The major focus of Serving Alongside International is to reach nations for Christ by encouraging and training the native leaders who know their culture, social settings and spiritual needs. Therefore, we are involved in providing on-field theological education to the ambitious pastors and evangelists in the countries of the 10/40 Window, who otherwise could not afford to go to Bible school for their basic theological, spiritual and leadership formation. We are currently focusing on developing India’s rural church leadership.
Why We Focus on in India at the Moment?
The general fact is that 68% of India is still rural where God is moving powerfully. More than 2/3rds of the Indian church stands on the rural areas and the majority of those churches are independent, indigenous and charismatic. According to India Today, a leading newspaper, “Independent churches mushroom across India…These freelancers of God are growing while mainstream Churches are facing a decline in their missionary activities.” Unfortunately, “these preachers are not trained in theology. They often play with the sentiments of people……and create communal tension. We are forced to take the blame for their wayward preaching methods,” says Sister Annie, the principal of All Saint’s Convent School in Ajnala, who has been working in Punjab since 1984. (India Today, April 30, 2011). Annie is right.
Unfortunately, majority of the passionate church planters in India are Biblically illiterate but spiritually strong. Can we blame these “freelancers of God” who passionately preach Christ and establish congregations effectively in spite of financial and educational limitations and in spite of opposition, persecution, and suffering? Most of the self-made pastors and evangelist in India cannot not afford to go to Bible schools for their formal theological training before entering the Church planting ministry. They are convinced of their call for ministry and move forward with faith and persistence.
In the age of education, technology and opposition to Christian mission, there are cultural and contextual logistics that the independent pastors need to be aware of in addition to their call for the ministry. Due to lack of Theological Training, many of them are unable to comply with social issues and make the gospel relevant or effective. One of the reasons Christians are opposed to the work of God in India is not due to Western form of Christianity alone, but lack of evangelists’ or church planters’ ability to make Gospel relevant to various demands and contexts of the day. No doubt that most of the non-Christians in India love Christ and accept His divinity. But the message of Christ is not articulated well enough to bring glory to God. Therefore, Serving Alongside International takes these aspects and challenges into consideration, and provides those independent Church Planters/Evangelists meaningful, culturally relevant and practical on-field training wherever they are so that they may serve the Lord with dignity, rationale and full of joy in their call for the ministry.
On Field Theological Training helps church leaders to:
- Maintain dignity and handle the Word of God correctly (2 Tim 2:15)
- Make gospel culturally relevant (I Cor 9:22)
- Multiply the ministry (2 Tim 2:2)
In India, there is no social security program, nor assisted living facilities for the older or disabled people. In rural villages, where superstitious beliefs still dominate, widows are considered a bad omen and a burden. As a result many widows live a lonely and depressed life. Although older women A native mission calls them "the living dead." Through Redeem India Ministries, SAI financially supports some of these women with an aim to reach her and her families with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are literally millions of unfortunate children in India's rural and suburban slums who need love and compassion. With the help of local churches we strategically help the needy children with monthly support to sponsor their studies and reach their extended families with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also help those physically handicapped children with physical therapies and medicine.
Through Redeem India Ministries, SAI conducts medical camps in the backward villages of India, where there are no medical facilities, in order to help those financially struggling with treatments and medicines. With these projects we not only help create a healthy society, but also introduce Jesus to them. In the last two years about 500 people heard the good news through these medical camps.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR THE NEEDY CHILDREN STUDENTS
Bi-annually, SAI provides notebooks, pens, pencils, etc to the school-going children. Every year we provide these kinds of educational resources to nearly 300 children. We invite them to churches to special programs where gospel is introduced.
SUPPLY OF CLOTHES TO THE POOREST OF THE POOR
Bi-annually, SAI provides funds to help proved clothes to older widows and older men who would otherwise will not be able to buy clothes for them. Again, our focus is evangelism..!