The early Christians passed through the ages of persecution
during the period of Nero and latter peace under the Emperor
Constantine. Eventually the misunderstanding of Christianity
gave birth to Islam which wiped out Christianity in the North
African regions. Then the Crusades to occupy Jerusalem brought
further animosity between the Muslims and Christians. This also
closed the trade route to Asia, particularly to India by the
Islamic nations such as Turkey which blocked the Christian
nations to pass through to India. Because of which the Pope
commissioned kings of Europe to find India by sea route which
resulted in finding the Continents of America, Africa, Asia and
thus the whole world became the colonies of various countries of
Europe. During this time the division of Christianity into two
as Roman Catholics and Protestants further divided the new
colonized world. The European countries which conquered brought
their brand of Christianity to different parts of the world.
Thus, Christianity, till today, is seen as the religion of
Europe and the religion of the conquerors and some see it as the
religion of the exploiters of the nations. This has its
tremendous backlogs for Christianity.
The Protestant missionaries worked very hard and the world was
influenced by the many missionaries who sacrificially worked to
help people to follow Christianity. They shaped the present
missions’ thinking and the total mission endeavours in the newly
awakened mission sending countries. The missions’ methods and
policies were strongly influenced by the then leading Protestant
missionaries such as William Carey, Hudson Taylor, William
Cameroon Townsend, and Donald McGavran. The philosophies and
practices of mission organisations emerged from those people,
thoughts and times.
In this scenario around about 1950s most of the European
colonized nations became independent and lost the traditional
Protestant Western missionary services. The new independent
nations restricted visas for the traditional missionaries. Thus,
the church was left stranded developing their own indigenous
leadership for their church denominations. Once the indigenous
leadership for the churches established, due to some revival and
consciousness about the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus
Christ, Mission organisations came into being from mid 1960s.
The Origins of Indian Missions:
In this scenario, in India prior to 1965 there were only four
indigenous missions. From 1965 the new born mission
organisations and Indian Christians became conscious of
cross-cultural evangelism. Most of the philosophies of mission,
methods, and policies were built on the exact copies of the
Western missionaries of the past. Some were good and some of
them were and are irrelevant for the day.
Why & How India Missions Association was formed?
In this scenario, in 1977, the newly emerged missions gathered
to form India Missions Association in the gathering by the
Evangelical Fellowship of India at Devlalai, Maharastra. IMA was
formed to connect and to deal with the issues of being
cross-cultural missions. Thus, IMA was formed by five different
mission agencies to bring together Christian organisations in
India for mutual help, co-operation, and corporate expression.
Today IMA represents 243 Indian mission organisations, agencies
and Church groups and about 60,000 Christian workers within
India and beyond.
The Mission of IMA:
India Missions Association is the national federation of
missions in India, which assists Missions and Churches in the
proclamation of the Good news and in making disciples of Jesus
Christ among all peoples, languages, and geographical areas
through members who partner to share resources, research, and
training by their effective accountability and care of their
The Vision of IMA:
To connect and enhance missions and churches to establish Jesus
worshipping fellowships among every people group within India
Objectives of IMA:
To Be An Association
For All Christian Organisations and churches involved in
Missions in India & beyond.
To Be A Facilitator
For Cooperation, Partnerships & Networks Through Sharing
To Be A Challenging Voice
In the Church For Increased Commitment To Missions.
To Be An Initiator
For Training, Workshops, Consultations, Conferences in New
To Disseminate Information
For Mobilising Prayer & Creating Awareness on Mission Issues.
To Connect Peoples
In Churches & Missions both Locally & Globally.
To Be a Catalyst
In Evolving Corporate Vision, Ethos & Strategy.
To Empower Missions
In Caring For People Involved In Their Ministry.
To Present An United Stand
Before the Public & the Government for the Cause Of Missions.
* To Establish Mutual Transparency & Accountability
In Ministry, Leadership & Management Practices.
