India’s Extreme Need
In India, 22 million children will turn 15 this year — that’s 22 million missed opportunities to impact lives with the Gospel. Many of these children are members of Dalit (“Untouchable”) castes and are seen as having little value. They come from impoverished families and have few opportunities for help that would enable them to escape the generational poverty in their communities.
Our urgent commission is to reach India’s youth while they are at their most receptive to the Gospel message. Research indicates that as many as 85% of people in the U.S. who become believers accept Christ between the ages of four and 14. Our experience in India suggests this window of opportunity exists there as well. Young people are open to the Gospel, and those who come to faith in Christ are eager to share the Good News with their families and friends.
India’s children have dire spiritual needs as well. The overwhelming majority (over 88%) of India’s 1.3 billion people are Hindu or Muslim. Most boys and girls have never heard the Gospel presented in a way they can understand. And yet, children represent India’s most receptive audience for the Gospel.
Nationwide, 74 percent of Indians are Hindus and 14 percent are Muslims. An estimated 400 million people in India have never even heard the name of Jesus.
Our vision is to see a fellowship of worshipping Christians within reach of every person in India. And by “within reach,” we mean geographically as well as culturally and linguistically. Partnering with native believers in India is the best way to accomplish this. Fueled by the Holy Spirit, India’s Christians are eager to make Christ known. And when they bring Jesus into a community, or a family, or even a single heart — He brings so much more.
Misson India works directly with Indian nationals who already speak local languages and can present the Gospel in a culturally-sensitive way. We train and equip India’s Christians with three distinct evangelism strategies: Children’s Bible Clubs, Church Planter Training, and Adult Literacy Classes. Each has been developed by Indians, for Indians, and is designed to work effectively within the specific physical, emotional, and social challenges faced by Indians.
We praise for the 2017 ministry results of these programs, which include more than 2.8 million new disciples, 28,829 prayer groups formed, and 10,736 worshipping groups planted!
Children’s Bible Clubs
Each year, we reach approximately 5 million children through our 10-day Clubs (similar to Daily Vacation Bible School). Resources are available in more than 20 languages, and approximately 60-70% of children in these Clubs are from non-Christian families. We follow up the summer program with Year-Long Clubs, which meet for two hours each day. These year-long discipleship group are led by volunteers from local (Indian) churches. Each Club has 40 children on average, and each year 5,000 to 6,000 Clubs are conducted across India.
Adult Literacy Classes
These Bible-based Literacy Classes run for two hours per night, five nights per week, for one year. The most responsive populations are the rural poor, mostly of the social status that is called “untouchable” or Dalit. Just under 4,000 of these Classes will start in August 2018 (4,000 different villages and communities). Classes have 30 learners each and are offered in nearly 30 Indian languages. This is a critical opportunity because newly literate adults read to their children and families.
Church Planter Training
During the year-long program, Church Planters are trained and equipped through classroom instruction and on-site fieldwork — with the goal of reaching 600 families and establishing two new worshipping groups during the training. Church Planters visit hundreds of homes and start three to five home prayer groups, which are eventually gathered into a worshipping group.
Manga Messiah would be extremely useful in the early stages of this work to help people read and understand the Gospel. We have tested the book in a number of places and now train workers to use a method we call “over the shoulder” evangelism, which is to simply sit in a semi-public place and read the colorful Manga book. Curious people, especially young people, will look over the shoulder of the reader, and ask “where can I get one of those?” It would be a tremendous help to provide 50 copies to each Church Planter as they reach villages and communities for Christ.