Area: 17,075,400 sq km
The world’s largest country, extending across 9 time zones between the Baltic and the Pacific. The Russian Federation is composed of 83 administrative districts, including 46 oblasts (provinces), 21 republics, 9 territories, 4 autonomous okrugs, 1 autonomous oblast and 2 federal cities.
Population: 140,366,561 Annual Growth: -0.39%
Official language: Russian; local languages in autonomous republics Languages: 135 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Christian leaders, who are few in number, must rise to many great challenges. Lack of training in the past, need for funding today and loss of many pastors and educators through emigration contribute to this lack of leaders. The role of foreigners will be highly limited; solutions must come from within Russia. Pray for these needs:
a) Biblical leadership patterns need to be instilled. Authoritarian leadership styles, a legacy of Russias past, sadly shape how most Russian pastors operate today. This is particularly difficult because women make up the large majority of churchgoers, men have a much lower life-expectancy and too few pastors have an extensive theological education. Christian Women in Partnership is a joint venture that prepares women to be effective in ministry.
b) Discipleship patterns are sorely inadequate. Many churches across all evangelical groups are filled with younger folk. But most of these come from non-Christian backgrounds and need grounding in Scripture and a Christian worldview. Systematic Bible study and expository preaching are rare. Cell-based Bible study groups are one key solution; pray for their multiplication.
c) Theological education is crucial. Hundreds of theological institutions have formed since 1991, from discipleship schools up to seminaries. Pray for the Euro-Asian Accreditation Association that seeks to ensure high standards in the more academic institutions. Theological education needs to be indigenized and to address the issues relevant to Russias unique situation.
d) TEE is an equally important training tool. SEAN (Study by Extension for All Nations) has a very extensive nationwide TEE programme under the guidance of the Open Russian Theological Academy. To assist the thousands of pastors and preachers with minimal theological education, many denominational and interdenominational networks are embracing SEAN. Bible Education by Extension (BEE) and Emmaus Bible College and others have TEE courses used throughout the country.
For an additional 10 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Russia.