Internal Values of IMA:
* To be a visionary and a catalyst
* To strive to be a model
* To be accountable and transparent
* To care for and build one another
* To encourage formation of national and multi-cultural teams
* To have multi-linguistic personnel and operations
* To advocate excellence in ministry performance
* To be guided by the Word and the Spirit
* To comply with statutory requirements of the land
* To enrich indigenous leadership and finance
Landmarks in the history of India Missions Association:
All India Congress on Missions & Evangelism (AICOME) was held at
organised by the Evangelical Fellowship of
1977 - An Ad Hoc Committee was appointed to follow up the
recommendation of AICOME for the formation of a Missions
Association. Original Steering Team – Ad-hoc Committee Members
1. Mr. John Richard, EFI - (Chairman)
2. Rev. Theodore Williams, Indian Evangelical
3. Mr. R. Stanley, Full Gospel Young Men’s Association
(Blessing Youth Mission) - (Treasurer)
4. Mr. N. Emil Jebasingh, Friends Missionary Prayer
5. Mr. D T Rajah, Fellowship of Evangelical Friends
6. Mr. Thomas Samuel, Quiet Corner
7. Rev. Henry Joseph, Maranatha Full Gospel
India Missions Association was formed with Six member
1978 - The first Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the
first Annual Conference was held at Quiet Corner, Mavanahalla,
Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.
1979 - IMA was registered as a Society under the
Karnataka Societies Registration Act of with its registered
office at 38, Langford Road, Bangalore.
IMA Membership grew to ten members
1980 - Indian Institute of Cross Cultural Communication –
The Bible Translation & Literacy Network was formed by IMA in
partnership with SIL / WBT
1982 - The First Mission Leadership Training was
1983 - The Unreached People’s Survey was initiated
1985 - Mr. Ebenezer Sunder Raj appointed as Associate
1986 - IMA Office was opened at Chennai
1990 - The First Management Seminar
1990 - The First National Consultation on Evangelism
1990 - The IMA Membership grew to 44 members
1992 - The Missionary Training Network was formed
1993 - Missionary Healthcare Network formed
1994 - The Indian Institute of Missiology was founded on
September 20, 1994
1994 - The Pin Code Survey of the presence of Christian
workers was launched
1994 - IMA and The National Council of Churches in India
(NCCI) jointly hold a Partnership Consultation and issue a Joint
Statement on Partnership in Nagpur.
1996 - Dr. K. Rajendran was appointed as Associate
1998 - IMA Delhi office opened with Mr. John Amalraj
appointed as Coordinator
1998 - Indian Missions Alliance Among Neighbours’ Network
(IMAAN) was formed
1998 - 14 acres of Land Purchased for the development of
IMA Centre at Hyderabad
1999 - Christian Institute of Management (CIM) was formed
1999 - Dr. K. Rajendran was appointed as the General
1999 - IMA Membership grew beyond 100 members
1999 - For the Annual and all IMA gatherings CEOs were
welcomed to bring their spouses, their second line leaders and
their children above 18 to start the exercise of building
second-line leadership and creating wider understanding of
missions and leadership. It created a new organisational
2000 - IMA Membership grew to 130 members.
2001 - IMA Guwahati office opened with Mr. Lalparlien
Kumar appointed as coordinator
2002 - IMA Hyderabad Office opened with Mr. John Amalraj
appointed as Team Leader 2002 - A part of the IMA Centre land
was approved by the State Government for the purpose of
2002 - IMA Silver Jubilee Celebrations was inaugurated at
2002 - The First IMA Annual Awards were presented Life
Time Achievement Award and
Mission of the Year Awards in six categories
2002 - IMA Membership grew above the 150 mark.
2003 - Dr. K. Rajendran shifts the office from Chennai to
2003 - IMA releases a booklet on missions’ best practices
after discussion by the member mission CEOs in the national
2003 - Think-tanks on mission issues became regular parts
of the IMA Activities.
2004 - National Youth Leaders conference was held at
Hyderabad to reach Indian Youth.
2005 - Think-tanks on women in mission, emerging church
planting and Younger CEOs became the benchmark for missions’
2005 - IMA Membership crosses 200th mark.
2005 - First MK camp was conducted by IMA at Pune.
2006 - Historical IMA National conference for the first
time was held in Aizawl, Mizoram, recognising the unique
contribution of the Church and missions in North Eastern India
who have the potential to reach East Asia to begin with.
