We provide on-field theological education to the passionate church planters, pastors, and evangelists who can’t 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 Focus on Church Planters in India?
Fact: 68% of India is still rural,
and this is where God is moving powerfully.
More than 2/3rds of Indian churches are in rural areas, and the majority of these Great Commission churches are independent, indigenous, and charismatic. Sister Annie, the principal of All Saint’s Convent School in Ajnala, says, “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 method.” (India Today, April 30, 2011)
Annie is right! But can we blame these “freelancers of God” who passionately preach Christ and establish congregations effectively in spite of financial and educational limitations, and opposition, persecution, and suffering?
Most of the self-made pastors and evangelists in India can’t afford to go to Bible school for their formal theological training – but they are convinced of their call for ministry and move forward with faith and persistence. God is drawing thousands of people to Christ through their hard work, passion, and faith. However, they are not able to plant sustaining and growing disciple-making churches because of their biblical illiterary.
The Importance of Careful Contextualization
In the age of education, technology, religious intolerance, atheism, and opposition to the Christian mission, Indian independent pastors need to be aware of cultural and contextual logistics in addition to their call for the ministry.
One of the reasons Christians are opposed to the work of God in India is due to the evangelists’ or church planters’ inexperience. Due to their lack of theological training, many of these teachers are unable to comply with social issues and make the gospel relevant or effective. 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.
Serving Alongside International takes these aspects and challenges into consideration, and provides these independent church planters/evangelists meaningful, culturally relevant, and practical on-field training wherever so they may serve the Lord with dignity and joy.