Untrained pastors on the front line in India receive much-needed literature
“I found answers to many of my questions that I had for some years”
Pastor Raju’s joy at finding the answers to his questions reflects the impact on Christians ministering in northern India. Barnabas Fund has provided Christian literature to untrained pastors, church elders and “Bible women”. A distribution campaign has revitalised their work in many needy areas of the country.
A life-changing gift to disadvantaged leaders
To describe the gifts of selected spiritual books as life changing is no exaggeration. Pastors in these rural areas are doubly disadvantaged. They have not received any formal training in ministry and they are too poor to buy study materials. Yet they are active in evangelism and church planting as well as building up their existing congregations. Selected spiritual books were distributed to leaders in the less evangelised regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, with several other states envisaged for later distribution. Pro-Hindutva parties rule most of these states and Christians face much opposition and persecution.
A wealth of materials
In all, some 250 packages of 26 Christian books in the Hindi language were assembled carefully with each recipient in mind. The packages included a breadth of titles including devotionals, apologetics, worship and preaching guides, children’s and small group ministry. They covered topics ranging from Christian leadership and the family to discipleship and practical Christianity and church growth. Our project partners organised one-day seminars in each location where books were distributed, at which they trained the Christian workers in making best use of the literature.
Even attending the distribution session was a challenge
Attending the distribution day brought its challenges. Gathering groups of people for distribution and seminars was not without risk, and the weather is hardly inviting with abnormal temperatures dropping down to 5°C in places. In one of the organisers’ homes flooding almost drowned the stock of books just days before the distribution. The vast distances in India were also an issue. On one occasion the seminar organisers were delayed for ten hours because of vehicle repairs and the farmers’ strike.
Bible treasures which will never fade
The response of the church leaders was overwhelming gratitude to God and excitement at how their new resources enable their ministries to grow. Many had been actively serving for years yet never had the opportunity to study the Bible in depth. As Bible woman Chancal declared, “Money will come and go, but these Bible treasures will always stay with us.” The leaders spoke of receiving fresh vision both for their own personal growth and to teach their church members effectively. Pastor Shankar affirmed, “By reading these books I and my church people will grow in spiritual life. And our people will also be able to avoid false teaching.” Pastor Vijay went even further. “With these books I have opened a library in my church and informed all my church members to read. I believe that through these books our church people will be educated and grow in their faith so that they can face any challenges. I believe everything in this world will be destroyed but not God’s Word.” The impetus given to the growth of God’s church will not only give huge encouragement to those serving on the front line but also multiply the effectiveness of their ministries for many years to come.
Project reference: PR1542