Daniel Naberezhny: Nurturing Hope and Faith Through Refugee Ministry

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Editor’s Note: Daniel Naberezhny is one of the featured church planters in 2023 Maguire State Mission Offering resources. The statewide 2023 offering goal of $820,000 is earmarked to help reach the 15.8 million Florida residents who do not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, with 100% of all receipts designated to help launch church plants in the state.

BOCA RATON–Daniel Naberezhny planted International Bible Church in Boca Raton three years ago to reach the growing Eastern European population. Through a global pandemic and an ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, International Bible Church has become a source of practical, physical and spiritual support in its community.

Hailing from Ukraine, Naberezhny became a Christian at the age of 16. From that moment onward, he felt called to dedicate his life to ministry, to channel his passion and energy into a higher mission that would touch lives and make a difference. This calling led him to dream of achieving something greater for both God and people.

Naberezhny’s journey brought him across oceans to the shores of the United States. A decade ago, he arrived in West Palm Beach as a student at Florida Atlantic University. Recognizing the seriousness of his calling, he pursued theological studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and participated in a residency program at Family Church. These formative experiences laid the foundation for what was to come.

In 2019, Naberezhny was sent by Palm Beach Baptist Network and Family Church to establish a new ministry in Boca Raton. Beginning with just three families, the ministry faced a significant test as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world in 2020. Undeterred, Naberezhny and his team shifted their efforts online, building a robust virtual presence that would later facilitate in-person gatherings when circumstances allowed.teacher and kids in classroom

A pivotal partnership with the Boca Raton Community Church provided them with space for their meetings. This collaboration exemplified the spirit of unity and shared purpose that Naberezhny had envisioned since his calling.

In February 2022, as conflict erupted between Ukraine and Russia, the tragedy hit home for Naberezhny and his congregation. Many church members had family and friends in the affected regions, and Naberezhny felt compelled to act.

“The first family we helped was living in Kiev, and their apartment was hit by a bomb, and they had nowhere to go,” he recalled.

Out of this tragedy, International Bible Church emerged as a beacon of hope and support for those affected by the conflict. Naberezhny and his ministry sprang into action, helping families escape danger zones and providing practical assistance. What began as a response to a dire situation evolved into a full-fledged refugee ministry, touching the lives of more than 60 individuals and families who sought refuge from the turmoil.

The ministry embraced a holistic approach to refugee support. English classes were offered to aid integration into American society, while food distribution initiatives provided sustenance to hundreds of families. Informational sessions and job fairs addressed employment needs, and legal consultation sessions offered guidance in navigating complex legal systems.

Yet, amid all these tangible acts of compassion and support, Naberezhny recognized that the most profound need within the refugee population was spiritual lostness.

The biggest need in the refugee population is lostness. … There is a war for their souls.

Daniel Naberezhny Church planter, International Bible Church, Boca Raton

“The biggest need in the refugee population is lostness,” he said. “There is a war for their souls.”

This realization propelled the ministry to become not only a source of practical assistance but also a conduit for sharing the gospel. The church emerged as a vital instrument in reaching these individuals, offering them solace, hope and the transformative power of faith in Christ.

“Some folks arrive with PTSD from bombings they have experienced or witnessing the death of family members. I believe the church is the best place they can find the practical help and spiritual support they need to get them through this difficult time,” he said.

Naberezhny’s conviction that the church is uniquely poised to offer both spiritual and practical support has proven true. The ministry’s approach cultivates a culture of mutual assistance, where seasoned families guide newcomers through the challenges they face.

“The church is the key in reaching them with the gospel. Hearing the gospel in their native language changes their lives; they find hope, strength. Their faith grows, and they give their lives to Christ.”

As Naberezhny focuses on church planting and reaching refugees with the gospel, he knows he is not alone.

“Our key partners are Send Network, the North American Mission Board and Florida Baptist Convention. … We have amazing coworkers in God’s kingdom because we can’t do this work alone,” he said.

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