One of the reasons I traveled to India this summer was to see what God is up to on the other side of the planet. I wanted to see what the big “C” church was doing in India. I wanted to see how Christians were living out their faith and commitment to Jesus.
I was shocked by what I found.
- One of the first places we engaged the local Indian church was in a town 45 minutes from India’s holiest city of Varanasi. I am not going to tell you the town, just to keep people safe. But in this small town we were able to teach a group of church planters and pastors. From the best I could tell the leaders were organized into a parish model. These pastors and leaders were spread out in local villages and towns to care for people, while being part of a larger church organizational structure. My translator during the teaching sessions was lead pastor/administrator of 105 of these churches.
- During our time teaching, I was asked to travel to another town to teach “pastors and church planters” there. I was told the town was 15km away, but because of some flooding we traveled 30 km, so I have no idea where I was. But in this town I met the pastor of the church where I would be teaching. I was told the people I would be teaching were about a week or two old in the faith! They had committed to a 6 month discipleship training program after which most of them, 40 men and women, would enter the ministry! These new believers would be the spiritual care takers of hundreds of people while only having 6 months of faith and training under their belts. This reflects so much of the 1st century church!
- The amazing thing about these new converts/future pastors was that they were saved at a church were 2000-2500 people saw up each week for church! I was told by two pastors that 10,000 people show up at Christmas time to hear the Jesus story! What? Are you kidding me? 2000 people showing up for church is a mega church in the US, not to mention whatever you call 10,000 people! This church also hosted a Christian school with nearly 700 students, ages 4-13. You hear a lot about the explosive growth of the church in China, but not in India. If I had not been told this by two pastors I would not have believed it.
- While in India we met an Australian lawyer and developer name Ray, who came to visit India for 3 months and ended up staying for 3 years. Ray is the administrator of the Sewa Ashram. An ashram is a place of spiritual retreat or hermitage. Sewa is a Christian community for the destitute and dying. A place with people can find physical healing or a place where they can die in peace. A place where they can also be loved, treated with dignity and respected. Sometimes people are brought to the ashram, sometimes they are found in the village outside the compound and brought in. Either way, in the ashram the men who live there experience a sense of community through living and eating together, caring for each each other and community worship serves. All of this is done in the name of Jesus.
- One of the last places we saw God working was through a local church in Delhi. Fusion Church in Delhi is an international community of Christ followers incarnating the love of God. One of the ministries they have is call Super Seeds. It is a free day care center for kids whose parents are domestic servants, rickshaw drivers or who fix shoes, in other words, street moms and the very poor. The kids are brought to Super Seeds so they are not left alone, don’t get abducted and wont have to be tied to a bed all day. At Super Seeds the kids are fed, educated and loved. Our contribution this work was to paint a room in an apartment they were using as a day care center.
All in all it was astonishing to see the work of God happening in India. It was amazing to see the kind of work going on in India is similar to the kind of work I see happening here in the US. God is alive and active on both sides of the planet.