How is the Mission of God Progressing in the Midst of the War in Ukraine?

In this week’s episode of the Theology for the People podcast, Michael Payne and I speak with George and Sharon Markey, who are missionaries in Kyiv, Ukraine. George has been in Ukraine for 30 years now, and is able to give unique insight into what is happening there right now in the midst of the war.

Back in March, I posted an interview I recorded with George in Budapest, in which he talked about what was happening then, at the beginning of the war. You can listen to that interview here: The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: How to Pray & How to Help – with George Markey

In this discussion, recorded when George and Sharon visited us in Colorado in June of 2022, George tells the story of how his family moved to Ukraine in 1992, and Sharon tells her story of meeting George and joining him on the mission field.

They talk about their family’s experience in evacuating from Ukraine when the war began and how they are continuing to reach out with the love of Jesus to the Ukrainian people, and how the mission of God is progressing even in the midst of the current calamity.

Check out George and Sharon’s new website, mentioned in the episode: BridgeUA.org

This episode was originally recorded for the White Fields Community Church YouTube channel. Please visit and subscribe to that, and you can visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org

If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content.

Click here to listen to the episode, or listen in the embedded player below.

How is the Mission of God Progressing in the Midst of the War in Ukraine? Theology for the People

In this episode, Michael Payne and Nick Cady speak with George and Sharon Markey, missionaries in Ukraine. George tells the story of how his family moved to Ukraine in 1992, and Sharon tells her story of meeting George and joining him on the mission field. They talk about their family's experience in evacuating from Ukraine when the war began and how they are continuing to reach out with the love of Jesus to the Ukrainian people, and how the mission of God is progressing even in the midst of the current calamity. Check out George and Sharon's new website, mentioned in the episode: BridgeUA.org This episode was originally recorded for the White Fields Community Church YouTube channel. Please visit and subscribe to that, and you can visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org

10 Years… Part 1

This March, my trip to Hungary to visit, encourage, and support our friends and co-laborers in the gospel from Ukraine coincided with the 10 year anniversary of me leaving Hungary to move to Colorado.

For more on what we did on that trip, see: Ukraine Relief Update: What We Did in Hungary & Ukraine

On Women’s Day, March 8, 2012, we left the beautiful city of Eger, where all of our kids (up until that point) had been born, and boarded a flight bound for Germany, on route to San Diego.

Eger, looking north from the city center. The minaret is the northern-most Turkish minaret in Europe, and the long yellow building behind it is where my kids were born. The church on the hill is a Serbian Orthodox Church; we started the Eger church in the neighborhood next to it.

We left part of our hearts there. People often ask me if I miss living in Hungary, and the answer is: Yes, I miss it so bad it hurts, every day. This isn’t to say that I’m not content where I am, or that I am planning to move back – it’s just the truth. I spent my entire adult life in Hungary up until we left. When we moved to Colorado, I had never been an adult in America before, and there was a learning curve, for sure.

Not only did we leave behind our beloved city, more significantly, we left behind a ministry we loved: one we started and nurtured.

We moved to Eger in 2005 with a vision to start a church which would be self-sustaining, that would be focused on evangelism and discipling those who became Christians through our outreaches, and we hoped that someday that church would have a Hungarian pastor, preferably someone who had been raised up through our ministry. Additionally, we hoped to start a “daughter church” out of that church, and to take the people of that church on mission trips themselves.

By God’s grace, all of these dreams came to fruition.

In January 2012, I handed over leadership of the Eger church to Jani, and he celebrated his 10 year anniversary as pastor earlier this year.

I had the opportunity to preach at the church when I was there this year, exactly 10 years to the week of my departure. I preached in Hungarian, which I miss doing.

The church recently moved into a new location, about 2 blocks from where they used to meet, and still in the heart of the city center, right on the main walking street, with a balcony overlooking it.

Standing on the balcony of the new church meeting place in downtown Eger.

Pray for Eger, and pray for Pastor Jani. He has been faithful. Pray for a fresh work of the Holy Spirit, for vision, guidance, and effective ministry.

Pastor Jani overlooking Eger from the fortress.

Ukraine Relief Update: What We Did in Hungary & Ukraine

I arrived home last night after a whirlwind trip to Europe to help with the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Many people have been interested to hear about what we did over there, and what needs and opportunities there are for help in the future, so the night before I left to come back to the US, Pastor Michael and I sat down to film a video sharing with people some of what we accomplished, and what some of the ongoing needs are.