2007 - IMA National conference was held in Dehradun,
Uttrakhand, North India during 3-5 May 2007.
2008 - IMA National conference was held in Hyderabad.
2009 - IMA National conference was held in Bangalore.
2010 - IMA National conference was held in Nagpur.
2011 - IMA National conference was held in IMA Vision
City, Hyderabad during 13 - 17 Sept 2011.
2012 - IMA National conference was held in
IMA Vision City, Hyderabad
during 20 - 23 Sept 2012.
Issues being dealt with the mission / members of India Missions
Understanding the big picture – Education of the big picture
Missions are in abstraction with out the total picture of India
Maturing Church in India
Church Education on Missions
Relationship of missions and churches
Mobilising the church
Leadership – capacity building - Continuous development
Drafting Future Leadership
Voluntary Submission to Scrutiny and Accountability
Leaders' Personal Accountability
Right kind of leadership teams and personnel
Exploring newer Partnership
Owning & promoting the vision
Excellence and Spirituality
Mission Accountability and Standards
Encouraging short-term Missionaries
Proper Cultural Adaptation of the Missionary
Balance between Prayer and Work
The Methods and Means for Evangelism
“Think-tank” on several issues to rethink new ways to present
Mass Movement and Individual Conversion
Integration of Converts and Christian Mind-set
Follow-up of newer followers for effectiveness and to be rooted
Integration on New Converts into the Church
Christianity and Contextualisation
Divergent Opinions over Means
Mission: Evangelism and Social Work
Misunderstood concept of the “holistic” Gospel to the “needy”
Missionary Integration and its Implications
Partly and Fully paid Missionaries
Full-time Evangelists, Tent-Makers and Laymen-evangelism,
Short-term and Long-term Missionaries
Missionaries and the Local Workers
Indian Missionaries in Cross-cultural Evangelism and Domestic
Issues relating to the relationship between the cross-cultural
missionaries and local missionaries.
Respect Comity Agreements
Standards in Missionary Welfare
Missionary Care Issues for CEOs, missionaries, families, MKs
[Handling the emotional and cultural baggage carried by the
missionary; Discouragements; Faith Elements and Convictions
carried over from others; Financial Pressure; Pastoral Care;
Health Care and Medical Schemes; Children's Schooling; Pension
and Retirement Benefits; Personal Housing and Death Relief
Questions asked along the way as a re-think process:
? Cross- cultural & Cross Geographical – What is mission?
? Biblically, who is the needy – poor?
? Education, Uplifting and evangelisation is mixed – How do we
? Should we suppose to create parallel Government – Christian
? Should there be the Specialists Syndrome of full-time and
Tent-maker missionaries; called and uncalled for mission;
Balancing of ACTS 1:8?
? Does mission belong to just a few elected?
? Should all customs in a society be looked upon as
“unspiritual” and reject them?
? Should we continue to do sporadic evangelism or comprehensive
to impact India?
? Should there be more innovation and relevance in the
communication of the Gospel?
? Has the mission confused & mixed up with Education, Uplifting
people as evangelisation?
? What gave us the idea of “unreached Peoples” instead of Gospel
for all people?
? Do only the poor [people, nations] need the Gospel?
? What philosophies shaped the concept of “unreached peoples”?
? What philosophies shaped the most missions to going to the
? Has the unreached people concept been the answer to effect the
total India? Why or why not?
? Should Indian Christians consider mission outside of India?
? Should the missionaries be made pastors on the field? What are
the advantages and disadvantages of this issue?
? When do the missionaries hand the churches over to the locals?
? Are the locals, working with the missionaries same as
missionaries? [Some become better equipped than the
missionaries! How do we treat them?]
? Are the missions just cross-geographical?
? Has globalisation affected the missions?
? Will the “faith missions” survive in the future? What is the
crux of the faith missions?
? What do we mean by indigenisation of missions? Are the
missions in India indigenous?
? What is the role of the church in the communities around them?
? How does Acts 1:8 applies to the church and not just to the
? If so what is mission? If so who are missionaries?
? Where and when we accommodate tent making missionaries?
? What is the perception of missions in the local church?
