by Teresa LaDage
We sat in the restaurant amazed as we heard his story! Evgeny Bakhmutsky told us he was born in a small village in Siberia but for years felt a passion to move to Moscow and start a church that would reach this metropolis of 15 million people. He and his wife, Tonya, and 15 others started Russian Bible Church in 2009 with prayer and a vision to reach their city and country with the gospel.
After we talked for over an hour, Evgeny said to my husband, Bobby, “I remember you. You came to Novosibirsk when I was 23 years old. I was at the conference you were leading on ‘Filling Russia with the Glory of God’ by planting new churches. In fact, I still have my notes.” Afterward, Bobby and I praised God for orchestrating this divine appointment.
Several months later we returned to Moscow and attended Evgeny’s church. Most people in Moscow consider themselves either Orthodox or secular. Evgeny’s church has about 600 members and is unique because it reaches secular young professionals, which is unusual for the Protestant churches in the city.
During the service, tears streamed down my cheeks as I leaned over to Bobby and said, “This is the church we always dreamed of seeing when we lived here!” The congregation was primarily young professionals and young families, the sermon was centered on the gospel, and there was a strong emphasis on prayer and evangelism. Ten people gave testimonies of how they shared their faith with their friends and coworkers that week; then the congregation prayed for each person by name. Later Evgeny told us that every Sunday they have to limit the number to ten, otherwise there would be many more who would share.
The vision to reach Russia with the gospel still grips Evgeny and his team. In January, Russian Bible Church started a second church in the southern part of the city called New Moscow. They hope to start eight more churches in Moscow and are already at work in helping plant in other key cities in Russia. They want to start a training center, where some of the resources used will be from City to City. Center Church has already been translated into Russian, and City to City’s Incubator training is in the process of being translated
In 2017 Evgeny attended City to City’s Network Leaders Forums in NYC and Rome, and he and his team invited CTC staff John Thomas and Al Barth to Moscow to share more about CTC’s training, the organization’s history and its work around the world. Our next step is to bring CTC’s training to Moscow to help start many more churches in the cities of Russia.
Bobby and Teresa LaDage have been missionaries for 25 years, facilitating church planting movements in Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia. Bobby trained church planters and trainers, and Teresa encouraged women to be a part of seeing churches planted through prayer and evangelism. Five years ago they joined City to City Europe to focus on Central and Eastern Europe. They lived in Russia from 1994 to 2003. They now live in Berlin.