Following Up with New Baltic Believers
Online Bible Study Offers 7-Week Discipleship Course
June 14, 2012 - With hundreds of decisions made for Christ in several different languages at last weekend's Baltic Youth Festival in Riga, Latvia, a seven-week online Tuesday night Bible study is being used to help disciple new believers in Christ.
"Salvation, how to study the Bible, prayer. Everything is for new believers."
— Follow-up Coordinator Felix Voloshin
By Trevor Freeze
The aftermath of a large-scale evangelistic event such as this weekend's Baltic Youth Festival is bound to leave some wondering what the next step might be for new believers in Christ.
The energy level is still ramped up following Saturday's one-day, 10-hour outreach featuring Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Parachute Band and Franklin Graham. Nearly 20,000 heard the Gospel presented and hundreds made decisions for Christ at Arena Riga in Latvia's capital city.
"I talked to many ministers and many Christians here," Baltic Youth Festival Follow-Up Coordinator Felix Voloshin said. "And everyone's excited.
"I heard nothing bad about the Festival. No bad feedback at all."
And to capitalize on the momentum of the June 9 youth gathering from more than 10 countries, primarily Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and Russia, the Baltic Youth Festival has created a web page specifically geared toward new Christians.
Seven weekly Bible studies will be hosted on this website with a three-person panel, consisting of local pastor and Christian leaders, leading the study/discussion.
"Everything is BGEA resources but it works with an electronic format," Voloshin said.
The material is nearly identical to the Velocity discipleship study used in the Will Graham Celebrations. But because there is no word in the Latvia language that translates from Velocity, this study is being called Vektor.
"Salvation, how to study the Bible, prayer," Voloshin listed off some of the study topics. "Everything is or new believers."
Information on the online Bible study was given out with the packets of materials to those making decisions for the Lord on Saturday. In all, the Baltic Youth Festival had printed 3,000 packets of materials in five languages (Latvian, Russian, Lithuania, Estonia, English) and had only a small amount left.
"There's no Lithuanian materials left," Voloshin said. "Almost no Estonian or Latvian."
The 60-minute online Bible study will give new Christians the opportunity to send in questions through its chat room function and each week the last 15 to 20 minutes will be dedicated to answering those questions.
The pastor will give a short intro and a 20-minute talk about what the Bible says on each subject, followed by a discussion time with the three-person panel.
Each Tuesday, the study will be streamed online in Latvian from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a Russian version following from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. The online study can be accessed via a personal computer, iPad or mobile phone device.
The next challenge is to funnel all interested new Christians into local churches in their area.
"I was excited to see this program rolled out," Voloshin said. "Everything is geared toward new believers."
And Voloshin thinks the idea of meeting young people where they spend their time most — online — will be a more effective way of reaching those who may never step foot in a traditional church. And in turn, sold out young people are the best avenue to reach other youth for the Kingdom.
"If we convert young people," he said, "they will be able to preach the Gospel much more effectively."
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