The Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev published in Bulgarian

November 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

51Sa1IcA8OL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_[1]We are pleased to announce that some five years after its first publication in English and Russian, our research on the Life and Ministry of Ivan Voronaev is now available in Bulgarian as well. This edition includes the Story of the Voronaev Children, the Correspondence of Ivan Voronaev plus a concluding chapter on the First Pentecostal Believers and Churches in Bulgaria. The book is published for the 95th anniversary of Bulgaria’s Pentecostal movement.

This book tells the story of the life and ministry of the family who brought the message of Azusa Street to Eastern Europe and Russia. The research has taken close to a decade to complete. It started with a brief article on the beginning of the Pentecostal movement in Bulgaria, where unfortunately most church archives were destroyed during Communism. Consecutively, the research led my wife and I on a long journey from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, to the Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield and the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley.

We are grateful to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for making available the ministerial file of Rev. Ivan Effimovich Voronaev kept in their denominational archives. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Albert Wardin for opening the doors for research in Nashville and Berkeley, where most documentation referring to Voronaev’s ministry as a Baptist is preserved. We are also thankful to Oleg Bronovolokov of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Kiev, who helped with the input of various Russian documents pertaining to the Voronaevs.

Both papers included in this book were presented at two consecutive meetings of the Society for Pentecostal Studies in Minneapolis (2010) and Memphis (2011). The first paper, although heavily edited to fit the format, was published in vol. 30 (2010) of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine under a new title, “Ivan Voronaev: Slavic Pentecostal Pioneer and Martyr.” Some of the historical data we presented in the article was published openly for the first time. Our research was further mentioned in the December, 2010 AG Heritage editorial. The Bulgarian “Evangel” also published our translations of Voronaev’s correspondence.

In 2011, Vladimir Franchuk, translated parts of the Voronaev’s papers in Russian and included it in his book “Revival: from the center of Odessa to the ends of Russia,” thus making our research available to the Slavic people just in time for the 90th Anniversary from the beginning of Ivan Voronaev’s Pentecostal ministry in Russia. Partial information from these papers was also used by several recent studies concerning Pentecostalism in Europe and the life and ministry of Rev. Dionissy Zaplishny. Unfortunately, with all this interest, little attention was given to the second paper concerning the Voronaev children until now. The last chapter on the First Pentecostal Believers and Churches in Bulgaria is published for the 95th anniversary of Bulgaria’s Pentecostal movement.

Read about the legacy of Ivan Voronaev:

14 Ministry Projects Completed in 2014

December 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

2014In 2014, we celebrated 15 years since the establishment of Cup and Cross Ministries International in the fall of 1999. After facing many challenges this past year, we were able to complete the following 14 ministry projects:

1. Published About the Bible Series in Bulgaria, essays on paleography, ancient manuscript sources and the story of the Bulgarian Bible translation
2. 19th Annual Missions Conference at Good Shepherd Church of God
3. Published “Ancient Recipes of Bulgaria”
4. Spoke at the Annual Conference of Bulgarian Churches in North America in Minnesota on the state of Bulgarian churches around the world
5. Completed the building and release of the Pneuma Review website, one of the greatest Pentecostal resources on the web
6. Preached the Revelation Revival Services in various churches across Bulgaria and the continental United States
7. Completed another Annual Young Ministers Training Camp
8. 11th annual Revival Harvest Campaign with guest evangelist Johny Noer
9. Over 3,000 men, women and young people nationwide rededicated their lives to Christ
10. Began building project for Young Ministers Training Camp
11. Renewed Sunday Night Services at the Citipointe Church
12. Scroll Signing Services in various churches in Bulgaria
13. Scroll Signing Services with all Bulgarian Churches in London
14. 20 year celebration since the beginning of our work in Chicago

X Youth Event Reunion

September 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Events, News

downloadX 7.7.7 @ Black Sea http://cupandcross.com/x-youth-event-at-the-black-sea-2/

X 8.8.8 @ the Heart of Bulgaria http://cupandcross.com/x-2008-in-the-heart-of-bulgaria-a-new-level-of-ministry/

X 9.9.9 @ Gipsy Ghetto of Samokov http://cupandcross.com/2009-x-event-transforming-the-status-quo-2/

