Monday, December 2, 2013

iAsk: Bogdan Kipko, Pastor and Lead Visionary at Intentional Christianity

Every Monday I will be posting new interviews with Christian leaders to find in-depth counsel on issues such as ministry, family, careers, politics, finance, and theology. Today's in-depth interview is with Pastor and Lead Visionary of Intentional Christianity Bogdan Kipko. Let's begin...

Paul: First if you can give a small summary of who you are, what you do and what is your greatest passion in life?  
Bogdan Kipko
Bogdan: Hi Paul, thank you so much for reaching out to me and being such an encouragement - I really appreciate it - we need more leaders like you in Christendom. Leaders that are more known for what they are for, rather than for what they are against.

I grew up in Christian home and towards my late teens, I was gripped by the gospel of Jesus and have never been the same since. I have failed miserably but Jesus saved me gloriously. I can't think of anything else I would ever want to do with my life than to preach the gospel and deliver the good news to a broken world. My goal is to help people uncover their gifts and unleash them for the glory of God and for the joy of others in their life. I want to see God's glory uncovered in the life story of every person that I meet. Someone asked me recently if I do anything exciting, besides preaching and speaking. I said that I can't think of anything more exciting than seeing dead people come alive. I love Jesus, I love my wife, I love my church and I love the people that God is constantly placing in my life.

I am currently the Lead Visionary at Intentional Christianity, a digital portal dedicated to spreading the supremacy of Jesus Christ to a world in need of radical redemption. This includes a social media think tank that is constantly producing gospel-centered content through blogging, books, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and most recently, podcasting. I am also one of the pastors at a local church where we have services in both English and Russian. In addition, I work closely with a Slavic church network overseeing over thirty churches and over two thousand young people.

In the near future, my goal is to develop a 24/7 online media channel which will stream Christ-centered content worldwide. We are also working closely with our local community in developing a non-profit organization which will house the homeless population in our county and provide them a restorative process that will ultimately crescendo in the individual integrating back into society, imaging exactly what they were created to image by their Creator God. So please pray that in all this that my team and I hope to accomplish, Jesus would be made much of and that God's gospel would be integrated into the fabric of every day life in the life of individuals that we will impact.

I am also passionate about navigating a movement in which predominately Slavic churches in America would in a healthy way transition to be more effective for the gospel by creating additional English venues so that communities who don't speak Russian would also be reached with the gospel. I want to see the church fulfill their calling in the United States and one of the ways that will happen is when the Slavic church will cease to be an isolationist community, bound by culture and tradition and would break out of the mold to evangelize and reach the lost people in their midst that speak a language other than one of the Slavic dialects. Out of the over thirty churches that are a part of the church network that we belong to, we are the less than five percent who have actually begun an English ministry in our midst and desire to model and display a ministry methodology for others to espouse and adopt as well, for the spread of the gospel and for the glory of Jesus.
Author Bogdan Kipko
Paul: 1.) Bogdan, I am excited to hear that you just wrote and published a book called, "Forward-How to get unstuck and become unstoppable". Share with me and our online community the story behind this book and why you wrote it?
Bogdan: The last ten years have been an absolute whirlwind for my wife and I. We both lost our beloved dads to cancer. I moved to a new state, started work at a new company, assimilated to a new church and started and finished my graduate degree in seminary. This was happening while I was working full time in the corporate world and in the church. We both went through peaks and valleys in every single sphere of our life. We experienced our fair share of difficulties and arguments as a brand new couple, learning to live together as a married couple. We went through a difficult time in ministry that nearly left us depleted and emptied, both physically and spiritually. There were many times when it seemed like we were completely stuck with no way out. But Jesus does not save you from every storm, because He wants to save you through the storm. So this book is basically what I have learned in the last ten years of my life. The anthem on repeat has been Ephesians 3:20-21 where Paul proclaims these epic words: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” This is basically a book going over the many mistakes that I have personally made and what happened when I actually believed that the gospel is real, Jesus is alive and God’s love and grace are absolutely reckless to the point of being a rampant scandal. In a very good way. For more info on the book, go to

Paul: 2.) As a pastor, you see many people "stuck" in their spiritual walk and at times even unmovable. What encouragement and practical advice can you give to those who need a boost of spiritual motivation this holiday season?
Bogdan: Not only do I see people being stuck but I too fall into that same category very often. I am convinced that the most difficult thing for any follower of Jesus to believe is that Jesus is in love with them. Because every time we don’t believe that, we aggressively seek out other gods to satisfy our desires. But every time we drink from polluted vessels, we run back to Jesus to drink the living water which only He can provide. But I know exactly what you are saying. Sometimes, I am ready for the season to change, but the season is only interested in changing me. I believe that for God, who we are becoming is more important than what we are doing. Because our ultimate goal is to see Jesus face to face so that he would say to us well done good and faithful servant. But the scandalous part is that Jesus is not in love with a new and improved version of us. He loves the messed up, warts and blemishes version of us now. When we realize that this is the reality, our entire life perspective shifts. So the goal is for us to quit listening to ourselves and start speaking the gospel to ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you never stand behind a pulpit. No one speaks to you more than you do. So you are either preaching a false gospel of mediocrity and defeat or an authentic gospel of triumph and victory because on the cross, Jesus definitively declared: “It is finished.” So rest in that reality. God will get you through, what you are going through.

