This will be a monthly E- News sent out by IMA. The target audience is mission and church leadership, missionaries in the field and the Christian public. I would value your input to take this forward.
Programs: We are planning several consultations and training programs this year in the IMA Vision City campus. All these have been geared to directly benefit missions and churches. We will be informing you about these programs in a month’s time. I request you to kindly send the appropriate mission leaders to these various programs and benefit for the onward movement of missions in this land.
in the Gospel (Philippians 1:5)
Working alone is easier compared to working with someone else. We have all experienced this at one time or other. Working with others means listening to the other, acceptance of the other, establishing trust, forsaking ones way of doing things and adjustments of various kinds.
However, the Lord Jesus Christ, when he sent his disciples out on a training mission, he sent them two by two (Luke 10.1). In fact the Great Commission itself was given to the community of his disciples, the church, and not to an individual.
Why was this? This is because that has been God’s eternal plan that we work together with God and with others. Independence of the human being beginning in the Garden of Eden has led him into disobedience and sin, ultimately making him to forsake God’s purposes. God knew we need each other to keep us obedient to Him and responsible to each other, so that we fulfil God’s missionary mandate.
In human relationships there can be various levels of partnership. There can be business partnership, where the partnership is confined only to a certain business activity, there can be scientific partnership where the partnership is confined to doing investigation and research on some aspect of enquiry, there can be educational partnership, health care partnership, social action and development partnership and so on. However, partnership in the gospel goes beyond any of these partnerships and goes to the spiritual aspect; the core of the one’s being as a Christian. This partnership therefore is not confined to just one aspect of life or one activity, but to the whole life, as the gospel transforms all aspects of our lives.
Paul understood from the very beginning of his missionary career that missionary work cannot be done in isolation. It has to be done in a spiritual partnership with God and his people. This fact was also understood by the church in Antioch and that is why the church sent Paul and Barnabas as partners in the first missionary enterprise to the gentiles (Acts 13:3).
Wherever Paul went on his missionary work we read that he had companions and wherever he established small churches, he made sure that it was a place of fellowship and partnership. These kinds of partnerships helped in the growth and expansion of the churches.
Paul planted a church along with his companions, in the city of Philippi heeding the Macedonian call (Acts 16: 6-40). In fact it was the first church in the European continent. Paul was thankful to this church in Philippi for their “partnership in the gospel” (Phil 1:5). The whole of this letter is flavoured with the concept of partnership. The focus of this partnership is the gospel and the various aspects of this partnership are elaborated in this book.
The Gospel, the good news of salvation, was made available to the whole world, because of the intimate relationship between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It was this relationship that enabled Jesus, the son to come into the world for our salvation.
Now this gospel to go out to the unreached cannot be done by any one individual, mission or church grouping. It has to be done in partnership with each other. This means acceptance, trust and willingness to work together.
We shall be looking at some of the important partnership themes in the book of Philippians, that are given below, in the coming issues.
· Partnership in Prayer
· Partnership in the Defence and Confirmation of the Gospel
· Partnership in the Advance of the Gospel
· Partnership in Work
· Partnership in Suffering and Trouble
· Partnership in Giving and Receiving
The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we long for and seek partnerships or are we loners in God’s ministry?
Rev. Dr. Susanta Patra was born in Cuttack, Odisha and served in the EU/CE ministries at a very young age. He served with Jatiyo Kristiyo Prochar Samiti, a mission in West Bengal, and later founded the National Fellowship, a pioneering Church planting movement based in Kolkata, which works today in 18 states.
After mentoring and handing over his responsibility in the National Fellowship, he was invited to be the General Director of IMA to oversee the IMA activities in June 2009. After Dr. K. Rajendran, on 5th December 2010, he was appointed as the General Secretary of the India Missions Association.