We filmed this at the kitchen table in Michael’s old apartment in Budapest, using a broom as our camera stand!

There are many needs. Just today we have been working on wiring money to people in another city in Ukraine to help buy another van to transport food and aid, and to evacuate people. If you would like to give, we will put that money directly into the hands of people who are serving on the ground. Donations can be made here: Ukraine Relief Fund

Here’s that video update:

Heading That Way

Source: NBCnews

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was scheduled to be in Ukraine this week to visit ministry partners in Kyiv and Kharkiv, and speak at a conference in Irpin. Instead, many of the people we were going to work with are hiding in bomb shelters, basements, and metro stations because of the Russian attack. Others have left their homes for safer locations in western Ukraine or in neighboring countries.

I am so impressed with the courage and resolve of the Ukrainian people, as well as with the leadership of their president. I pray for justice to prevail, for an end to these attacks, and for peace in Ukraine.

Just today, Russian military shelled a residential neighborhood in Kharkiv, killing at least 11, and injuring others. The reality is, even if everything were to end today, what has been done so far has already caused suffering and loss which cannot be reversed, and has caused damage which will take years to recover from.

Today I am flying to Hungary with 2 other pastors who served for many years in that region as missionaries. We are going to visit our missionaries who have fled there from Ukraine, take gifts and supplies for them and their kids, and explore potential opportunities for outreach to refugees, as well as ways to help those within Ukraine who are serving displaced people.

So far over 500,000 people have fled Ukraine, and that number is expected to reach up to 4,000,000 according to the UNHCR. This is a time for the church to shine, and for us to step up and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. Those I am in contact with in Ukraine and Hungary are doing just that, and it is noteworthy and beautiful. In addition to the immediate needs now, there will likely be many opportunities to help in the months and years to come.

How to Help

If you would like to give to our Ukraine Relief Fund, those funds will go to purchase needed supplies, fuel, medicines, and provide shelter for displaced people.

Missional Ecclesiology: What is the role of the church in the mission of God? – with Kellen Criswell

In this week’s episode of the Theology for the People Podcast, I am joined by Kellen Criswell.

Kellen Criswell is a pastor, ministry leader, and former missionary who holds and MA in Global Leadership from Western Seminary and is currently working on his doctorate. He is the Executive Director of Calvary Global Network and has a heart for the mission of God and the global church.

After a brief discussion about Kellen’s favorite music and the fact that he is from Utah (AKA “Colorado Jr.”), we dive into a discussion about Missional Ecclesiology, which is a way of understanding the identity, purpose, and function of the church within the Missio Dei (the love-motivated, self-sending, mission of God into the world to save, redeem, and restore).

One more thought about Utah: If you have to tell people (on your license plates) that you have “the best snow in the world,” you probably don’t. It’s kind of like using the world “Real” in a title. If you have to say that something is “real ______” – it probably isn’t. And also, what Margaret Thatcher said: “Being a leader is like being a lady: If you have to tell people you are one, you probably aren’t.” Same with the snow, Utah…

But I digress…

Ecclesiology is the discussion of what the Church is called to be and to do – including its nature, purpose, hopes, structures, and practices.

We discuss how this concept works out practically, including a discussion of “foreign missions” and how they fit into this understanding. Furthermore, we discuss what the past nearly two years of pandemic has revealed about ecclesiology, and why there is hope as we move forward.

Listen to this episode in the embedded player below or by clicking this link: Missional Ecclesiology: What is the role of the church in the mission of God? – with Kellen Criswell

Missional Ecclesiology: What is the role of the church in the mission of God? – with Kellen Criswell Theology for the People

Kellen Criswell is a pastor, ministry leader, and former missionary who holds and MA in Global Leadership from Western Seminary and is currently working on his doctorate. He is the Executive Director of Calvary Global Network and has a heart for the mission of God and the global church. In this episode we discuss Missional Ecclesiology, which is a way of understanding the identity, purpose, and function of the church within the Missio Dei (mission of God). Ecclesiology is the discussion of what the Church is called to be and to do – including its nature, purpose, hopes, structures, and practices.  We discuss how this concept works out practically, including a discussion of "foreign missions" and how they fit into this understanding. Furthermore, we discuss what the past nearly two years of pandemic has revealed about ecclesiology, and why there is hope as we move forward. Bibliography and recommended resources: Hirsch, Alan. The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating Apostolic Movements. Goheen, Michael. The Church and it’s Vocation: Leslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology.  Stetzer, Ed. Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply. Newbigin, Leslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.  Van Engen, Charles. Transforming Mission Theology.  Wright, Christopher J.H.. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Bosch, David. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission.  Hooker, Paul. "What is Missional Ecclesiology?"  Make sure to check out the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org

Make sure to check out some of the books and papers listed below for more information and study on this topic.

