Nazar Ilkiv

Our goal is always to build relationships. Young people are open minded and interested in talking about the things they are struggling with once you’ve established their trust. Since 2002, we’ve seen a huge shift in our youth culture. They are seeking healthier lifestyles and getting to know Christ personally. One statistic that is very telling is the percent of teens who are smoking. It’s down to 20% now from 60% in 2002!

Student Ministry Director, New Hope Ukraine in Lviv, Ukraine

Although Nazar’s official title is Youth Ministry Coordinator, he serves the team in Lviv as the IT systems administrator, event photographer & videographer, graphic designer, and church plant leader. He’s even available to cut hair!  I guess you could call him a jack of all trades.

Born and raised in Lviv, Nazar was a good kid raised in a nominal Christian home, very typical in Ukraine. His older brother was the rebel until he came to know Christ when Nazar was 14.  Nazar noticed the change in his brother and several years later made his own commitment to Christ after a local crusade. He started attending local youth meetings and got to know the Director of New Hope Ukraine, Roman Matviyiv.  When he graduated with his degree from a local Polytechnic school in 2002, he started serving as the Youth Ministry Coordinator. Now his brother Oleg helps him lead the youth locally as a member of the church plant and with university students through a program called the Second Mile.

Nazar’s primary role is recruiting and training lecturers to give 45-minute talks in Ukrainian public schools.  He’s seen this program grow significantly from reaching 20,000 students when he started to the 40,000 students being reached annually today. These talks were first translated from a series by Focus on the Family and have been refined through the years into a series on 8 different topics called LIVE addressing all the issues teens face from drug and alcohol use to finding their life purpose.  Lecturers are invited by 40 different schools throughout the country, to fill gaps in curriculum for art and ethics or as selective subject course. Though they aren’t able to share Christ outright, they invite students to participate in clubs, home groups, or sporting activities, so they can build relationships with them. Nearly 10% of all who hear the lectures attend these events.

Nazar married Iryna in 2004.  They enjoy riding bikes together in the gorgeous countryside just outside Lviv. He also enjoys working with leather when he gets the chance while listening to one of his favorite musicians, Michael W. Smith or Jesus Culture.

First Culture Worker in Ukraine
Country of origin

With ECM since 2016