Newsletters and Updates on CRM/Imago Christi ministry in Saint Petersburg, Russia and beyond

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The O'Byrne Report, January 2016 (archive)

Prayer Requests:
  • Praise and thanks for God's incredible goodness to us in our transition from Russia to Denver.
  • We are very grateful for the sympathy shown to Priscilla as her father (Pastor Walter Menges) passed into glory.
  • Praises for Liam and Olivia's adjustments to life in the US, and Colorado.  Please continue to pray because they are still adjusting.  Pray for school decisions for Olivia for next school year.
  • We are thankful that Gillian and Karina could join us in Denver for both Thanksgiving and Christmas!
  • Pray for Olga as she leads another Discovery event in Russian in February. 
  • Continue to pray for comfort in our continuing grief over "losing our lives in St. Pete" that we loved! 
  • Praises for new opportunities to minister to and deep the spiritual life of Christian leaders both locally and overseas. 

SF Discoveries:
In the last four months, Imago Christi held four Spiritual Formation Discovery events in Arizona, California and Idaho for a total of over 120 participants! These events consistently encourage isolated Christian leaders in their spiritual growth, helping them appreciate all that the Lord has led them through, how the Lord is continually wooing them into deeper intimacy with Him so they can face the challenges of their journey ahead. Here's just one testimony from Phoenix:

"The Discovery truly helped me see where I have come from, where I am, and excitement for where I am going with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Coupled with the Movements of Growth, I became more aware of why I have the longings that are the very breath of my soul in relationship with God." 

For the "Big Picture" of CRM/Imago Christi's ministry impact, see "2015 CRM Annual Report" below:

Angels of the Blockade:
Earlier this month my former-colleague at Saint Petersburg Christian University, Dr. Marina Sergeyevna Karetnikova (86), passed into the arms of her Savior. Her passing inspired me to finally publish Angels of the Blockade -- a book I had written based on interviews about how she had survived the Blockade of Leningrad in WWII as a child with her believing family under the added pressures of Soviet persecution.

Her compelling story shows the significant role that one family of Christians played, and how Russian Christians helped other people survive the Blockade with dignity and with faith in God. This story could not have been told during the militantly atheist, soviet era, but it has an important message to convey to post-soviet Russians, who believe that chance or their own strength saved them from fascism. God did not abandon Russia. Faith in God was the secret of strength in weakness for one of the darkest moments in history. Order your copy today (available in Paperback, Kindle and eBook formats).

Discovery in Baltic States
This week I begin holding a "virtual Discovery" over six-weeks of video conferencing with someone I'll only call Pastor S. in one of the Baltic States (in the former USSR). I mentored Pastor S. through Imago Christi's spiritual assessment tool in December, and now he has asked that I lead him through our basic experiential Discovery seminar as a foundation for mentoring him in his prayer life. Pastor S. is a prominent church-planter and leader of nationwide conferences in his country! Please pray for Pastor S. for his spiritual vitality and that of his ministries.

Lena & Russians in Denver:
Lena Makarenko is the wife of our pastor back in Russia, who came to Denver in January to visit friends and family. She introduced us to her sister-in-law in Estes Park, CO, and to the pastor of Bethany Russian Church in nearby Aurora, CO, who was her classmate back in Russia. I was promptly asked to preach the next Sunday, and am meeting the pastor to discuss further ministry opportunities.

Family News:
  • ·      Priscilla hosted both her mother and my parents in December, on top of homeschooling, teaching music at Olivia's charter school, and celebrating the holidays in a brand new city.
  • ·      Gillian finished her student teaching, and is filling out job applications during her last semester at Wheaton College!
  • ·      Karina is a sophomore French Horn major at Wheaton, the chaplain of the Symphonic Orchestra, and the Christian Life assistant to the RA on her floor!
  • ·      Liam is now playing basketball for Jim Elliot Christian School, but he has also participated in Worship Dance and Drama presentations!
  • ·      Olivia is progressing with homeschooling and her charter school weekly classes. She enjoys moving up in gymnastics and performing in a local worship dance company.

Leadership Transition:
In addition to my personal Spiritual Formation ministry to Christian leaders, in April I will officially transition into the role of "team leader" for the Imago Christi ministry team in CRM. This month I benefitted from a CRM mission-wide team leader training, and I am in the midst of conducting the Role Review and Goal Setting processes for all our staff.

Imago Christi “cultivates spiritual depth in ministry leaders” who minister among:  
the Poor, in the Church and pioneering New Ground,
so that God will be renowned and disciples made among the nations! 

The main tasks of my leadership of this team will be to:
  • ·       Expand our training and resource offerings
  • ·       Build the community of our present members
  • ·       Train our members and partners
  • ·       Coordinate spiritual formation communities regionally and internationally
  • ·       Collaborate with other spiritual formation ministries, seminaries and mission agencies, and
  • ·       Recruit more “spiritual formation missionaries” to help people lead their ministries out of their intimacy with Christ.

2015 Annual CRM Report:
Go to and click "Download Report" (or simply click HERE) to see the overall statistics and impact of Church Resource Ministries' teams over 2015. 

Imago Christi belongs to the "mobilizing the Church" initiative. As a subset of CRM's report, the following numbers for the 2014-15 ministry year can give you a feel for the number of leaders and ministry situations that YOU have had an influence on through Imago Christi: our Discovery retreats, personal coaching and mentoring. Thank you for partnering with us!

1. Pre-Christians ministered to – 33
2. New Christians estimated from our work– 59
3. Senior Pastors ministered to – 26
4. Spouses of Pastors ministered to – 20
5. Other Church and Pastoral Staff – 71
6. Young Emerging Leaders ministered to – 21
7. People Directly Trained by Imago Christi– 671
8. Leaders Developed by Leaders trained and coached by Imago Christi– 243
9. Small Churches (0-125) Ministered to – 11
10. Medium Churches (126-350) Ministered to – 4
11. Larger Churches (351-750) Ministered to – 3
12. Extended Consulting with Churches – 5
13. Nations that Imago Christi touched – 10 (Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Nicaragua, Russia, Singapore, UK, USA)
14. Denominations that Imago Christi served – 27
15. Mission Agencies that Imago Christi served – 10
16. Other Ministries that Imago Christi served – 11 

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