from the map above, we now have over 20 churches in 4 countries whose pastors have studied with us. The number of pastors in training has more than doubled during this last year, and we believe this trend is set to continue. Most of these churches are being planted where there is little or no evangelical presence. Hallelujah!
We feel God is empowering us through your faithfulness to fulfill Romans 15:20-21,
Our Growing Needs
- Financial support
In the past, more than 40 percent of our budget is raised through special campaigns. In 2017, this was approximately $150,000. As we expand and reshape the ministry, we are seeking new annual commitments totaling $200,000 per year so that we can plan the year-round ministry of pastoral training, church planting, and support of our mercy ministries.
This means we need an additional $16,500 a month. Therefore we are asking the Lord to provide the following support for the next two years:
- 12 new donations of $500/month=$6,000/month
- 24 new donations of $250/month=$6,000/month
- 45 new donations of $100/month=$4,500/month
Please pray about making one of these commitments for 2018-2019.
And please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you will be able to be one of these new commitments of financial support.
We are so grateful to God for your support and through us working to see the 1.7% of the Russian world that is Evangelical become 20% soon!
David Briar, Col, USAF (Ret.)
July and August 2018 you have the chance to have a Russian president with his wife and professional translator visit your church.
Who is this VIP?
Evgeni Victorovich Kruzhkov, internal president of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg, Russia. He and his wife Saule will be in the United States from July 10 until August 10.
President Kruzhkov will be available to preach in churches and be translated by the external president of the Seminary Blake Gramovich Purcell.
The 3 will also be available to share a presentation on the political situation in Russia, and whether or not there will be WWIII and the explosive growth of the ministry to 20 churches and 1000 members across 11 time zones.
They will also share with you how you can play a vital role in keeping our Embassy of Peace in Christ open in Russia.
Their appearances will be first come first serve so please write Blake Purcell today if you would like to have a Russian president visit you, your church or those interested in world peace in your community.
Founded in 1979, the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability (ECFA) provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. Members include Christian ministries, denominations, churches, educational institutions, and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations including the PCA’s Mission to the World (MTW), Compassion International, the Navigators, and Campus Crusade for Christ. As of April 2018, SRS joins the ranks of these well-known evangelical organizations by earning accreditation from ECFA!
What does this mean for you? It means that SRS meets ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. These standards are based on Biblical principles of financial accountability. In talking to the Corinthians about stewardship, the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:20 – 21 (NASB), “taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”
By joining ECFA, SRS demonstrates that we meet this high standard of financial accountability and responsibility.
Additionally, by joining ECFA, SRS lives up to the intent of ECFA’s motto – Enhancing Trust. As a result, we here at SRS hope you will feel more confident than ever that we are an organization worthy of your trust and which administers your generous gifts responsibly.
Thanks be to God and thanks be to you, our donors, for your continued support, prayers, and generosity to support the ministry of SRS.
David P. Briar, Col, USAF (Ret)
Let me introduce you to a man who became a real inspiration for all students of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg, Russia.
SRS Board Member Mike Rasmussen, Resident Theologian for Worldwide Discipleship Association
Mike came to St. Petersburg in March to lecture on the History of Redemption viewing the whole Bible as one book. Mike presented the person and work of Jesus Christ as the theme and focus of every part of the Scriptures.
As far as I remember, it's the first time in our seminary that we have viewed the history of the Old Testament in the light of one all-embracing theme. All 20 Russian ministers who took part in this intensive course said they would definitely use what they had learned in Mike's course in their sermons and Bible study groups.
Thank you, Mike, for coming and sharing your knowledge with our students. It was your first visit to St. Petersburg and we look forward to our future cooperation.
Let me express my gratitude to all those who made this intensive course possible. You fearlessly sacrifice and direct your efforts to help the church of Christ grow in this part of the world.
rector of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg
(by Yuri Levchenko, pastor of Reflection Presbyterian church of Dmitrov, Moscow region)
At the end of March right after the intensive course in St. Petersburg we went to Kazan where we saw a very interesting architectural complex called the Temple of All Religions or the Universal Temple build by Ildar Khanov. It’s really unique because it consists of several types of religious architecture including an Orthodox church, a mosque, and a synagogue, among others. Therefore we can see a Christian cross, a Muslim crescent, David’s star and a Chinese dome. It’s one of the sights of the city which describes the character of Kazan very well. Islam has been the state religion of the city since its foundation in 1005. The first Christian church was built only in the XVI century when Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan. Today predominant faiths of Kazan are Sunni Islam and Orthodox Christianity. But there are also Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Baha’is.
They don’t hold any worship services in that Universal Temple. It’s just a building. But you know what building is located right in the center of Kazan? The Qol Sharif Mosque. And it is active, of course.
I’m sure, in terms of soteriology, the Church of Jesus Christ takes a central place in every city. Even if it’s small and located in the outskirts of the city.