? What is the correct perception of missions and does it tally
with the normal church’s perception?
? How do we educate, train and foster the church in missions?
? Are there any ways where the churches and missions can change
to accommodate the large increase of Christ followers from other
communities into the fellowship?
? How do we accommodate large numbers of people turning to
Christ in to the Christian movement?
? Can we change some of the carried over “Christian” practices
to Indian practices and yet retain Christianity as Indians?
? How do we handle “churchless” followers of Christ?
? What are the actual contemporary challenges of missions in
India and the world?
? What is the place of India Missions Association?
? What is the place of all the IMA Networks?
? What is the place of IMA think-tanks?
Continuous challenges in keeping the IMA to be effective:
Finding the right kind of leaders to lead all the new ways to
Developing newer leaders to relate to the rest of the world
Leaders to relate to the rest of the world as equal partners
and not presenting only the poor India.
Funding restrictions for all the innovative programmes and
Irregular membership fees paid from the members.
Often, members weighing the benefit of being in IMA just on
Expectations from some members for IMA to be their invisible
promotional – fund raising office.
Educating the Church and mission organisations’ leadership on
the new challenges of missions and innovative ways of impacting
the nation for Christ. Change is hard!
Educating missions and churches to caring for their
Boldness, Innovation, insight and change for the Future in
More innovative thinkers, who will write, communicate and
Membership is open to Indian Missions (Christian organizations
and Church groups) both inter-denominational and denominational,
which are involved in ministry within or across
geographic, linguistic, ethnic or socio-economic distance
resulting in establishing of worshipping fellowship of peoples
within India or outside.
Membership is also open to Indian missionary training centers,
research centers, mission resource agencies, funding,
sponsoring, facilitating, and other allied service groups.
1. Membership is open to Indian Missions (Christian
organizations and Church groups) both inter-denominational and
denominational who are involved in ministry within or across
geographic, linguistic, ethnic or socio-economic distance
resulting in establishing of worshipping fellowship of peoples
within India or outside.
2. Membership is also open to Indian missionary training
centres, research centres, mission resource, and funding,
sponsoring, facilitating and other allied service groups.
3. Partners: Partnership is open for overseas Missions &
Churches involved in ministry to Indians.
1. The organization (or in the case of a mission’s department,
its parent body) must have been functioning for at least three
years as a registered body under the Societies / Trust Act.
2. The organization (or its parent body) should be registered
with the Commissioner of Income tax.
3. There should be a minimum of at least seven board members or
trustees and generally no two persons of the same family
function as an office bearer of the organization.
4. An organization seeking membership with IMA, having satisfied
itself that it qualifies, must pass a resolution seeking in its
board meeting to apply for IMA membership.
5. Subscribe to IMA’s statement of faith.
6. Accept the annual membership contribution.
7. Accept the Mission Field comity arrangement of IMA.
8. Accept the best practices of Ministry, Leadership &
Management as advocated by IMA.
Needed Documents / Check List:
1. The IMA Membership Application Form duly filled & attested.
2. The Mission fields, branch offices and other appendix details
duly filled in.
3. A copy of your society / trust / company registration
4. A copy of your audited accounts for the last three years.
5. A copy of the resolution of your board seeking membership
6. A copy of your recent newsletter or magazine.
7. A copy of your introduction folder / information brochure.
8. A copy of your latest Annual Report read in your last AGM or
9. A copy of your Memorandum of Association, Bye laws / Rules &
Regulations / Trust deed.
10. Enclose a Demand Draft in favour of India Missions
Association, Hyderabad for Rs. 1500/- as processing fee.
Membership processing Fee:
When sending the filled in membership application form, please
include the membership processing fee for Rs
1500/-(DD in favour of India Missions Association).
How the Membership Application is processed:
When the membership application form dully filled in is received
by our Member Relation Team in Hyderabad, the same is
scrutinized. After which a senior staff of IMA makes a personal
visit to build a relationship. Later the application is
presented to the IMA Executive Committee that meets once in a
six months. During the meeting the application again is
scrutinized by the Executive members before it is accepted for
membership. All the IMA members are then issued a membership
certificate that is normally valid for about three years.
