Hello, to everyone somehow involved in our Internet ministry, over the last few years. First I need to introduce myself to you. My name is Vasil Petrov Petrov and I am from Gabrovo. I have been brought up in a Christian family and I have been disciplined into the principles of the Word of the Lord since childhood. I am a 3rd generation pastor into my family. My grandfather, Vasil Velinov from Vratza related to me from my mother’s side, has given his life to Jesus in his youth. It was not a long time until he founded a church in Vratza and became its pastor. He has been prosecuted by the communist authorities, but he remained faithful to the Lord through all the years of his life! Tirelessly, he was going around the churches around the county of Vratza and encouraging them into the truths of the God’s Word. My father Peter Vasilev is a believer since his childhood. Later in his life, he has been anointed to be a pastor of the church in Gabrovo and followed the his responsibility from God to be setting up some new churches in this area. His aunt Maria Boicheva from Varna is the woman who was used by God for the planting of the first church in Gabrovo, whose pastor I am at present. I have never been an agent of Natioanal Security, and I have publicly published a copy of the document that proves that. I say this because a person must know who is being lead and taught by. History always has its importance and influences the future and the growth of a church.
The church through the years
The big vision “ Internet Church ”. Why is this necessary?
I want to share that when we talk for church, first we got to have in mind church in periods of time and her development. Everything that I will say now is connected with big vision and transformation of the church, which I see in the next 10-15 years.
First, lets definite the meaning of church. Let me say, that the church of Christ of the New Testament is:
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
The church is not religious situation, but body of Christ.
The word “church” means on Greece “ekklesia” – convention, society of the called – this meeting from people can change with years the way of its meeting like home, room, church building and etc., but never the bible way of the church, more specific: church, that is not guided by the Holy Spirit of God, via the gifts of the Spirits, named in water and Spirit,/new birth/, edified from the gifts of the ministry of the Christ body, with purpose to perfect the saints.The Holy Scripture is saying that it is a creation and spiritual body of Christ.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The stone here is not Peter, like many people reading fast the verse get confused, but Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Having in mind that the church went trough periods of time, she changed its vision /inside and outside/ many times until now and I dare to say not always to better. One Bulgarian respected from me friend, theologian and Doctor of Theology, once said to me: “I explored the bible and the times that the church have passed and it’s shown clearly that each 15 to 20 years she is suffering from some transformation or reforms, each time different for better or worse.”
I can believe him for that, because when I noticed the same in the past 30 years. Don’t wonder about that because I had the privilege from 10 year old to know what is church.When we talk about the Christ body before the 1990 years, I remember that:he church was at home, because the communist power was chasing the ones that believe and they tried to scare and punish those, who did not obey. Free minded faith was unthinkable in that time.Can we say that people then, who gathered in secret places of private houses are “SAVED” because of the faith in Jesus? Definitely! YES!In that kind of church passed my childhood and me. For that period of time I can speak and say, that the church was characterized with her loyalty, sacrifice, purity and holiness. The Holy Spirit was something real in every single meeting, because the people that were meeting together lived with fear from God and love, one to another.
After 1990 year came the so called “revive”. Every single one of those little societies from home groups were grouped and signed in the Ministry of the confessions like a part from different dominations. That was the only way to have publicity and to preach on public places. When it was given right on public meetings everybody started to pay and to hire halls to collect more supporters. Because of the news of this thing, that people of the communist Bulgaria herd for the first time, many of them started coming in the halls and listened to the Bible, some from curiosity, others from a desire to learn something new.
We used to fill up the stadiums, and I personally have a video, where you can see 15 000 people in the town of Gabrovo listening to the gospel and giving their lives to Jesus. We had enormous growth and our church reached its maximum capacity of 500 people in the chamber in just 2 years. Thus far, it seemed as everything was going great!
The time of the foreigners with their cameras came. There is no something wrong with that, because most of them came to help the tortured Bulgarian souls to grow spiritually, and to help the church materially, but many churches and movements formed from the motive of gathering funds from foreign countries, and not because God has called them to serve Him. Even the called ones, as soon as they laid their eyes on a little money, left the initial teaching of Christ and dashed into making the new model of their church, so it may please the ones, who are ready to give. They changed haircuts, clothes, buildings, churches, even their spiritual honor and dignity, only to please people. This led to the complete failure of everything. My backward glance to those years is that the church was commercialized and forgot about the Lord. There was a lot of talking about Jesus, but the motives were different. Brothers betrayed brothers, father betrayed son, son betrayed father, and friends did mean tricks to friends, only to get themselves on the money, provided by the foreign institutions. Church buildings were built and this was always dependent on money for their completion. The more enterprising and the well connected ones were privileged, while others were left just dreaming. In the fight for building many servants of God forgot about Him altogether, let alone about their church. This and many other reasons led to the exodus of people from the church, in which they didn’t see any more sense.
In the last 15 years this, what we had foretold and what God had told us, came to be, but many people didn’t have the ears to listen. Logically people withdraw themselves from the church gatherings, which were done in a hall, and began to gather where they wanted and with whom they wanted. The sermons became more and more sugary, just to be able to keep the auditorium. If someone didn’t like something, they could decide to change the church and that was it. Of course God became angry because of this and as if everything fell apart, when people found out, that most of the Christian leaders were former employees of the State security. This really shook many people. They felt that their money was taken from dishonest pretenders and for their own personal gain and left with nowhere to go. Just leaving you with those facts, you could see that the devil was trying to disarm the church and make it mediocre. Of course God has put people with pure hearts everywhere, that are ready to serve him, and this is exactly what he told me to do – gather them together. There are 15-20 years more to come, in which things will radically change and we have to adjust to this new time.