X 10.10.10 @ Cyprus http://cupandcross.com/x-10-10-10-cyprus-reflection/

X 11.11.11 @ Chicago http://cupandcross.com/x-11-11-11-youth-event-afterglow/

X 12.12.12 @ End Time Revival http://cupandcross.com/12-12-12-revival-at-the-end-of-the-world/

 

“Strange Fire”? Not in a Global Pentecostal Context of Ministry

June 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

A Biblical and experiential panel response to John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” from an international Pentecostal point of view Strange Fire
Dony K. Donev with Dennis Balcombe, Hanny Setiawan and Marius Lombaard

MacArthur Strange Fire

John MacArthur, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (Nelson Books, 2013).

Almost one year ago, internationally known author John MacArthur began campaigning for his new book Strange Fire. With lots of material written beforehand by many who had not even read the book, the actual premiere was at a conference with the same name, not without some scandal to help its wide popularization. But scandal was hardly needed when the book classified most (if not all) Charismatics around the world as heretics. Тhe bottom line for MacArthur’s work was deconstruction modern day Charismatic theology and exposing it as unbiblical.

Do Pentecostal churches really offer a “strange fire” as MacArthur proposes? Could charismatic extremes practiced by some be evident in all Charismatic churches and classical Pentecostal denominations? And is it possible to declare a world wide movement of half a billion strong as heretical by observing random examples among less than 3% (three percent) of its representatives residing in North America?

The premise of this ad hominem attack is surprising, when even in Pentecostal scholarly circles we have long debated some Charismatic praxis as wrong and destructive to the movement as a whole. So, when an outsider to Pentecostalism as MacArthur jumps in and claims all Pentecostals are bad because some Charismatics have been found in the wrong, the normal response is simply to disagree. Especially when these extremes do not concern Pentecostalism globally, but as MacArthur himself admits, are defined to a North American context of ministry and even more strict and limited Charismatic circle of neo-Pentecostalism.

The purpose of this article, therefore, is to present the view of Classic Pentecostals, as deferred from the variety non-Pentecostal Charismatics. And to discuss MacArthur’s assumptions in an international Pentecostal context, though Strange Fire refuses to view Pentecostalism as the global power it has become. Perhaps, the very weakness of any theological work that seeks international recognition, but fortifies its argument only within the perimeter of westernized theology. To provoke an even deeper discussion, the study explores five of the major arguments of Strange Fire within the ministry context of Pentecostals from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

Apostolic Relevance or a New Apostolic Reformation?

Admittedly, MacArthur strongest point within his attack on Pentecostals is outlining Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation movement. And even quoting Vinson Synan, who was invited to join the network for $69 a month, but declined with the response, “I could not afford to be an apostle.” But how concerned is the larger Pentecostal world about this apostolic movement? And how important is NAR in global Pentecostalism today?

Hanny Setiawan of the Bethany Church of Solo Baru, Indonesia states:

I personally know NARs and follow Wagner’s thought but, I am not sure that Indonesian charismatic churches are aware of Wagner’s thought. Indonesian charismatic churches are not strategically structured and concepted like Wagner’s way of thinking. I recognize myself has an apostolic function even though I don’t call myself an apostle (neither my community). Wagner’s book and other related books have helped me to know my calling deeper. And because I understand what my calling is, I can perform my apostolic function more efficiently.

Lifetime missionary to China, Dennis Balcombe also responds:

This New Apostolic Reformation is simply an American invention and organization by Peter Wagner and some who follow him. It has absolutely no relevance to the church in China, and I suspect in most other parts of the world. I live in the Hong Kong SAR and have not heard of anyone who is actually a part of this or calls himself an apostle. It is almost unheard of in mainland China where the church situation is much different. [Even] In the past in mainland China the church seldom used any type of titles for ministers other than ‘Servant of the Lord” or “Handmaiden of the Lord.” One reason was that for much of the past 65 years in Communist China, the house church (which constitutes the majority of Protestant Christians in China) has been illegal and persecuted to various degrees. Anyone having religious titles would possibly be marked by authorities.

Several years Peter Wagner and Chuck Pierce came to Hong Kong, and at the invitation of a local pastor, Rev. David Wang, invited many mainland house church leaders to attend an ‘apostolic ordination meeting’. They ordained several as apostles of various areas. However none of them were main leaders, and when they went back to their cities and told other pastors of the meeting, almost without exception the others totally rejected this.

