It’s a long trip from Russia to Clarks Summit University. Baptist Bible Seminary student Evgeny Bakhmutsky (’16) made the trek to attend on-campus modules for his Doctor of Ministry degree. He brought with him a contagious joy, enthusiasm for studying God’s Word and passion for sacrificially serving in ministry. As he began his classes at BBS, Bakhmutsky was named senior vice president of the Union of Evangelical Christian-Baptists Churches of Russia, putting him in a position to oversee the operations of more than 2,000 churches in Russia.
Faithful Through Persecution
Bakhmutsky and Christians have freedom for their faith, but the government instills limitations on the ways they can minister. These restrictions don’t compare to the history of Bakhmutsky’s family of evangelical believers who went through intense persecution for their faith in Communist-era Russia. Because of faithful service to Christ, his great-grandfather was shot and killed, grandfather imprisoned, father beaten and remaining family sent into exile in Siberia.
“All this has greatly influenced my life,” admits Bakhmutsky. “Since I was a toddler, I was taught to memorize Scripture because of the serious lack of printed Bibles among Christians. Knowing ‘the Book’ by heart, I was told, would be especially vital in case I got imprisoned without a Bible.”
His family knew the risks of evangelizing and pastoring, but the persecution did not slow their efforts. Bakhmutsky carries this same passion as he labors to further the kingdom of Christ in a country that is recovering from dark times under the Communist rule. According to Bakhmutsky, by the end of 1926, there were about 2 million evangelicals in a newly declared Soviet Union. By 1959, the numbers were reduced to a mere 200,000. In Russia itself (apart from other republics) only 45,000 remained alive.
Despite all of this, he admits, “I am passionate about seeing Christ preached, proclaimed and glorified. I am praying and striving to see a spiritual awakening in Russia. So for 25 years of my life I have been doing ministry, and I think I am more happy than I’ve been before. It’s not because of my achievements; I’m happy because I know the Lord more, and I see how He uses me. It’s amazing. I feel like I’m in the best adventure.”
Life in Russia
Bakhmutsky faced adversity in his early years of ministry, receiving death threats as his youth ministry became more influential. He went on to be the founder two prospering ministries, the National Youth Ministry of Russian Baptist Union and Russian Bible Church in Moscow, where he serves as the pastor-teacher. Bakhmutsky is influential through his writing and was a radio host for a well-known Russian program.
Equipped on the Summit
A BBS education equipped Bakhmutsky as he is “developing a church-planting movement across the country,” he explains. “I now have many tools, many insights and practical ideas. I gave my understanding, and I got reflection from my professors, which helped to shape and develop my perspective and my strategy. I’ve received so much here, I think it’s going to last for the rest of my life.”
As Bakhmutsky continues to pursue his dream of spiritual reformation in Russia, he cherishes his time at CSU, sharing, “I really felt cared for and loved. It became family for me in so many ways. Everything was like a piece of heaven here.”
Nathan Miller (’15)