More details on the this...Please contact
Partnership is open to overseas missions, churches and
individuals involved in
ministry to Indians.
IMA exists by the members and for the members. All members
contribute toward the financial needs of IMA annually.
IMA's Global Relationships:
IMA partners with International bodies such as the World
Evangelical Alliance - Missions Commission, Great Commission
Roundtable, Lausanne, Ethne Movement, US Center for World
Missions, COMIBAM, Pioneers, NEMA and other such bodies.
IMA's National Relationships:
IMA is the founding partner of Indian Institute of Missiology (IIM),
Christian Institute of Management (CIM), India Leadership
Development Commission (ILDC) and Christians in Service (CIS -
Prabhav) and partners with certain other national & regional
Statement of Faith:
We believe in:
1. The Holy Bible which is the fully and uniquely inspired Word
of God, the only infallible, sufficient, and authoritative rule
of faith and practice.
2. One God eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and
3. The deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His
sinless life, His vicarious death and atonement through His shed
blood, His bodily resurrection, His ascension, His mediatorial
intercession, and His personal return in power and glory. He is
the only Saviour of mankind.
4. The salvation of lost and sinful men through regeneration by
the Holy Spirit. Salvation is by grace through faith.
5. The indwelling of the believer by the Holy Spirit, enabling
the Christian to live a godly life.
6. The resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that
are saved unto to the resurrection of life, and they that are
lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
7. The spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus
Christ, who comprise the Church, the Body of Christ.
Management of IMA:
IMA is corporately governed by the General Body, which consists
of the CEOs of all its 200 Plus member organisations. The
General Body annually elects its representatives to form the
Executive Committee / Board of Directors, who meet twice a year
and at other times, through correspondences.
The term of the executive members is for three years and could
be re-nominated for one more term and could continue if elected
by the general body. Maximum would be for two-terms and step
down for a break of at least one year.
All the programs and activities of IMA have the proactive policy
guidance of the representative team of leaders who are groomed
and approved by the Executive Committee.
Benefits of being with IMA:
a. Contributions of IMA to its Member Missions
* Creates a
National platform for fraternity, fellowship and corporate
* Creates common mission focus to corporately affect the whole
nation with the Gospel in the light of the contemporary
* Connects members with one another for mutual learning.
* Connects members to prayer partners & resource agencies.
* Equips members for excellence in ministry, leadership &
* Promotes active networking among members on the field.
* Trains & develops emerging multicultural & linguistic leaders
* Initiating Appropriate Trainings to be contextualised and
* Provides a forum for sharing of information through all media.
* Provides a national voice for the cause of mission.
* Provides opportunities for members to contribute for global
* Provides corporate credibility through mutual accountability.
* Creates think-tank forums to rethink and regroup for the
current missions’ issues. Informing - Analysing the present and
pointing the way forward.
* Creates membercare forums of all the missions personnel
concerned [CEOs, missionaries, missionary families, MKs and
* Making Peace between the missions on possible
* Serving all missions and churches in any possible way.
b. Contribution of Member Missions to each other
* Honour the comity agreement
* Complement and cooperate with other missions and churches on
the mission field resulting in partnership & networking rather
* Maintain the corporate credibility
* Comply with the statutory requirements of the land and develop
excellence in ministry & management practices.
* Share the resources & expertise
* Share your resources like training, research information,
infrastructure facilities, ministry tools and personnel with
* Participate in all IMA programs
* Participate in all the IMA programs such as conferences,
seminars, consultations, training programs and fulfill a larger
vision for our nation.
* Communicate your ministry
* Communicate with other missions and churches what god is doing
in your ministry and various ministry needs through IMA
* Support the functioning of IMA by regularly sending the annual
membership contribution, seconding your staff to IMA to assume
various responsibilities, sponsoring IMA’s publications,
partnering IMA in joint program & events and voluntarily sending
in gifts and donations for other needs of IMA.
IMA exists by the member missions and for the member missions.
Only when the members fulfil their obligations, IMA will be able
to function to its fullest potential of connecting and enhancing
missions and churches to establish a worshipping fellowship of
people among every ethnic, social, economic, vocational and
linguistic people groups within India and beyond.
