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Svetlana Papazov: Sharing the Secret to Success

ONCE UPON A TIME, WOMEN WERE NOT ALLOWED IN THE BUSINESS WORLD UNLESS THEY WERE BEHIND A SECRETARY’S DESK. ONCE UPON A TIME, WOMEN WERE NOT ALLOWED IN THE PULPIT.

Church planter, Svetlana Papazov breaks every traditional constraint that women have ever had. Founder of Real Life Center for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Excellence, as well as the lead pastor of Real Life Church, Svetlana has had an incredible year so far.

With the recent launch of the entrepreneurial center and the church just a couple months behind, Svetlana with husband Michael (who serves as worship pastor) by her side, the couple are already looking towards further expansion and growth.

“Honestly, I have not taken a breath yet,” Svetlana says. She was nothing but joy and positive energy despite the recent launch and the demand for growth looming on the horizon.

“I will say this,” Svetlana says, “It has been phenomenal to walk into the purposes of God, and to see them unfolding and become brick and mortar. It has become a tangible expression of this dream that he has put in my heart and to see changed life.”

Svetlana’s mission is extremely unique. Their building overlooks a beautiful lake in Midlothian, Virginia, where it operates as a facility for entrepreneurs looking to grow their business throughout the week. On the weekends, Svetlana lays down some serious Godbreathed truth in her sermons. “Dare to Dream” is the name of their current series, and it is no question that she is living out this message.

Mixing business and Scripture is not a common mission field, but Svetlana has found a purposedriven way to minister to entrepreneurs who are just getting started. In combining ministry and the marketplace, Svetlana and her team have created a safe place for small business owners who are trying to get on their feet. She brings them into a faith-based facility, where they can rent out office space for their businesses. Meeting rooms are available, as well as business training. As an International Federation Coach, Svetlana provides support, mentorship, and one-on-one coaching for those interested in learning how to expand their businesses.

But why all of the interest in these small business owners? When asked why Svetlana had such a focus on these small business owners, Svetlana says, “They are very courageous. They are out there doing it; they are making it happen. They are providing employment for themselves and others. There are very few people that have invested in them and come alongside them. So what we have created is a monolog of genuine care; we go into the community, and we come alongside those courageous individuals.”

Although no stipulation says the small business owners who use the entrepreneurial center must attend the church as well, there has been a significant crossover that is undoubtedly God’s hand. Everyday Svetlana and Michael walk through and pray over the property. “People say that there is peace here, and that is why they want to set up office space, Svetlana says. “I have always been open to everything that we do to attribute that peace to the presence of the Holy Spirit. I don’t water down the truth that God is the focus of everything we do at the entrepreneurial center.”

And people have noticed the difference and are drawn

to it at its source. “Most of the people that came to the church launch were people that we had reached through the entrepreneurial center,” Svetlana says. “My heart was singing. We have people that are coming now that had not been to church for several decades.”

Svetlana’s mission undoubtedly changed lives. It has brought others close to God in ways that no one, not even the Papazovs, ever expected. It has been a renewing ministry, to say the least. Moreover, Svetlana believes this minstry focus has changed her.

“I used to take those spiritual gifts tests, and I would always get “faith.” So of course, I have always thought that I was pretty faith-focused,” Svetlana says. “But I will tell you that God has pledged and hardened in me faith like nothing else because I have to walk by faith in this mission. I have had to take some humongous leaps of faith and to trust that He is in it.”

Walking by faith seems to come naturally to Svetlana, yet it is a struggle for most Christians. Svetlana cites Philippians 2:13 as a source of encouragement when her faith needs renewal.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

“I have embraced this verse specifically as I have been walking this church planting journey because it is God who has opened my heart to strongly desire to go after His purposes. I trust that He will supply whatever I need,” Svetlana says.

Svetlana and her husband Michael have created not only a shelter for those who aspire to expand their businesses, but also a church that lifts these individuals up. Her devout faith and commitment to God’s plan have enabled her to become a leader that all women should aspire to be. Through her strength and purpose, she has not only renewed others, but also herself.

Svetlana takes the gospel beyond the pulpit and into the marketplace.-LH

By BRIANA GOFORTH 

LH INTERN

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