Coming from my own background as a minister in post-Communist Bulgaria, I can confirm much similar experience with NAR in Eastern Europe. That there are true Pentecostal apostles is an undisputable fact; especially, when we speak of men and women who have started multiple churches and sometimes whole movements. At the same time, questioning the authenticity of “apostles who never do anything” (terminology by C.Buettel/J.Johnson) has been an open praxis in modern day Pentecostalism ever since its conception at the Azusa Street Revival.

Prosperity and Poverty in the Context of Global Pentecostalism

Next to apostles and “rock star” ministers, Strange Fire addresses the prosperity movement. Yet, the global Pentecostal church is hardly a materially prosperous one. On the contrary, overwhelming evidence from around the world repeatedly proves that poverty is an ever present factor in global Pentecostalism. So, exactly how important is the prosperity teaching in Pentecostal churches around the world?

Pastor Balcombe puts it rightfully:

This doctrine is almost totally foreign to the true Chinese churches in most parts of Asia, especially Hong Kong and China. [Prosperity] is being preached and practiced to various degrees of success mostly only in some more prosperous Asian nations. We would immediately think of Singapore and the mega-church of Joseph Prince which is also well known for the teaching we call antinomianism. Though this church is large and considered to be Charismatic, we would not identify it as a solid Pentecostal/Evangelical church.

Marius Lombaard of the University of South Africa agrees that:

The Pentecostal church I was part of was very opposed to prosperity teaching. It distinguished itself from other Pentecostals and Charismatics. Members at the time ranged from ordinary poor, to middle class people and no body was above middle class.

Hanny Setiawan affirms the above by saying:

Bill Hamon’s book the eternal church has helped me map the charismatic churches in Indonesia. With the Full Gospel movement (more traditional Pentecostal churches), Indonesian Pentecostal were “updated” into charismatic teaching in 1998 during the Asian turmoil. That’s when the prosperity teaching came into various emerging mega churches.

And then he wholeheartedly declares:

As part of both Pentecostal and charismatic churches I strongly state that I hate prosperity teaching. And yes, we have issue upon this teaching.

For working with the poor, I have to be honest that what I am doing is not typically with charismatic/prophetic churches in Indonesia. But few churches have already started doing work for wide-nation program in the social sector.

Even in my own European descent, I have to agree with these views when applied into global Pentecostal context. In my own dissertation a decade ago I wrote of Bulgarian churches that planted in North American context of ministry.

The fifteen years of economical crises, political disorder and the high rate of unemployment in Bulgaria have not helped the church plan for the future or find alternative ways for support. Thus, the Bulgarian Protestant Church remains a poor church. Moving to a land of greater prosperity (viz., North America), however, has not brought much improvement to the situation. The financial blessings enjoyed by individual Bulgarian believers are not always reflected in the financial ability of the church. Even within the American context, the Bulgarian church remains a beggar in a land of plenty (Bulgarian Churches in North America, 2004).

Prosperity is a mindset, a worldview of its own. And how it is measured remains entirely cultural. But one thing is for sure, it is not the worldview of the entire global church, regardless if they are Pentecostal, Baptist or even Catholic. In other words, no one movement can be holistically and globally prosperous. And when ministering among the poorest of the poor, the Bible does remind of Jesus’ teachings whereas our personal prosperity cannot remain self-centered. It must be applied toward the needs of the others as well. Or we are in the danger of Laodicea—to be rich, yet poor in the site of God.

Miracles shall cease? Not according to the Bible

From his personally-modified cessationist theology, MacArthur insists that miracles and healings are not consistent with the view of the church in the 21st century. This is hardly true for all Pentecostal groups around the world. Many among them have come to know Christ and exist as a church through no other way but by a miracle. And they are not hesitant to testify of that. If asked, virtually all Pentecostals can very vividly describe the last occurrence of miracle and demonstration of spiritual gifts they’ve witnessed recently in their own spiritual walk with specific details (date, place and event).