  1. Hirsch, Alan. The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating Apostolic Movements.
  2. Goheen, Michael. The Church and it’s Vocation: Leslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology.
  3. Stetzer, Ed. Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply.
  4. Newbigin, Leslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.
  5. Van Engen, Charles. Transforming Mission Theology.
  6. Wright, Christopher J.H.. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative.
  7. Bosch, David. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission.
  8. Hooker, Paul. “What is Missional Ecclesiology?”

A Theology of Music: Discussion with Jon Markey and Michael Payne

Jon Markey and Michael Payne are accomplished musicians, songwriters, and producers, and in the latest episode of the Theology for the People podcast, I sat down with them to talk about the theology of music.

Michael is the Worship Pastor at White Fields Community Church in Longmont, Colorado. Prior to coming to Longmont, he spent 21 years as a worship leader and missionary in Hungary, and prior to that he served in the US Marine Corps.

Jon is a pastor and missionary in Ternopil, Ukraine. He moved to Kiev, Ukraine with his family in the 1990’s, when he was 5 years old, and earned a masters degree from the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music.

Jon has been a guest on the podcast before, in fact his episode is the most-listened to episode on the podcast to date: If “It’s All Gonna Burn” Then What’s the Point? – How the Resurrection Gives Meaning to Work & Art

We recently had the pleasure of having Jon and his family visit Longmont and lead worship at our church, and while he was here, I got to sit down with him and Mike to discuss what the Bible has to say about music: its purpose, uses, and significance – including the “song of creation,” and how it serves to counteract pagan origin narratives, as well as Jubal: the first human musician, mentioned in Genesis 4, as well as other practical discussions which have modern application.

Check out Jon’s ministry: Room for More music on YouTube and his church: Calvary Chapel Ternopil (Ukraine)

Check out Michael on Spotify: Michael Payne and you can watch him on the White Fields Community Church YouTube page.

The book mentioned in this episode is Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity by Michael Card

A Theology of Music: with Jon Markey & Michael Payne Theology for the People

Michael Payne and Jon Markey are accomplished musicians, songwriters, and producers, and in this episode they talk with Nick about the theology of music. Listen in to this discussion of what the Bible has to say about music: its purpose, uses, and significance – including the "song of creation," Jubal, and practical discussions for today. Check out Jon's ministry: Room for More music on YouTube and his church: Calvary Chapel Ternopil (Ukraine) Check out Michael on Spotify: Michael Payne and you can watch him on the White Fields Community Church YouTube page. The book mentioned in this episode is Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity by Michael Card Visit the Theology for the People blog.

Contextualization and Engagement in God’s Global Mission: a Conversation with Benjamin Morrison

Benjamin Morrison

Recently we have had the pleasure of getting to spend some time with some of our missionary friends from Ukraine, who have visited our church here in Colorado.

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to sit down with pastor Benjamin Morrison from Svitlovodsk, Ukraine to talk about his life and ministry. Ben is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Svitlovodsk, Ukraine, as well as the coordinator for City to City Ukraine and is part of the leadership of City to City Europe.

This turned out to be a great conversation in which we talked about how Ben came to be a missionary in Ukraine, what it’s like doing ministry in a post-communist context, and what “contextualization” means and how it works out in practice. We finished the conversation by sharing some practical advice for those who are seeking God’s leading and direction for how they can get involved in God’s global mission.

You can watch the video below, or listen to the episode on the White Fields Church podcast.

