Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Church council of “The Living Hope” church, Kharkov, Ukraine is presenting to you our vision for the expansion of our ministry through the purchase of a building located next to our property.
History of the church: in 1998 a new church plant was started in the district of our city with a population over 35 000 people. There were no other evangelical churches in this area. The city population is over 2 mil people and the city is known as the industrial and educational center of Ukraine. It is also known as one of the “fortresses of communism.”
The new church plant got started with 3 families who were blessed by their mother-church and in one year 20 people from non-believers were converted. For the first 2 years the church was renting a kindergarten building and then moved to another rented building where the church services were conducted for 11 years, until the church was built on its own building.
Church in 1998
Church in 2016
Today our church has around 160 people (43 families including children) and up to 200 people are gathering on the Lord’s days.
The structure of governance and main activities of the church: from the very beginning of our existence a lot of the efforts were put into building up a good team of church leaders. For today we have 3 ordained pastors, who divide various responsibilities among themselves. There are also 4 deacons and the leaders of various ministries of the church. This group of pastors, deacons and leaders of the ministries form a Church council of 11 men.
All the church members belong to one of 7 home groups where they have mid-week meetings for a follow-up study of the sermon preached on Sunday. That allows all the church members to have a chance for discussion, personal talks on their issues of spiritual life, gives them an opportunity for in-depth study of the Scripture.
The main activities of the church include:
Church’s finances: we believe and practice tithing. Our annual collections over last 3 years were between $38,253.00 US and $23,638.00 US. In fact, our collections in local currency are growing every year 10%-15%, but if we have to convert to US currency we have less, because of the huge devaluation of Ukrainian currency since 2014 (over 300% of devaluation in 3 years).
With the church collections we pay the full support to one of our pastors and 50% to another one. All the church activities are covered by our own finances, except some external support given for our work with the refugees and to M2M initiative. Out of our funds we support a missionary working as a church planter in Armenia.
Vision of the church: we see the purpose of our church in revealing Christ to this world by seeking the lost, discipling those who are brought in by God and equipping them for ministry. All the activities and plans of our church are dedicated to this vision. We look at the buildings and all other resources as the tools which may help us in reaching out to fulfill our vision.
Moreover, we see our role in being a congregation which is assisting other congregations in the areas of Eastern and North-Eastern Ukraine, with all our resources, experience and knowledge we’re blessed by the Lord.
New opportunity for the expansion of the ministry: on May 26th 2010, our congregation started the construction of our church building and on January 25th 2011 we conducted the first worship service in this building. In 5 years the building has become too small for all of our activities.
Living Hope Church
Next to our church, there is property which is for sale now. It has an old building which was a former kindergarten on it and a good piece of land. The building is in bad shape and needs a complete renovation.
It is owned by a private individual and we have been negotiating with him about selling this to us for a couple of years. At the beginning of our negotiations with him, he asked $250K US for it. Two years after, he dropped the price down to $150K US.
It is a reasonable price, but we also realize a complete renovation of it will cost us another $150K US-$200K US. If we purchase property, we plan on adding an extra floor to the building, where rooms for visitors and M2M students will be located.
How the new building will be used? The building will be multi-functional in its use. We plan to hold all of the existing and expanded activities and ministries of the church in the new building.
We plan to have rooms for lodging of students and visitors. Rooms for humanitarian aid distribution. Classrooms for kids with limited physical abilities and classroom for M2M ministry, as well as a bookstore.
Artist Rendering Of The Finished Project
So, this project is a new and big challenge for us. There were months of prayers and discussions regarding whether we should get into this or not. But today as the Church council we have a unity among us and we all agreed this is a new direction in which we believe the Lord is leading us.
We understand all possible criticism for getting into such a big capital project while the situation in Ukraine is far from ideal and stable. But we look at the present times of instability in Ukraine as an excellent time for visible expansion of His Kingdom here in Kharkov.
Our commitment to the project: the maximum overall cost of the project for purchase and renovation is $350K US. After thoughtful and prayerful consideration, the council of the church has put an ambitious goal of raising $100K US locally and $250K US with the help of Western supporters.
The local fundraising, first of all, will be based on the donations of the church’s members and secondly on the requests to other Ukrainian churches, ministries and individuals. We hope to have a full amount of our local commitment to be raised in 1 year from now.
It is our hope and prayer that we’ll be able to communicate well our need to local churches and people and to supporters from the Western countries.
Timeframe for the project: prior the purchase of the building, a huge amount of a paper work is needed to be done by the current owner of the building. We do not know how long that will take, but we hope to have all the papers ready by the end of 2016, so the purchase may take place at the very beginning of 2017. The first fundraising goal is $150K US for a purchase.
We realize the amount we need to raise with the help of Western supporters is huge for one single organization or by a single supporter, so we’re going to present this need to all possible supporters we have contact with.
We’re not dealing with a big database of possible Western donors – we have contacts with 3-4 organizations and with a little number of potential individual contributors.
We understand the difficulty of a potential donor in considering giving to such a project like ours. The difficulty is – why should I give, say $1,000.00 US, when the overall cost is so huge and my contribution will not make any big change?
Understanding such concerns, we encourage all possible donors to “giving pledges” to our project. At this stage we do not ask for money, but rather for the commitment to give us a certain amount of money if we are successful in raising the overall amount we need. We’ll make any further decisions regarding the project, based on the promised/committed funds we have.
If by the time of a purchase we have less than half of the purchase cost in pledges, and the owner will not agree to postpone it, then we’ll not move into the project.
In case we have half or above the funds in pledges, we’ll ask all the contributors to send us their pledged funds for the project hoping to have the balance for purchase being raised-up locally. We promise to provide all the contributors with detailed information on the usage of your money entrusted to us.
We ask you to pray for this project and if led by God participate financially in our vision for the expansion of the ministry in Kharkov area and beyond to Eastern and North-East Ukraine.
Do not hesitate to contact us for more details on the project and for more information on our church.
The Church Council
Pictured Above: Pastors (from left to right) – Anatoly Polyashenko, Sergey Datsko and Alexander Vyalov
Members of the Church Council:
Sergey Datsko, Pastor (contact person): firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexander Vyalov, Pastor (English speaking contact person) - email@example.com
Anatoly Polyashenko, Pastor
Yuri Krivoshey, Deacon
Andrey Ridny, Deacon
Alexander Maleev, Deacon
Piotr Gubka, Deacon
Igor Andreev, Council member
Sergey Bondarenko, Council member – Treasurer
Vitaliy Solonar, Council member – Secretary
Vitaliy Datsko, Council member