Hanny Setiawan responds:

I can boldly say that MacArthur is wrong in this statement. In fact, I am working on writing all the miracles happened to us in a website. We believe miracles are usual in Indonesia. Many Indonesians are uneducated and miracles are expected. Prophetic dreams, directions, visions, are widely experienced. In my ministry network, in fact, we move heavily in a divine direction. We teach the difference between Titanic Teaching and Noah’s Ark. What MacArthur suggests is to build ministry like building the Titanic, all brain and logic. We don’t buy into that! We build our ministry based on total obedience to divine direction. Sometimes it’s illogical and insane, but it’s always biblical. Illogical doesn’t mean un-biblical.

Dennis Balcombe also responds:

This is absolutely not true in most of Asia, especially in China. I have been travelling throughout the world for the past 45 years, and I would say this is not true of most of the part of the world we identify as ‘third-world nations’. This would include S. E. Asian nations, especially Indonesia, India, most of Africa and South America. I have been working extensively in mainland China since 1978, and have spoken to thousands of individual Christians and have deeply researched the history of Christianity and revival going back over 100 years. Almost without exception people tell me they became Christians due to some miracle they experienced, saw or heard about.

While in China not every Christian believes in or has experienced speaking in tongues, you would have to travel far and wide to find a Christian who doesn’t believe that miracles are for today and take place in the church today. It would take volumes to write in detail all the miracles I have either witnessed or heard about in China and other nations I have travelled, and this year Charisma Publishers will publish a new book I just wrote, China’s Opening Door with a few chapters dedicated to the miracles in China.

Like the churches in China today, the church under the Communism Regime could not exist without miracles. The fall of the Berlin wall was a miracle of its own. This alone is proof for supernatural signs at an international scale.

There is a video recorded from that time where a woman born blind who received her vision during a Bulgarian Church of God service in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was shot while Lee University’s Campus Choir lead by Dr. David Horton visited Bulgaria. While people are praising God for the miracle and the choir is singing, the camera drifts in the crowd to record a bearded man dressed in pure white standing taller than anyone else in the auditorium. His appearance is so amazingly different from the rest of the congregation that one immediately thinks of Jesus standing in the crowd. The video was lab tested upon returning to the States and was proven authentic. Yet, not a single person remembered seeing that man during the service.

Prophecy shall cease, but only where charity has failed

The argument of secession of the gifts of the Spirit is presented mainly in ch. 12 of MacArthur’s “Strange Fire.” It represents the heart of his argument against Pentecostalism through the years. This argument has been theologically reputed and practically invalid. But most of all, it is simply not true experientially as prophetic messages in or without tongues are still evident in multitude of Pentecostal churches around the world today.

Hanny Setiawan is certain that:

Again, MacArthur is very wrong. Without the work of the Spirit, Indonesian churches cannot survive. We live in the biggest Muslim nation in the world. And prophetically, we get the message that Indonesia is the last puzzle of the world. I share this to show how prophetic is integrated in our strategic ministry policy. Now we work toward 34 provinces by faith through the Holy Spirit without money backup. How could MacArthur explains this?

Marius Lombaard underlines the social aspect of the prophetic church by saying:

In my country, Christianity is too diverse to give any idea what the “majority” believes. Many may still believe in prophecy, but they would nuance their views of it differently. Prophecy can be wrongly caricatured. My beliefs about prophecy is that it is a function of the church to speak prophetically about contemporary cultural and social issues, rather than individuals being “filled with the spirit” and randomly telling people what they believe God to be telling them. I do think when prophecy takes my latter description of being “filled” with the spirit and randomly speaking things one believes God to be telling you, that there is a high risk of it being false.

Dennis Balcombe also admits as a Pentecostal that:

On rare occasions there are “prophecies” that violate the Word of God, are judgmental and condemning, and are spoken with malice and evil intent. We will always immediately deal with such prophecies, ask the speaker to be quiet, and let the congregation know that the “prophecy” was wrong.

Thus, prophecy is always judged by the written Word of God, the witness of the individual and the pastor or spiritual head of the one receiving the prophecy is usually present, or the words are given to him to follow up on. Over the years, we have found almost all of these prophecies to be accurate and are amazing inasmuch many of these giving the prophecies know nothing about the individuals they are speaking to. We see a powerful confirmation of the word of knowledge.