Does Proverbs Condone Bribery? – Interview with Benjamin Morrison

On this site there is a page where readers can submit questions or suggest topics . Recently I received the following question from a reader in Ukraine:

Outside of proverbs, bribery is spoken against. Inside proverbs we see both direct opposition to it, but also some almost-approving of it. I won’t list verses which speak against it because they’re numerous and easy to find, but I’d like to hear your thoughts regarding verses like these:

A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers.
Proverbs 17:8 ESV

A gift in secret averts anger, and a concealed bribe, strong wrath.
Proverbs 21:14 ESV

Corruption and bribery are major topics here in Ukraine and we’ve dealt with this question a few times.

That’s a great question. To answer it, I reached out to a friend who lives in Ukraine where he serves as a pastor and missionary: Benjamin Morrison.

Ben has lived in Ukraine for 19 years and is the Lead Pastor of Calvary Chapel in Svitlovodsk, Ukraine, and the Director of City to City Ukraine.

We had a great discussion on this topic, which I think you will really enjoy and benefit from. In this video we discuss the nature of the Book of Proverbs, different scenarios in which bribes are asked for or offered – and how to respond in each, as well as some personal stories. Finally we end the conversation on a note of how the gospel helps and empowers us to face corruption and bribery and other things that are wrong in the world. Enjoy!

Ministry in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond

This past week I was honored to be interviewed by David Snead on his podcast. David is a missionary in Lviv, Ukraine – and he is one of the most organized people I know.

We had a great discussion about my background in ministry, ministering in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, Calvary Chapel, and expository preaching. Check it out:

Ministry Trip to Hungary and Ukraine

When I left on March 5 to Hungary and Ukraine, there was no recommendation not to travel to those areas – and even now there are very few cases of COVID-19. I am deeply concerned by the threat that this virus poses to the vulnerable and immune-compromised around the world, and am committed to doing my part to prevent the spreading of the virus.

That being said, here is an update on what Mike and I were up to in Hungary and Ukraine:

Expositors Collective Budapest

The Expositors Collective is a growing network of pastors and leaders who are committed to raising up the next generation of Christ-centered Bible teachers and preachers through interactive training seminars and a weekly podcast. 

Just last week, the Expositors Collective celebrated two years since our first training weekend in Thousand Oaks, CA! 

Since that first event, we have hosted 8 training seminars, the latest being the one in Budapest, which was a bit of a hybrid: as opposed to our usual 2-day format, we condensed it into a 1-day event, which required leaving out some aspects of our usual training. 

Budapest was also our first time working in a bilingual setting, as we had people in attendance not only from Hungary, but from surrounding countries, including Slovakia, Serbia, and Romania, as well as students from Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe.

The training went very well, and there is interest for Expositors Collective events in other European countries, as well as for the full 2-day version in Budapest at some point in the future.

Visiting Missionaries & Speaking at Churches

White Fields supports several missionaries around the world, mostly in Eastern Europe. (See: White Fields Missions) On this trip, I was able to visit all of our European missionaries except one, beginning with the Németh family in South Budapest. I had the opportunity to preach at their church, Golgota Dél-Pest. I loved getting to preach in Hungarian again. The video of that sermon is embedded below.

On Monday, March 9, Mike and I flew to Kyiv, Ukraine – where we were met by missionaries and friends: George Markey (senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Kyiv), and Nate Medlong, who serves in Kharkiv, Ukraine with Calvary Chapel Kharkiv and Fostering Hope ministry to children in foster care. Mike then took a train to Ternopil, in western Ukraine to visit missionaries there, and I went to Kharkiv with Nate to spend a few days with him, his family, and people from their church.

I taught the Thursday night service at the church in Kharkiv, after a quick trip up to Kyiv Thursday morning to speak at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, where I taught two 80-minute classes on Spiritual Formation.

This past Sunday I taught at Calvary Chapel Kyiv, their last service before the national quarantine began. Video of that message is embedded below as well.

Calvary Chapel Ukraine Leadership Conference

On Friday-Saturday we had 65 Calvary Chapel leaders from all over Ukraine gather in Irpin for the annual leadership conference. This was a time of teaching, training, and discussing leadership principles from God’s Word in order to help us lead our churches well. Click here for photos of the conference.

With the spread of COVID-19, these gatherings are no longer possible or wise, but in God’s providence we were able to hold them while it was still safe and wise to do so.

It was a fruitful time of ministry, and great times of fellowship with people who are doing important work in a place where it is very needed. Please keep the work of these leaders and churches in your prayers that God would bless and use their ministries for His glory and for the good of many people!