VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/1/12)—Two new videos both featuring Malkhaz Songulashvili, archbishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church (EBC) of the Republic of Georgia have been released by American Baptist International Ministries (IM). The videos can be viewed and downloaded from http://www.internationalministries.org/podcasts.
Songulashvili serves the Baptist Church in a variety of ways in the Republic of Georgia, located south of Russia and north of Turkey. In addition to holding the position of Archbishop of the EBC, he serves as senior pastor of the Cathedral Baptist Church in the capital city of Tbilisi and director of the Betheli Humanitarian Association. He is the United Bible Societies Representative in Georgia and a lecturer in church history and theology at the State University. As time allows, he is engaged in PhD studies at the Oxford Center for Mission Studies in London, England.
A gifted author, Songulashvili has written textbooks of Old and New Testament stories approved by the Georgian Ministry of Education. He also translated scripture into modern Georgian language for the United Bible Societies.
The Republic of Georgia has been an historic center for an evangelical Baptist witness for almost two centuries. The relationship between Georgian Baptists and American Baptists strengthened after Georgia gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. IM Executive Director Dr. Reid Trulson and Songulashvili first met at a gathering of the European Baptist Federation (EBF). Trulson and his wife, Janelle, were serving as appointed missionaries of IM in a liaison role as American Baptist representatives to the EBF.
In an interview with IM staff last September, Songulashvili affirmed the partnership between IM and the Evangelical Baptist Church of the Republic of Georgia. “I believe Christianity is about relationship and, therefore, we need to have more encounters, more personal encounters, in order to feel that we belong to the same project—as it were, God’s project. We are part of the same church and have the responsibility to help each other in carrying out the common mission,” commented Songulashvili in part of a 6:40 minute video, entitled “Interview.”
In the second video, entitled “Hear the Call,” which runs 8:18 min., Songulashvili recounts the story of his own call to ministry. In the early 1990s when the Soviet Union fell, Songulashvili was 29 and teaching at the state university. He recalls, “The church felt like it needed new leadership…. I was too young to be elected leader of the church… I was not ordained… I was not a preacher.” Find out why Songulashvili eventually accepted the unusual call from God and about his ministry during the last 20 years.
Trulson noted, “God is continuing to surprise us with good and creative steps arising from the mutual respect and integrity of relationship between Georgian and American Baptists. The witness of Archbishop Songulashvili and other Georgian Baptists is an incredible encouragement to us.”
The Songulashvili videos are part of the On Location Podcast series. IM’s podcasts bring viewers the stories of IM missionaries, volunteers and global partner organizations as they carry the message of God’s love and hope to people all around the world. Podcasts are short videos that are easily viewed on the IM website or downloaded for later viewing. To see the complete collection of IM podcasts, go to http://www.internationalministries.org/podcasts.
American Baptist International Ministries is a Christian mission organization, connecting U.S. churches and individuals to holistic missions around the world. Organized in 1814, American Baptist International Ministries is the first Baptist mission agency formed in North America. We serve more than 1,800 short-term and long-term missionaries annually, bringing U.S. and Puerto Rico churches together with partners in over 70 countries to tell the good news of Jesus Christ while meeting human needs. IM’s mission is to glorify God in all the earth by crossing cultural boundaries to help people come to Christ, grow in Christ and change their worlds with Christ.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.