Five years ago, Oleg, the president of Radooga Ministries, with leading from the Lord made a decision – to take the “Christian” out of his camps.
Reaching the Un-churched
Ukraine is a country with 2.5% Evangelicals, it’s considered a cult by the Orthodox Church. Oleg knew this market was never going to create a self-sustaining camp ministry. It’s too small, and the majority of believers come from lower income families. A change had to be made, and the range of Radooga’s reach needed to be expanded.
“Christian camps in Ukraine would not get you very far (in creating a self-sustaining model.) We had to create educational camps. We had to eliminate things like Bible studies. We had to remove things like worship. We had to remove things like preaching at the camp,” says Oleg.
“This whole time I was struggling inside. Is this the right thing to do? After we ran our first camp, we’ve realized there was more Jesus per every square inch of that camp than at some of the Christian camps that I’ve done.”
By taking away all the rituals at the camps, the Radooga staff had to look for opportunities to share the love of Christ in the day to day. “We had to retrain Christian kids who come as counselors to look for opportunities and initiate those conversations,” Oleg says.
Training Believers to Share Christ
Oleg believes this retraining equips Christian kids to be able to find moments and share the gospel in the workplace, in social groups, in places where “traditional” ministry has no traction.
“A major reason why Ukraine remains one of the top countries in corruption, with all the religious freedom we have, is we as Christians have never transferred our values from ‘pure, perfect, spiritual, church ministry’ into the ‘secular, dirty, messy ministry,’” Oleg says. “Once that happens, we’ll see different results in Ukraine.”
From struggling to pay employees to being over 75% self-sustaining, Radooga camps are reaching orphans to the children of the elite. They are seeing young people come to Christ, young people who are positioned to change Ukraine in the future through business, society, and government.
Radooga needs you! Volunteers determine how many camps Radooga can run. Even if the only thing you bring to the table is native English and love for the Lord, you are wanted.
At Radooga you can teach English, music, video, design, acting, software development, and game development. This summer they will run 13 camps and they still need volunteers.
If you’d like to know more about Radooga and how to get involved, visit www.radooga.com today!
One Challenge is an international mission sending agency empowering local church ministry in more than 100 countries around the world. One Challenge uses sports as a vehicle to create opportunities for sharing the gospel, planting churches, helping churches engage their communities, and developing disciple-making networks. Contact the OC Sports Ambassadors at SA@oci.org or go their special Sports Ambassadors website.