However, a small percentage seems to have ‘missed the mark’ and were not suitable or applicable to the individual. We would tell the person if there is no confirmation to ignore such ‘prophecies’ and we would point this out to the one giving the prophecy. If it happened often, we would not allow that person to continue to operate in this gift. There are some individuals, almost always from the USA or other Western nations, who will from time to time give predictive prophecies relating to major world events, world leaders, earthquakes and other natural judgments, etc. We usually only read about these prophecies in various public meetings, but not in our local church.

All through the Bible, persecution of the community of God is overcome mainly through prophetic presence and power. For this reason my masters’ thesis Pentecostal Primitivism argued that a persecuted movement, as Pentecostals have been for many years and in many places around the world, cannot survive without miracles within the prophetic realm:

Since a social movement that purposes liberation of the individual is always rejected by the present political and economic powers, Pentecostalism arises and develops in the midst of constant persecution and resistance. The constantly present struggle against evil, wrong and unrighteousness is the power that moves Pentecostalism to its final purposes. Once persecution disappears, Pentecostalism loses its original power and turns to a nominal religious organization, which continues to function and exist, however, outside the boundaries of its original purpose.

The theology of the Persecuted Church is a theology of martyrdom. The context of persecution is a constantly present formational factor in Pentecostalism worldwide, and as such it is a universal characteristic of the movement. Only as such can Pentecostalism act in its God-given prophetic authority. In the same prophetic power in which John prophesies of the coming Baptiser with the Holy Spirit, the Early Pentecostals preached about the Fire from Heaven prior to the actual experience of the Holy Spirit baptism. The message of the movement then becomes a prophetic utterance under which the movement grows and develops to the point of fulfillment of the promise given by God.

Spiritual Salvation: Both Prophetic and Supernatural

How important are the above issues to the salvation of eternal human souls if both prophetic and supernatural are removed from within the church? Should not salvation be the central focus of the church of the 21st century around the world rather than other seemingly important theological quarrels? And isn’t Biblical salvation still both supernatural and prophetic?

“Salvation is central of our ministry. It will always be the most important thing,” Hanny Setiawan responds. “But that’s only the beginning of discipleship. Personal piety teaching will merely cause egoistic salvation. Being and Doing are two things that have to happen together. Being like Christ, and doing Christ’s work. MacArthur’s concerns are well-taken, but he has to listen to our concern as well. Cessationist teaching has produced arrogant and humanistic Christianity. Total dependency to written words has to go hand in hand with total dependency to the living words. Holy Spirit and Bible are the two variables we need. Jesus is both natural and supernatural, so why can’t we believe that we are naturally supernatural”?

Marius Lombaard explains that:

Salvation is not dependent on a Gnostic view that one must hold to all the correct beliefs or doctrines, but on trusting that God will raise the dead at his second coming just like he raised Jesus from the grave. Nevertheless, I do think charismatic gifts are a practical matter that deserves attention in light of the prosperity and “word of faith” movement. I think there is a lot of unwarranted strange things happening in the charismatic churches in my country, but I do not think they are a majority, and they are not all equally practicing the stranger charismatic things.

Dennis Balcombe continues:

Preaching the “Full Gospel” with signs following, healing the sick, leading believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit is very much a part of the ministry of the church today, and will result in the salvation of many souls. But the preaching of the Gospel will always focus on Christ, His Word, the cross and the salvation of the lost. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, healing of the sick, the ministry of prophets and apostles, God’s blessing on those who believe in Him (the good side of the prosperity Gospel) are part of the inner working of the Gospel. Our destination is the evangelization of the lost, the preaching of the Gospel of Christ to the nations, and the salvation of souls. The observations of John MacArthur in Strange Fire of the over-emphasis on gifts, ministries, anointing, prophecy, tongues, healing and other parts of the inner working of the Gospel to the neglect of preaching the Word and Christ should be a wake-up call to all of us.

