As the director of an OM partner ministry based in North India, Sam* shares the love of God with people from the majority-faith background and trains ministry leaders and younger generations, equipping them to share their faith in their everyday life.
THE PROBLEM: No one sharing God's Word
When Sam first began doing ministry in his home country, he was one of a few people sharing the gospel with those who had never heard the name of Jesus. From 1992-1994, he had many sleepless nights dwelling on the fact that only 50 people were spreading the Gospel message in unreached communities. Sam felt burdened to share the good news of Jesus with people who had few opportunities to hear otherwise, but he was overwhelmed by how many people there were. He prayed for God to make a way for people to hear about the hope and love found in Jesus.
THE SOLUTION: Multiplication
OM partners with Sam and his wife to see Jesus followers trained and equipped to share the gospel effectively in their context. Sam was encouraged to focus on multiplication, training ministry leaders to share what they believe with others so that more people could hear the gospel. He committed to training ministry leaders for five years, and during that time, over 4,000 believers were trained and went out to share the gospel. As he and those he trained spread the news of Christ, several hundred people came to know the Lord. “We had hardly any money, but the Lord dearly blessed us. The Lord amazingly worked,” said Sam.
In 2007, Sam attended a conference hosted by a like-minded organisation that seeks to engage people from a Muslim background for Christ. At the conference, Sam met about 500 Jesus followers from around the world who were working in similar communities, which greatly encouraged him. He said: “It was great to know that [other Christians were sharing the gospel] and see that we are not all alone.”
Afterwards, Sam and another believer proposed an India chapter of the organisation. At the time, division among different ministry workers meant they weren’t talking to each other or sharing resources. Clarity around a shared vision brought unity to the workers. In 2012, the India chapter held its first gathering and one hundred thirty people participated in this gathering from almost 79 mission agencies. The gathering inspired Sam and his team to go all over India to mobilise churches in every major city.
Engaging with communities in North India and training people for ministry requires the use of various methods. Sam’s ministry projects and outreaches have a goal of connecting with people and establishing vibrant communities of Jesus followers. In places that are difficult to reach with the message of Jesus, they complete community development projects, including children’s projects, adult literacy projects and medical projects.
In places that are more open, the team shares the gospel through open-air preaching, door-to-door evangelism and distributing literature. “We are adapting to the situation and the context, and according to that, we are preparing our strategies,” said Sam.
Sam and his team also provide training for Indian ministry leaders and believers. Primarily, they focus on teaching people — especially the younger generation — how to share the gospel and identify and develop their spiritual gifts. They also offer one- and two-year biblical training programmes to equip believers and ministry leaders to share the gospel and teach other people how to fulfil the Great Commission. The focus of all this training is mobilisation — mobilising church leaders and believers in North India to share their faith with those who have not heard the gospel.
Moreover, Sam and his team encourage sustainable development. In some cities and villages, people are resistant to the gospel, viewing church planters and believers suspiciously if they only come into the community with the single purpose of sharing the gospel. For this reason, Sam helps believers start their own businesses to help engage with communities and build relationships and credibility.
As a result of the ministry, Sam and his team have developed people working in 30 major cities and almost 400 villages across India; about 150 of whom work full-time in ministry. “I see God working, and I see that we are trying to start small, mobilising the church and training them,” said Sam.
The team always aims to explain the Bible in a way that fits the culture and context. “We don’t want to bring any religious conflict in our discussion, not proving that Christ is right and Muhammed is wrong, or Christianity is right and Islam is wrong,” explained Sam. Instead, they ask questions about what people believe and share about what they themselves believe.
The impact of the ministry in North India is ongoing. Two years ago, Sam and his wife visited a church and spoke about the ministry. After Sam finished speaking, a man raised his hand and said that seven years earlier, Sam had trained him. Over the past five years, the man planted five churches and brought almost 400 people to the Lord. He thanked Sam for helping train him.
In the future, Sam plans to mobilise more believers to share the gospel with their neighbours. He said that many people are hungry for the gospel, but are not being reached by Jesus followers for various reasons. In order to reach people who haven’t heard the gospel, believers in India need to boldly share their faith. Sam urged: “Every believer has to be a partner to the Great Commission. It is not only the local pastors and mission leaders.”
Pray for Christians in India to have the boldness to share the gospel with those around them. Pray that Sam and other believers would continue to live out their faith despite persecution. Pray that God would soften the hearts of people, and that they would accept the life-changing message of the gospel.