Youth ministry. Youth pastor

"I am 26 now. My mother told me about Jesus when I was 15 years old. It was a difficult process for me to come to faith in Jesus Christ. I would like to start my story by describing those items that took place in my family and in my personal life before I was a believer, because through them I came to the decision to accept Christ as my personal Savior and follow Him as the only Way.

In 1995 a Christian woman invited my mom to visit church. At that time both of my parents had problems with their health, so my mom accepted the invitation. Afterwards, when she had accepted Jesus as her own Savior, of course, she desired that her husband, daughter and son could know Jesus too.

The period of my life when I was from 15 till 16 years old was when I made many wrong decisions. I had a lot of questions in my mind such as, "What is life about?", "What's the purpose of my life?", "Who can be the leader of my life?" and so on. I saw the way of sin and immoral things, and I did not know any other way to follow; besides I did not want to follow a different way. My mother invited me to go to church, and I agreed. However, I had one condition, that she would buy me a tape recorder. As soon as I got the recorder, I did not return to church, although I repented at that point. Then, I did not go to church at all for six months.

One morning I got up, looked into the mirror, and faced myself. I discovered a picture of despair, felt a void, and absolutely broken. I understood that my life was empty. The sin which I believed brought me freedom, in reality was emptiness.

I began to desire holiness in my life. In August of 1995, the church had a prayer time for all of the students who were going to start the new educational year. My dearest mom did her best to invite me to church. At that point I really did not realize why I accepted her invitation, but now I know that it was because of Him. All of the people at church were holy and genuine, and I felt guilty. Before I went, I thought that I would not be accepted by the people. I thought the church would not understand me and would think bad things about my behavior, but people were smiling at me and shaking my hand.

Then I decided that I would visit church once again. At the end of the service, the church choir sang the song that contains these words, "He has loved us so much, that He has left heaven and has come into the world to save us". Those words touched my heart, and my soul was opened for Him completely. I remember that very moment distinctly when I could not wrestle with God anymore, and I gave up crying before Jesus. I realized that God-the Creator loved me very much. I turned my back on sin. I told God that I am not going back into that very dark pit of the world where I came from. I decided to start my life again from a white sheet of paper. I wanted the other life: pure, holy, so, I found it in my Savior-Jesus Christ.

In 1996 I made a covenant with the Lord Jesus by being baptized, and through that I confirmed my serious intent to follow Christ. In 1997 I was offered to be a youth leader at church and I agreed, because I wanted to help young people who were running their race the easy way, not the godly way. I wanted to help those who really did not know The Way, The Truth and the Eternal Life. I visited a camp in the suburbs of Moscow in 1998 where I saw over 400 young people from all over Russia, from the Baltic States and even people from overseas. This enlarged my experience and knowledge of Christianity and God. Also, God gave me even more of a desire to serve young people; He started to plant His vision in my heart about youth ministry. I under-stood that young people are not only supposed to get together, but at the same time, they have to serve. Young people of today are our church and future society for tomorrow!

Youth ministry has to be structured. It is necessary to have a strong team of people serving together who were raised as good Christians and dedicated to Jesus. I want young people to be able to reach other young people with the Gospel!

Then I visited the city of Anapa in 1999, which is on a beach of the Black sea, and I had an opportunity to visit a conference which was for youth leaders of Russia. After that conference I was sure that I really needed to serve youth.

In 2000 I graduated from the Bible school which belongs to the "Philadelphia" church and visited the world conference by Billy Graham in Amsterdam. At that conference participated over 10 000 people all over the world. Again God started to put His desire to serve young people. I used to work as a carpenter for some time. Also, I had been working as a missionary for three years in a village, but I quit it, because I felt that it is not my calling and for me it is easier to work with young people and teenagers then with adults. I have been preaching in church and youth meetings since 1997. All the circumstances, I went through, formed my personality for God, and it formed my ministry, and my knowledge of God, and how things are really going in the world. My strong desire and prayer to God is that a lot of young people will be saved and to see a godly generation brought up. I want to see worthy Christians serving God and passing the good news to others bringing them to living faith in God".

"PLUG into Heaven"