***

As a fifth generation Bulgarian Pentecostal, which is somewhat rare in a post-Communist context, my last words to the cessationism of Strange Fire are the same I wrote on the back of a final exam at a Bible Belt Baptist College some 20 years ago:

My grandmother was baptized with the Holy Ghost at an all-night cottage prayer meeting at age six in a small southern town in Bulgaria in 1926; as after God healed her from tuberculosis at the same prayer meeting two years earlier. My mother was baptized with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues accompanied with the gift of prophecy at age 12. And then in 1990, God baptized me with the Holy Spirit, among many others at the first national gathering of Pentecostals in Bulgaria after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

After preaching for 25 years the Gospel of Salvation and Pentecost with the Biblical gifts of the Spirit, and having dedicated over ten years to higher education and three graduate degrees, with a scholarly certainty of my Biblical Pentecostal experience I can declare: “You’ve come to tell me there’s no Pentecost for today a bit too late!”

 

PR

Dennis Balcombe

Dennis Balcombe

Dennis Balcombe, originally from California, USA, has served as a missionary in Hong Kong and China for the past 45 years since 1969. He was one of the first missionaries to enter China when it opened in 1978, and much of his time is in China ministering in both official churches and home churches. He is the founder and senior pastor of Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong and serves with his wife Kathy, two children and the family of his daughter, Sharon and Samuel Lau.

Hanny Setiawan

Hanny Setiawan MBA/MA is a pastor at the Bethany Church of Solo Baru in of Surakarta, Indonesia. He holds an MBA in Management Information System degree from Bentley University in Boston and is currently working on MA in Community Development at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminar. He is currently fathering a national-wide youth movement and developing Indonesia Reformed Charismatic Institute and Praying Indonesia Movement. His strategic vision is for a new generation of revivalist in Indonesia in all spheres of ministry: business, media, art, politics and economy.

MariusLombaard

Marius Lombaard

Marius Lombaard is an undergraduate student of theology at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is married and aspires to major in New Testament studies. He also had extensive exposure to all the major mainline church denominations in South Africa, and speaks with considerable insight as to the ethos of all these denominations.

 

Master’s Degree of Chaplaincy Ministry in Bulgaria: The Road Ahead

June 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

chaplaincy-in-bulgaria

In the beginning of the 21st century in Bulgaria, law and chaplaincy meet on the road to democracy. But before chaplaincy could be legalized completely and endorsed by the state to its full functionality, several changes must be undergone. Some of them are:

1) Legal provision allowing chaplains to work as staff in the army, which guarantees the equal presence of protestant chaplains as well.
2) The approval, acceptance and implementation of a NATO based model for chaplaincy within the structures of the Bulgarian Army.

3) Periodical and systematic educational strategy toward chaplaincy workers among Bulgarian evangelicals.

4) A paradigm for cooperation of Bulgarian chaplains from various ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.

5) Further research publications to enhance the efficiency of chaplaincy within the Bulgarian national context.

New Develpoments in the Master’s Degree of Chaplaincy Ministry in Bulgaria

May 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

chaplaincy-in-bulgariaThe Master’s Degree of Chaplaincy Ministry in Bulgaria was:

  1. Upgraded to the necessary educational and professional levels, applicable to the specific context of ministry in Bulgaria (December 2010)
  2. Presented in its upgraded form for approval before the educational board of BETI in 2011 (January 2011)
  3. Applied in its full capacity with the remaining modules in Theology (Spring 2011), Counseling (Fall 2011) and Master’s Thesis (exp. 2012)
  4. Transferred to the New Bulgarian University in Sofia under their new social worker studies program.

Master’s Degree of Chaplaincy Ministry in Bulgaria

April 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News, Publication

chaplaincy-in-bulgariaThe Master’s Degree of Chaplaincy Ministry was intended to:
1) Present a master’s level course work by the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association and its educational initiative to the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute (BETI) and the Bulgarian Ministry of Education.

2) Be received and approved by BETI as a master’s level educational program on a national level.

3) Aid BETI’s faculty with an international team of qualified professors for the completion of the educational process.

4) Satisfy the educational requirements for a chaplaincy vocation properly contextualized for Bulgaria in association with secular educational institutions, if necessary.

5) Provide the necessary knowledge and practical skills to people with a call on their lives for chaplaincy ministry

5 Internet Tools for Your Ministry

April 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

1. Blogging: You make about 100 educated comments during the week. You have afterthoughts and comments after the Sunday sermon. You encounter life stories and personal testimonies. Blog them. It is the easiest way to:

  • Give a global voice to your ministry
  • Network with other ministers
  • Popularize your church website and affirm presence on the internet
  • Connect with people on their own level

Use WordPress, BlogSpot or even Posterous. There are many more out there to fit your taste and best of all they are free!

