Andrei, 46, pastor and pastoral ministry student

I grew up in a village of only 6000 people. I started preaching at our 130-member church as a young man, but after I got married, I stopped because I got too busy. Our church had enough preachers, but it was the same people week after week. When I started preaching again, I realized I needed to improve it to do it the right way.

My cousin came to North Caucasus Bible Institute (Moscow Theological Seminary’s training center in southern Russia) to study, and he told me I should come here too.  I am 46 years old, and I thought it might be too late. But I applied, and the brothers accepted me.

Preaching is not like I used to think. My grandfather was a deacon, and my uncle was a pastor, so I grew up with some opinions about how to teach the Bible. But I think that I didn’t used to work well with the Biblical text. There was a conflict between my old view of the Bible from my childhood and my new view of it.

One thing I learned that has helped me in my ministry is the importance of growing spiritually. On Easter Sunday, I prepared my sermon about peace, and at the same time, I understood that I needed to have the peace of God inside of me. So, in this case, I had a good attitude toward the people around me and peace in my heart.

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