Mission Field Comity Arrangement:
1. A ‘mission station’ is defined as a place where one or more
full-time paid missionaries of a particular mission reside
permanently and work in and around that place in evangelism/
pastoral/ socio-economic ministries. An occasional preaching
point or the residence of an honorary worker will not amount to
a ‘mission station’.
2. Member organisations will send to IMA annually, the location
of all their ‘mission stations’. They will also inform IMA of
any change in the location of their mission stations
3. The opening of a new station in a geographical (rural, urban
or tribal) area should not be done within the working distance
of another mission. One practical unit of working distance is
the Postal PIN code area. Each Postal PIN area represents a
population of about 35,000. If a mission or a church has a
regular working station in a particular PIN code area, the other
missions/churches should avoid establishing similar work in that
PIN code area.
4. Clause  shall not apply where two organisations work in or
near the same place among two distinct people groups [for
example: Punjabis and Tamils in Delhi] or are working among two
different linguistic groups [for example Bhojpuri’s and Mythili
in Patna] or are involved in two distinct ministries [for
example: Bible Correspondence Follow-up and Ministry to the
Blind]. IMA advises that before starting the work, the two
organisations should enter into a mutual written agreement to
confine themselves to their stated goals and not overlap at a
5. Any overlap of ministry or intrusion into one another’s work
or structure should be reported immediately to the leader of the
concerned organisation. It is best to immediately sort out such
problems between the two organisations by themselves. If there
is no solution found within a reasonable period, the matter can
be brought to the notice of IMA. Once both the organisations
establish and develop their work in their own way by
overlapping, later it becomes extremely difficult to resolve
6. [a] If a missionary leaves one mission (organisation) and
joins another mission (organisation), but wants to continue to
work in the same place, this should not be permitted. The second
organisation (mission) cannot inherit the work in that station
as its work. The mission station and the work belong to the
first mission. The second mission should post that missionary to
a new area as per the above guidelines.
If the first mission is unable to continue to work in that
station, then with the written consent and invitation of the
first mission, the second mission can start work in that
[b] A Congregation is defined as a group of at least 6 adults
[from non-Christian background] led to faith, baptized and given
pastoral care by that organisation. A smaller group is called a
Other missions should not enter the congregation [or weekly
preaching point] established by one mission / church. If the
paid worker who is pastoring that congregation [like a pastor /
evangelist/ Social worker] leaves this and joins another
mission, the congregation still belongs to the first mission.
The second mission cannot post any of its paid or voluntary
staff to pastor this congregation. In all such posting of staff,
clause 6 [a] of the guidelines shall apply.
7. Before opening any new station among any people groups,
linguistic groups or geographical areas, organisations should
refer to IMA to verify if there are any other organisation
working in that particular people groups, linguistic groups or
8. IMA strongly advises the member organisations to concentrate
on selected people groups, linguistic groups or geographical
areas. Most of the conflicts in overlap of mission field work
between missions happen because missions do not concentrate
their manpower in a few selected areas. Instead, many missions
scatter their manpower all over the country.
9. What is stated above for member organisations should equally
apply to member church / denominations which are involved in
evangelistic outreach and church planting or social work.
10. The member organisations when requested for clarification on
such comity issues shall render full co-operation and provide
all the required information and abide by the decisions made.
IMA Members Credibility: Any mission / Church Missions Board
that seeks membership in IMA is required to fulfill certain
pre-conditions before it is accepted as a member to maintain the
corporate credibility. The membership application is then
scrutinized and where necessary one of the IMA Senior staff
makes a personal visit. After this process, the IMA Executive
Committee accepts the new members. All members of IMA are issued
a membership certificate that is valid for about three years.
Prayer and Vision in fresh thinking:
Matt 9: 37 & 38: He said to his disciples, “The harvest is so
great, but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in
charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his
For the vision of the founding leaders; For the pioneering
cooperation of member missions; For the partnership in raising
the credibility of Indian Missions and For the partnership of
missions in research & training.
India Missions Association, 5-47, Kundanpally (Village),
Godumakunta (Panchayat), Keesara (Mandal), Rampally (Post),
R. R. District - 501301
Andhra Pradesh, India.