The Development of the Ukraine Project
After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, conditions were extremely poor in Ukraine (imagine the American Depression of the 1920s). A severe food shortage (even bread was not always available), extreme rates of inflation (more than 200% annually), high unemployment and political unrest led to a harsh life for many believers. American faith-based organizations mobilized to provide assistance during the crisis, providing both humanitarian aid and establishing educational institutions. In 1991, a partnership for humanitarian aid was established between the Minnesota Baptist Conference (MBC) and the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical-Christian Baptists (AUAECB). This cooperative effort provided the most convenient route to bring assistance to the country, without having to battle harsh government regulations and extreme tariffs. As part of the partnership, professional musicians from American orchestras and universities traveled to Ukraine as part of cross-cultural outreach teams.
In 1996, through the contacts established by these musicians, the AUAECB requested that MIWC begin to work in Ukraine (1) for assistance in helping the Ukrainian musicians from who were suffering because of the poor economic conditions, by providing training in music education and teaching, (2) to expand the opportunities, previously non-existent, for Ukrainian youth to receive music instruction and train children and youth for active outreach service, (3) to assist in the training of music and worship leadership, and (4) to assist in the development of the musical life of the Ukrainian churches.
MIWC representatives first visited Ukraine in 1997, and have been actively partnering with Ukrainian leaders since that time. The overall purpose of our mission is to provide training and support for the developing ministry in Ukraine and in countries of the former Soviet Union. The project has grown to include active participation in outreach ministry, the development of faith-based music schools, and regular teaching seminars and training programs for ministers, leaders, and educators.
There are three main phases to the Ukraine Project:
- Training and Leadership Development: MIWC offers classes, conferences, and other professional development opportunities for future and current organization and church leaders, educators, conductors, and musicians. Areas of focus include: Biblical Principles of Worship, Theology of Worship, Biblical Principles of Leadership, and Administrative Development. This ministry is closely coordinated with the AUAECB and is offered through the Christian Music Academy in Kyiv.
(Core Value 2: Leadership and Teacher Training, Core Value 3: Active Engagement)
- 2. Joint Worship/Music Ministry: Working closely with the Baptist Union of Ukraine, we have helped direct the founding of the National Christian Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. This group provides support and provides worship for regional, national, and international Christian conferences and meetings. The NCSO serves as an outreach tool through participation with such organizations as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Don Betts Evangelistic Association, in addition to providing outreach opportunities for local churches. The orchestra has given over 100 performances since its inception in 1998.
In addition, MIWC has facilitated numerous visits, teaching opportunities, and performance/outreach events in Ukraine for music groups, teachers, performers, and others from faith-based organizations.
(Core Value 1: Relationship Building, Core Value 3: Active Engagement)
3. Educational Development: Working closely with local churches in the UBU, we have overseen and provided direct training and financial support for the development of Faith-based Music Schools. These schools serve as a means to train future generations of musicians in Ukrainian churches but are also a vital link to the community, and have been an outstanding means of outreach to families. There are currently 17 schools in operation in Ukraine, with requests to start more. In addition, MIWC serves as a conduit to link potential student interns, teachers and performers with other opportunities to serve in Ukraine. For example, the camp ministry in Ukraine is very effective and has been used with great success to support children and families and MIWC has provided guidance and planning assistance with multiple camp ministries throughout the country. (Core Value 3: Active Engagement)
Map of Ukraine and Selected MIWC Partnership Sites (back to top)
AUAECB Office and Music Academy: (3) Kyiv (Kiev)
Music Schools (West to East): (1) L'viv, (2) Rivne, (3) Kyiv, (4) Vinnitsya, (5) Odesa, (6) Mykolayiv, (7) Kherson, (8) Simferopol, (9) Zaporizhzhya, (10) Donetsk
Outreach Events: () Uzhhorod, L'viv, Chernivtsi, Lutsk, Rivne, Khmelnytski, Vinnitsya, Zhytomyr, Odesa, Izmayil, Melitopol, Berdyansk, Mariupol, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Kyiv