SEASON OF MISSIONS CONFERENCES
Reaching India with the Gospel
Joseph Vijayam TENT, JVI-IWILL
India is a land of contrasts. From snow-capped mountains to parched deserts. From literary giants and philosophers to illiterates. From urban skylines with lofty skyscrapers to straw and clay huts. From die-hard atheists to devout monks and spiritual gurus. From male dominated patriarchal families to women being elected to the highest government office in the country. Most people are bewildered by this strange and undefinable nation of over a billion people.
Church and mission leaders have long grappled with the conundrum of having the church planted in the first century in Southern India (believed to be the work of Apostle Thomas) and the birth of modern missions happening in Western India (through William Carey) on one hand, while on the other hand the Christian population has not grown past single digit percentages of the overall population. Ralph Winter of the US Center for World Missions said “India is the ultimate testing ground of the Christian faith; both the obstacles and the resources are unimaginably high.”
So, what is the response of our generation to the Great Commission as it relates to India? How do we fulfill our God-given task of reaching every people group in India?
There is an indigenous national ministry in India named Joshua Vision India (JVI) whose visionary, Dr. BE Vijayam, has an answer. The key is found in a two-pronged approach. Firstly, focus on specific unreached people groups with a long term strategic action plan that is put together after thorough research of the beliefs, culture and values of the people group. Secondly, send a self-sustaining harvest force of tentmakers engaged in holistic development of the people among whom they are called to work.
Over the past 17 years JVI has trained 204 Master Trainers who are men and 147 Master Trainers who are women who are now working in every state across the nation of India and Nepal. The Master Trainers in turn have trained hundreds of grassroots level workers, called Harvesters, and sent them to work among specific people groups in far flung areas that are off the beaten track. As a result of this strategic and methodical effort of dedicated and highly committed workers across the length and breadth of India, we have begun to see a great harvest of souls representing over 600 people groups who were hitherto not reached with the Gospel! That is more new people groups reached with the Gospel than the entire 2,000 years of church history in India.
At SIIRG we are thrilled to have a strategic, indigenous, high impact ministry partner in India through whom we can reach India with the Gospel within our own generation. Will you join hands with us to accomplish this awesome task?
ICan India Be Reached? TOM CHANDLER
India has 1/3 of the world's unreached people groups. Joshua Vision India (JVI) was started 15 years ago in Hyderabad, India, by Dr. B.E. Vijayam. The vision that God gave "Viji" was to train 40,000 Indian missionaries to reach India's 4,000 unreached people groups. Obviously JVI cannot train 40,000, but the program has been training Master Trainers (men & women) who in turn train others (Harvesters) to accomplish the task. The Gathering was an event hosted by JVI in October which brought together Master Trainers and their Harvesters from all parts of India for a time of encouragement, reporting and celebrating what God has done. The reported results were beyond our expectations. What was especially encouraging was to hear of churches being planted among Muslims and high-caste Brahmins. One of the first Master Trainers, Amir (not his real name), came from an influential, devout Muslim family in Uttar Pradash. Amir says one night in a dream he saw the face of Christ with blood flowing down. Amir understood that Christ shed His blood for his sin. At Amir's baptism his father stood hidden at a distance with a high-powered rifle. When Amir came up out of the water, his father aimed for his heart. He missed and the bullet went through Amir's shoulder instead. Amir's father and the other Muslim leaders believed that Allah must want Amir to live. Over the past 15 years Amir has led several Muslims to Christ who in turn have been trained to be church planters. They have been able to plant eight churches in one of the strongest Muslim regions of India. Another component of the training at JVI is to learn appropriate technologies to be self-supporting. For example, Pradeep researched Hindu unreached people groups in the desert region of Rajasthan. Hindus like to use flowers in their many religious festivals. It was expensive to buy flowers in the desert. Viji along with a team of scientists developed flowers that grow easily in desert conditions. Pradeep learned this technology and started a desert flower business. He not only was able to support himself but the flowers became a bridge for sharing the gospel. After five years Pradeep has seen 10 churches started in this desert region. I've been involved in India for over 30 years. Of all the ministries I've observed, JVI's strategy to reach all the unreached people groups of India is the most doable. Yes! I believe India can be reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ! Tom Chandler m a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.