Pastors, ministers and leaders of church work day and night in the name of the Lord. They diligently work to share the truth, to direct the church in vision for the sake of God’s Kingdom so that the Gospel would spread beyond the building they gather in for meetings; in order that life of grace, love and truth would really be practical in the life of every Christian person in the church. God’s Word gives a general vision to the pastor and every Christian. How can a pastor pass on and practically teach the members of his church what God says? And how can he help, instruct and support others in their personal problems and needs? Where would he find ideas and strength for everyday work?
Pastor Vladimir Troshin serves at Grace Avenue Bible Church (TSBC) in Sacramento, USA for over seventeen years. Shortly after his ordination to be a pastor, brother Vlad applied to the Precept Ministries Eurasia Institute to study Bible in depth. In December 2015, he graduated from the Institute in Sacramento.
Svetlana Sinyaya: How did you learn about Precept Ministries?
Vladimir Troshin: It was a long time ago. I remember, Vasile and Nastica Filat came to Sacramento. They shared about the ministry, and I became interested. I studied at all 9 sessions of the Institute and taught these courses. I had a group in our church. I also taught using these courses in my home group. Then I passed on this ministry to another leader. I also opened a group for women who were left without husbands or were divorced. I wanted to gather them somehow. And I believed that it would be pointless to gather them with no purpose. It was better if I would study Bible with them.
SS: What did you see was valuable in Precept Ministries?
VT: I wanted to know and think more. I wanted to saturate my brain with the Word. And I could not do so just with reading. I read commentaries, but it was not enough. I always felt some thirst and some lacking. When we began to learn – study at home and in the class – then I realized, “Finally! This is exactly what I needed. Now I can understand the text in its context and to make conclusions. Now I can make correct application.”
Honestly, it was like some kind of discovery. I was not familiar with this before. Yes, we tried to read books, to interpret text, but it was all done deductively. We took thoughts from someone else and used them. And often times, these opinions were incorrect. Here I discovered a whole new world of studying Scriptures, knowledge of the Scriptures and new approach to it. I was very surprised when people would not want to come to the studies. I remember, we announced in church. I also invited my acquaintances. I thought, everyone should come and everyone should study this! When you are in a continuous study process, you live it. Yes, it is necessary. It is important.
What I found most valuable is approach to the Scriptures. We ask questions to the text. I never asked so many questions to the text. We make lists. It may seem that it is just a usual list, but you discover so much valuable for application. Maybe you read through Bible so many times in the year, but you did not retrieve much.
Then I also saw that when I prepare for sermon, I no longer desire to look at what others think. I work directly with the text. First, I observe. Then I interpret, and then I make an application. I even include application in my sermons now. I have an introduction, which is the main part; I also have conclusions; and now I include application. I took this from our lessons. I really like this because I use it myself. Application is very important to me.
And when you directly study the text, you find that Bible interprets Bible. One text interprets another text in Bible. Bible is self-sufficient. This is very important. Yes, then I use other commentaries. What I noticed is that if the text was observed poorly, then such conclusions are made that were not in the text. When we interpret the Holy Scriptures, we should know the text very well.
And now when I read Bible, I ask questions. I cannot get ready for a sermon and not ask questions. I even write the six questions – Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? – in the margins where I read. And then my sermon should answer these questions. Again, I took this skill from the Inductive Bible study. So it was a whole new discovery for me. It is a great blessing for me. This is why I think, it would be good if these courses would be taught at the Bible colleges and schools. I heard from brothers that they go through this method, but they pass through it. In my opinion, it would be very wise to go through these courses in order to approach the text correctly. It will bring blessing.
It is effective and useful to lead group studies at home on the basis of Bible study with inductive method. It is not complex. Yes, it requires time and consistency. If you miss something, you are behind. Here we need to be consistent and diligent and do homework lessons. I am amazed that there are such blessed courses.
SS: What resources did you utilize and found useful?
VT: I studied at all nine sessions and used textbooks from these courses, studied at home and also taught using the textbooks. Group members would buy textbooks, and we would study together.
SS: What would you like to wish to a minister/pastor who is looking for a direction in the ministry for next year or needs support and encouragement today?
VT: I would like to share an encouragement. It is only that a church is not a human idea. It is something that God works through here on earth. Actually, this is what God does these days is building the church. It was so, and it continues to be. And God, so to speak, leads us into this project. We are His co-workers in His building, in His church. This is a privilege. Just imagine: God Who is the Creator of Universe, Galaxies and nature, all visible and invisible, Creator of a human – and He builds a church, and you are His co-worker in building the church. This inspires me. And I think, every minister should be inspired by this knowledge and would have a new desire for work.
Besides this, we should always understand that we are temporal here. And we should not relax. We have no right to relax or stop working at some point or retire. In any case, until the end of the days (until God takes us from this earth), we should serve. God has certain intentions, certain goal for every person, especially for a minister. And we cannot just leave and retire. Yes, I understand, we may change our ministry, but we cannot leave from the “church construction”. We should be involved in this construction of Christ’s church.
Next session in Sacramento will be lead for pastors, ministers and leaders on topic of “Spiritual Gifts” on December 5 – 15, 2016. Everyone interested in the study are invited to study and examine spiritual gifts that are given to God’s man so that personal calling would be successfully fulfilled and to help others to define their spiritual gifts.
The session will be lead at 1425 Grace Ave, Sacramento, CA 95838. You may register for it by calling (916) 247-6394 or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.