Five years ago, Pastor Viktor Prokhor
began Life Christian Church in Tacoma, Wash., with 13 people. Today the Assemblies
of God Slavic congregation has swelled to more than 500 people.
The church recently formed a unique
ministry partnership, purchasing a new worship center from North Shore Assembly
of God for $1.7 million, thanks to a loan from A/G Financial. Nearly 1,000
people attended Life Christian Church’s building dedication in May.
Life Christian Church is allowing
North Shore A/G to use the 15,000-square-foot facility for weekly services
while that congregation searches for another meeting site.
“We don’t have a language
barrier because we’re worshipping the same God,” says North Shore
Senior Pastor Patrick Hogan, noting his congregation meets in a classroom
while the Slavic congregation is in the sanctuary.
Prokhor, who estimates there are
nearly 10,000 Slavic people in Tacoma, says the facility is an answer to prayer.
Churchgoers are in the building nearly every day, whether it’s for youth
services, choir practice or volunteers completing projects around the church.
Life Christian Church has grown,
Prokhor says, because congregants appreciate the liberty they have to worship
God freely in the United States.
“In past years they went
through persecution because they didn’t have the possibility to be in
church in the Soviet Union,” Prokhor says. “In America they have
freedom and are hungry to accept the Word of God.”
Which is why Prokhor emphasizes
the congregation’s appreciation of freedom when it comes to use of the
“This facility does not belong
to us,” says Prokhor, who served as director of the Kiev Bible Institute
in Ukraine for three years before coming to the United States in 1998. “This
is God’s house and we dedicated it for Him and want to use it for His
Hogan says sharing a facility is
a great way to promote the importance of ethnic diversity. “God is going
to have a kingdom of all different nations, tribes and tongues,” Hogan
says. “If we can’t follow His example here on earth, how will
we do it anywhere else?”
The United States is home to 4
million Russian-speaking people, most of whom have made the move in the past
decade. The U.S. Slavic population is more than the populations of Estonia,
Latvia, Armenia and Lithuania, four of the 15 nations that once constituted
the former Soviet Union.
The Tacoma church has an active
youth group of 100 students — 15 of whom recently returned from a missions
trip to Ukraine — and it supports six missionaries in Ukraine and two
The growing Slavic congregation
is part of the A/G’s Slavic Fellowship that has grown from two churches
at its inception in 2002 to more than 20 today, plus a Bible school that meets
at Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, Calif.
James K. Bridges, general treasurer
of the Assemblies of God, says the growing number of Slavic people in the
United States is a blessing — and a tremendous opportunity.
“Each church must be aware
of the growth of ethnic groups in their community and develop
strategies to reach out to all people regardless of culture,”
says Bridges, who preached at the dedication service.