by Stefan Ghinescu
WARREN, MI – Golgotha Romanian Baptist Church in Warren, Michigan is a small ethnic church, with people coming together for worship from a multitude of cities in the Detroit metro area. They are scattered during the week, and gather for worship on Thursdays and Sundays.
The pandemic lockdown has brought the church life to a standstill. Early in March, they canceled all in-person meetings, and switched to online meetings and streaming. One person in the church was diagnosed positive with COVID-19 and fell terribly sick. It was a wakeup call to remind us how fragile life is and how we depend on God, the giver of life. The church was quick to start interceding for the sister, but for a while they thought that God might call her home. Yet, on Easter morning, God answered their prayers and she came out of the coma, and quickly started to recover. The church saw it as a display of God’s rich mercy to unworthy sinners.
In May they resumed in-person services limiting it to one public meeting per week, observing the guidelines regarding masks and distancing, while still using online meetings for other activities. These special circumstances limited severely the worship and fellowship they were used to. Nevertheless, the last Sunday of August was a special day of celebration for the church. For them as Baptists, baptism is a distinctive reason to celebrate. Jesus said that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. They rejoiced with the angels to witness the testimony of six young people who made public professions of their repentance and faith. For the church, they were glad to see the young generation coming to faith and following the Lord.
As an ethnic church scattered all around, the evangelistic impact in the community is significantly limited. But the youth are the most effective link to the non-Romanian community. They speak English without the accent of their parents, understand the culture, and are able to relate and communicate better. The church has been on a quest of integrating English in their mostly Romanian language services. They train their youth to instill in their conscience that though they are in this world, and called to minister to it, they are not OF this world.
Pastor Stefan Ghinescu says, “It is of utmost importance to remember that God, our Creator and Redeemer is the One who defines who we are and how we should live.” He adds that “ they try to teach and to show living examples of a godly character, which we pray will take shape in them. It is a daring endeavor and we give God all praise for what we are able to do for his Name.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stefan Ghinescu is the senior pastor of Golgotha Romanian Baptist Church in Warren, Michigan, since 2013. He is a graduate of the Baptist Theological Seminary in Bucharest, Romania, and of Western Seminary, Sacramento, California, and has been in the pastoral ministry since 1999. He has been married to Claudia since 1998 and together they have two children.