Save a pastor: How to prevent turning heroes into martyrs



by Yaroslav Malko, President of Global Christian Support (Kiev and Atlanta, Georgia)

It’s not a secret to anyone that the LNR and DNR militarized groups don’t honor evangelical pastors at all. Recent arrests and killings are proof of that. A few weeks ago I started seeing messages from some church workers about how they are impressed by the bravery of the pastors who didn’t leave occupied cities and are continuing to conduct services there… It sounds good, seems nice… Here is one such message: (Names of the church and workers are deleted)

“It was a big inspiration for me to hear from Pastor XX that none of the churches of ‘XXX’ were closed and that services are continuing to be held in all regions of Ukraine, including Donetsk, Kramatorsk, and other cities located in the danger zone.

And I, frankly, am impressed with the courageousness of our pastors. They are brave people, who do not leave the church. They risk their well-being and their lives to continue to serve God.”

To be honest, I am just as impressed with them, but I have a few questions:

1. Could pastors, by setting the example of not moving out of the war zone, unintentionally place themselves and other people under gun fire (which is no longer a death for Christ)?

2. Keeping in mind the intolerance of many “rebels” toward Evangelical Christianity, aren’t we turning large gatherings into great targets for arrests and roundups  –  and pastors and leaders into ideal subjects for kidnappings?

3. Wouldn’t it be better if church workers organized a temporary move for themselves and their people and, instead of heroic words, found churches, homes, finances, and help for the temporary relief of refugees?

4. Is it possible for those who, for one reason or another, can’t move to gather in small groups at nearby houses for prayers and to receive their spiritual teaching via internet or phone?

5. Is it possible to leave only dedicated leaders in the cities– without their other family members?

6. We are not North Korea, where people don’t have a choice… maybe instead of uplifting words, people just need a helping hand?

I would love to hear your point of view on these questions.


Translated by Larisa Tustin, edited by Lisa Spencer and Elizabeth Martin



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