GCSDA Corruption #10


Russia: Church Uses New Music to Put Song in Believers’ Hearts
June 3, 2003 Moscow, Russia .... [Ansel Oliver/Mark Kellner/ANN]

Artur Stele, president of the Adventist Church for the Euro-Asia region.

Having baptized both a folk musician and his craft, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the former Soviet Union is using new music to put the song of hope in believers' hearts.

“We need[ed] to sing songs that would speak to the soul of young people. In one of the [former Soviet] countries we had used traditional Adventist songs that didn’t speak to the soul of Muslim people,” said Artur Stele, president of the Adventist Church for the Euro-Asia region.

But things changed. According to Stele, they baptized a well-known musician and he has helped them to rewrite their church music. “[It’s] new music that would attract the soul of Muslim people and we have experienced tremendous growth in this region,” he added. Stele, however, did not provide the name of the musician or any details about his previous and present careers.

Finding music that speaks to the hearts of new believers--as well as those not yet in a relationship with Jesus Christ--is one of the challenges the Adventist Church faces in a land where communistic atheism dominated for generations.

“We really have quite a [large] number of young people in our churches,” says Stele. “But we are still not happy and not satisfied. We feel we must do more to attract young people.”

The Adventist Church’s rate of growth in Eastern Europe has slowed considerably since the fall of the Soviet system in 1991. A 50 percent growth rate in 1992 has ebbed to a less than 5 percent annual growth rate during the last five years; however, the base from which growth is measured is substantially larger than in 1991. Also, unlike some church groups which only entered the region after 1991, the Adventist Church has recently marked 110 years in the area.

In an interview with the Adventist NewsLine newscast, Stele said the church is constantly looking for ways to attract new believers, especially young people.

“They must feel at home in our churches,” he says.

While the continuing growth in the Adventist Church is encouraging to local leaders, Stele says that such growth is raising concern among leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, who have raised public protests about the growth of Protestant movements in the country.

“Since we use a lot of methods that attract young people, they [the Russian Orthodox] are really learning from us, but in the same way a little bit afraid because not only is it the Adventist Church but many Protestant churches that are very active in Russia, would take away the attention, especially of the Russian population, especially the young people.”

Despite those concerns, Stele says, Adventists will not neglect an outreach to young people, many of whom will likely lead the nation in coming years.

“Definitely we need to be sensitive to the needs of young people, and also to provide new styles of worship that will attract the young people.”

While the growth of the church is encouraging to Stele, the regional president admits there can be tensions between those whose years of membership included the Soviet era and those joining now.

“Of course, when we started public evangelism campaigns and all other new methods of attracting people and the newcomers came in, the question was how they will live together with [our] old[er] members. But one solution was found in many of our [areas where] we have created new churches,” he says.

“If we have one Adventist church [in a city], and we have baptized let’s say several hundred more, we have created new churches. Then occasionally, like once in a quarter or once in a month, all the church members would meet together in one place, and by doing so we have not experienced the problem of ‘two generations’ of Adventism.”

Nearly 144,00 0 Seventh-day Adventist Christians worship weekly in over 3,000 congregations in the Euro-Asia region.
” --Source: Adventist News Network