2. Live broadcast your church service: You’d be surprised how many people would like to see it. And different than a few years back when you needed expensive equipment set up, all you need is a laptop with a camera or even a mid-level smart phone and you can broadcast in a matter of minutes.
a. Make your church service accessible for the ones who cannot attend
b. Your message will reach people in your community and around the world
c. Receive feedback from friends, colleagues and even people you never knew

uStream and LiveStream are just two of the many options out there. And for the basic user, they are all free.

3. Social networking: The world is moving away from common trends of communication. Get involved! Social networking is the way to do it.
a. Provides a constant stream of communication toward your followers
b. Establishes your church equally in the local and internet community
c. Makes you accessible to the people who need you

Sign up for Facebook and Twitter. They are popular and free. A Facebook page is a must for any branding or marketing strategy today.

4. Mail lists are outdated, time consuming and quite costly. Except if you use the internet to do them.
a. Create a mail list of subscribers with your followers and the visitors of your website
b. Use RSS feed to combine all your publications from church announcements, blog posts, tweets and Facebook statuses
c. Send it automatically to RSS pools which can multiply your reach

Use FeedBurner. It is very fast and effective and also free to use.

5. Monetize your web presence creating a steady stream of profit for your ministry beside traditional tithes and offerings.
a. Bring your fundraisers online and promote online giving
b. Sell books, music, sermon videos and other products online
c. Use direct advertising sales and advertising networks

Use Google AdSense, eBay partners, Amazon Associates or any other affiliate program that fits your marketing approach. Not only they are free, but using them can support your ministry!

Need assistance? Learn how we can help you with your church branding on the internet.

New Voices from the Past: The Untold Story of the Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev

April 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News

51Sa1IcA8OL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_[1]New Voices from the Past: The Untold Story of the Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev
Missions & Intercultural Studies
Dony K. Donev, D. Min.
Cup & Cross Ministries International
Presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies

The name Ivan Efimovich Voronaev is of a central importance for the development of Pentecostalism in Communist Russia and its Eastern European satellites. Voronaev was saved in his early life in Russia and then became a powerful Baptist minister, but after being persecuted for preaching the Gospel, in 1912 he immigrated with his family through Japan to the United States. Voronaev’s ministry touched both Baptist and Pentecostal churches from California and Washington to New York and Connecticut, before he undertook the difficult journey across the Atlantic, through Constantinople and Bulgaria to reach his native land. Voronaev established Pentecostal churches along the way laying the foundation of Pentecostalism in Eastern Europe. Although his story has been told many times, very little has been documented about his early ministry before he converted to Pentecostalism and launched what would become an international Pentecostal campaign reaching people from Seattle to Siberia (going eastbound). This present study reviews Voronaev’s ministry based on documents from the early period of his life, examining his connections with Baptist and Assemblies of God denominations in the United States. It then presents information about his mission trip to Eastern Europe, with a special focus on his stay in Bulgaria and the foundation of his work in Russia. But long before finding his place in the ministry, the story of Ivan Voronaev begins with his personal quest for identity in ministry, beginning with a search for a name…

Repost: Ministry NOT for Sale

March 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, News

not-for-sale.jpgMy son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not (Proverbs 1:10)

Several years ago, while employed with a certain organization, we faced the dilemma to choose between what was morally right and what was financially secure. Regardless of the jeopardy of this predicament, we were able to make the right decision, preserving our integrity and disallowing financial pressure to dictate our moral choices. Soon thereafter, we initiated a healing process which dealt with the internal wounds, restored the lost trust and attempted to recover the invested time and resources. Years past, we forgot the pain, but never forgot the lesson we learned …

Recently, while involved in a global ministry campaign, we were faced with a similar situation. This time, however, it did not involve business partners, but a multitude of Pentecostal ministers. The larger size of the context did not change the problem at hand, but rather intensified and multiplied its harmful effects. We regretfully witnessed how hundreds of men and women involved in ministry were manipulatively forced to face the same dilemma. They had to make a mandatory choice between the financial security of their families and their own moral integrity. The results were accordingly. Read more

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