Paul: 3.) December is a time of year when many people begin to review their personal results of the current year. Everything from fitness, financial status, and educational achievements. Parallel to this there are those who find themselves looking to start new ministries, projects, careers, and dreams in the new year. In which category are you in this year and what events triggered it?
Bogdan: I have personally stopped making new year’s resolutions because I don’t believe they work. Not for me or for the majority of the people around me. If you want to resolve in doing something different start today. If you want to lose weight, drop the fries and burger and pick up some celery. If you want to wake up earlier, start going to sleep earlier. If you want more money in your account, then stop buying things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like with money you don’t even have. You don’t need to wait to do that until the new year. You can begin doing that today. If you want to start a new ministry, a new non-profit, a new book, a new blog, a new school or a new degree, start right now. Tomorrow is an illusionary world that we wrongly believe espouses all productivity. But then tomorrow comes and nothing changes. I go more into detail about what I just said above in this post: And as for a new job - some of us don’t need a better job - we just need to do our current job, better. For me personally, I just launched my book so I am in between projects. I am super excited to getting back to creating new content, recording more podcasts with several very special guests, creating multiple new e-books and preaching like crazy every Sunday at my church and leading my small community group every week which is my most favorite part of my life.

Paul: 4.) Bogdan, both you and I enjoy using technology, social media, and connecting with friends and acquaintances online. Millennial's and even older online users have caught themselves spending hours on the computer, their iPhone, or even their WiFi tablets. Does technology play a significant role in ministry? As a follow up, should ministry leaders pursue efforts to engage online users across the various community channels available?
Bogdan: If a leader is not leading digitally, his leadership is limited to those who also ignore the digital world. That population is getting smaller and smaller and last time I checked, the clock was still going forward.
 I believe that social media is the new authority. History has never seen an age like ours. This is because social media has ushered in a new authority. It has radically changed the way we connect, communicate and spread ideas, forever. Social media has also changed the way authority and influence are allocated within our society. There are no longer gate-keepers that can prevent anyone from getting a message out. In the new authority order of social media, influence is fostered from connectivity, not control. It is no longer about how much you know but rather how generous you are with that knowledge. 
The focus has shifted from titles to tribes. This has been the case all along – social media was just able to harness this reality and make it a commodity – available to anyone. Which makes it both a phenomenal reality and a great responsibility. Before, people gathered around one particular charismatic personality. That person was able to keep a tight control on things that were going on within an organization. Social media has usurped from denominations the influence they once possessed. Because control is no longer delegated to one particular committee or organization.
 Before, people demanded to be heard because of a position they held. Today, people listen to those who have something to say, not just those who want to say something. If you want to influence this generation, you need to develop a relationship with them. Leaders who do not harness the power of social media are adhering to the old authority order.
The new authority ushered in by social media is exciting, progressive and perpetually changing. As a Christian, you are called to be a wise steward of the resources that have been given to you. This includes asking Jesus for wisdom while navigating through this new world of social media.

Bogdan Preaching
Paul: 5.) Looking into 2014, world leaders, politicians, religious leaders, business men keep echoing a mixed review of opinions. Some say to fear the American dollar crashing, others predicting heavy spiritual and moral declines, and yet others say to prepare for Armageddon. What has the Lord been speaking to your heart concerning this upcoming year? Should the body of Christ be preaching fear, hope,or both?
Bogdan: The body of Christ should continue to preach Christ. In season and out of season.When it is popular and when it is considered intolerant. If I please God, it does not matter whom I displease. I can’t serve two masters. Simultaneous allegiance is impossible. Contrary to some opinions, the church is not dying but it is sick. So what we need is less criticizing and more evangelizing. More unity and less uniformity. More diversity and less division. I am not much of a conspiracy theorist and I am a pastor, not a politician - so all I care about is delivering the gospel with clarity and conviction and then watching God show up and do His thing as per usual. I am not worried about currency decline because God has all the money in the world. I am not worried about moral or spiritual decline because it always existed since we live in a post Genesis three world. I believe that the church is the hope of the world and Jesus is the One who will build His church and not allow the gates of Hell to prevail over it ever.

Paul: 6.) Christmas is right around the corner. How will you be celebrating it this year?
Bogdan: We have a few big community events planned at my church which I am really excited about. Upwards of three hundred people from our community will come out and enjoy our official Christmas celebration service as we talk about and glorify Jesus. In addition, I most likely will be spending time with my wife and my church family, preferably next to a cozy fire with my favorite mug full of gourmet coffee. Super excited to move forward into 2014.

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