There is only one Reformed church in Kazan and that’s where we went together with Blake. We wanted to encourage people of that small church and show that their church is not small at all because it belongs to the great Church of Jesus Christ and is always under His care. On Sunday l preached and Blake shared his experience in child raising.
A year and a half ago God called the pastor of this church. Truly, “the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance” (Ps. 94:14). God have kept this small community and even built it up. Vladislav Larionov the elder serves as a caretaker pastor. He comes to St. Petersburg to participate in the intensive courses of the SRS seminary. So does another member of this church – Andrey Dyatlov – who is an official student of our seminary now.
Please pray for this church so that the Lord would provide a pastor for them who will love them and lead in worshipping God in Kazan.
There are almost 900 people in all churches where our students and pastors minister, and 50% of the members are children. Hence the importance of teaching how to achieve peace and see fruits when raising children in the Lord. That's what Rev. Blake Purcell did the first week of our Intensive Course.
"Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul". (Proverbs 29:17)Read More
Whenever Blake and Cathy come to Saint Petersburg it is always a chance for us to see Cathy and hear from her about her relationship with God. We all know that she raised 6 children all of whom have done well in life and are being a good influence in the world.
On Saturday, March 10, women from three Evangelical churches and one Russian Orthodox church came to the Purcells' to encourage one another and hear Cathy teach. It's always a treat to hear such an experienced woman talk about how to be a virtuous wife.
What's the first thing you think about when you receive a letter asking to support our seminary training in Russia? May be, "Oh, this seminary costs too much!" But do you know how much this training costs RUSSIAN PASTORS?
Here is a great example of the new harvest field God is opening for us in the Russian speaking world.
Dear Friends of SRS!
We have only one month before the spring intensive course of St. Petersburg seminary. It will be really intense and the largest in our history: 16 students, 6 pastors and 2 visiting professors from America. We hope it will bless both Russian ministers and American teachers. Alone we can't reach our goal. But together we can. Please help Russian pastors get a good education and the Church of Christ grow in Eurasia!
Eight Latvian men attended the conference “What Is a Real Man: God's Perspective” held by SRS in Jurmala, Latvia in March 2017. The goal of the conference was not to gain new members for the local Reformed church where Pastor Timur Anichkin ministers but to enter into a person-to-person relationship with men of the city to study the Word of God.
Was it worthwhile? Read Timur's report.Read More
Dear friends! Believe it or not but...
WE WORSHIP THE LORD IN OUR OWN BUILDING!
In the photo you can see what it looks like today. Smoke from the stovepipe shows that it's already warm inside!
I'm sure, it's God's miracle, His gift from heaven. We have been dreaming about it for a long time. The Lord has heard our prayers and answered! He has provided helpers in Russia and sponsors in the United States who have made our dream come true.Read More
You may already know Russia for its ballet, great nesting dolls, and museums.
And you may personally know Rev. Blake Purcell who labored almost thirty years as a Christian missionary among Russian-speaking people of the former Soviet Union, and whose work God has blessed with 5 church plants, a seminary and a ministry residence that welcomes Christians and seekers.
But you may not know the TOP THREE REASONS for making RUSSIA your MISSIONS PRIORITY in 2018
"I’m still sure that my training in this seminary is God’s miracle – unconditionally and undoubtedly. I thank God and teachers for that. My sincere gratitude to all remarkable sponsors of this project."Read More
With whom can you walk Moscow's Red Square (and wave as Vladimir Putin drives past),
Visit St. Basil's Cathedral, the famous GUM department store, monuments to Dostoevsky, Rachmaninov, Tolstoy
And worship with and meet the saints of Reflection Presbyterian Church of Dmitrov, Moscow region?
My name is Evgeni Kruzhkov. I’m a rector of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg. At our regualar intensive course last month we hosted 17 Russian ministers who came to study in our seminary. Ten of them were new. There is a good tradition in our seminary to share testimonies. Every story is amazing and unique.Read More
The Biblical Theological Seminary in St. Petersburg is in the midst of the largest Fall Intensive we have ever hosted, with 15 students! The majority of these students are new to the seminary. We hope you will be encouraged by reading some of the reasons they gave for choosing to attend BTS:Read More
In the past week I have shared with you the hard news that one of our SRS empowered churches was raided by 40 armed federal agents in Russia. I also passed on to you the wonderful news that the $60,000.00 given by our American donors has already paid for the building of a church facility in the Far East, which in turn has helped significantly grow the men's morning bible study in that church, despite the recent spread of TB among its members.
Today I want to refer to the raid on Pastor Nik's church, and the sad reality of Pastor Ruslan's whole family coming down with tuberculosis to illustrate how vulnerable the Evangelical Church in Russia really is.
Until now, Romanovka, near Vladivostok, has had no functioning church nor any church building with a congregation meeting in it. SRS donors have contributed the entire $60,000.00 needed to complete the construction of this church building before winter this year! Praise God! The Holy Spirit is pushing the Gospel and the Church where they have never been before!Read More