Simple English and the Russian Church (in Massachusetts)
Clear and Simple Media began with a simple goal. We wanted to put tools into the hands of grass-roots church planters to help them disciple their people – especially new believers. We focused our initial endeavors on house church pastors in Vietnam. Now, more than forty languages later, our work has expanded in ways we would never have anticipated.
On our most recent trip to New England, we saw one more example of this.
More than 3 million Russian-born people are living in the United States. Eight percent of those live in the state of Massachusetts. A surprising number of those people are evangelicals. In the greater Springfield area alone, there are multiple Russian-speaking congregations with over 1,000 members. The first week in February, we had an opportunity to speak with leaders from two of those congregations.
Like many ethnic churches, the leaders face a significant challenge. First-generation immigrants in those congregations have deep commitments to holding on to the language and traditions of their mother country. The second generation, those children born in North America, live in a world where Russian is not the language they use outside of their homes. The traditions, while meaningful to their parents and grandparents, are not well suited to help them navigate their way in the world around them. How can these churches find tools to close the gaps between these generations? Both conversations touched on how our simple English materials could be a help.
Pray that those conversations will soon lead to the expanded use of our materials in these churches. Pray that the books will prove useful to them. And that this will lead to expanding opportunities to assist other immigrant churches who face similar challenges.