He brought to IMA 40 long years of missionary experience as a pioneer, church planter, mission strategist, mission researcher and mission trainer. During his term as IMA General Secretary, he worked hard to connect missions and churches. He conducted various national summits and training programs to equip both the church and mission leaders to understand each other and work together.
On 30th April 2014, he completed his extended term as the General Secretary of IMA and handed over charge to Dr. R. Theodore Srinivasagam.
He is married to Mrs. Asangla Patra from Nagaland and has two daughters Khristina, Martina and a son Nathan.
We thank Rev. Susanta Patra for his services to IMA and pray for God’s continued blessings on him and his family as he has taken over the leadership of Global Fellowship. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A TRIBUTE TO LATE DR. C. BARNABAS
Dr. C. Barnabas, Director of Indian Institute of Missiology (IIM), passed away on 7th May 2014. IMA conveys its deepest condolences to Mrs. Shantha Barnabas, their two daughters and all the staff of IIM.
It was in 1990, a few hundred heads of missions from all over the world gathered in Manila, Philippines to take major steps on Missionary Training in the third world. Three findings emerged prominent there.
First, while mission service was the most demanding profession, third world missions were giving the least amount of training to their mission candidates. Secondly theological training though valuable was not adequate for missioners (cross cultural evangelists). Thirdly the contents of missionary training used in the western institutions were largely not relevant to the third world.
Following Manila, the heads of Indian missions gathered in Chennai to take steps to meet the urgent needs mentioned above. But it required a man - a man with the vision, call, capacity and commitment to innovate, initiate, build and lead this pioneering movement for India, the nation with the largest number of missioners in the world.
Dr Barnabas was Head of the Chemistry Department in the renowned Bishop Heber College, Trichy in Tamilnadu. He was spending all his spare time in mission to the students and youth through Evangelical Graduates Fellowship, Christian Endeavour and other ministries. When presented with the need stated above, Barnabas took up the primary responsibility to form, build and lead the Indian Institute of Missiology as its Director.
IIM today affiliates most of the missionary training institutions across India, standardizes and accredits their courses, offers degrees, provides them with indigenous course materials from grass root level to doctoral research in Missiology. Under its accreditation over 5,000 missioners have been trained so far. Education is taken to where the missioner is working and not the other way around. Barnabas and his small team accomplished this within 20 years of its inception. IIM stands as a model to most nations in the world today.
Every movement speaks of the man behind it. Barnabas worked extremely hard till his last breath. He traveled extensively across India, mostly by train.
He was rigorously focused - to provide nationwide professional training in mission on par with other secular professions.
This phenomenal quantum of work he and his team accomplished, with the minimum of infrastructure and assets. Leaving his job as Head of the Department of BHC, Barnabas took a meager salary from IIM. He maintained a very simple life style shared by his wife Shantha and their two daughters.
Barnabas built and maintained excellent relationship with all churches and missions across India and developed active partnership with all national federations like IMA, EFI and ATA. Barnabas also contributed greatly in the growth of the Christian Institute if management especially in building its Management Study Courses.
May his legacy be carried on by the IIM team. (email@example.com).
Dr. Ebenezer Sunder Raj
Former General Secretary, India Missions Association
General Body Meeting of IMA - Farewell to Rev. Dr. Susanta Patra, the Outgoing General Secretary
The General body Meeting of IMA was held in the IMA Vision City Campus, Hyderabad on 30th April 2014. At that time
Rev. Dr. Susanta Patra shared his report and his vision and dreams. The AGM thanked him for his services to IMA as General Secretary from December 2010 to April 2014. Later Dr. R. Theodore Srinivasagam was inducted as General Secretary for an interim period of one year from 1st May 2014.
IMA Staff and their Contact Emails
IMA has a small team working at its office in Hyderabad. Listed below are their email ids to contact.
· For contacting IMA - firstname.lastname@example.org
· For General Secretary Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam - email@example.com
· For Associate General secretary Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer - firstname.lastname@example.org
· For Executive Secretary North Mr. Zohmingthanga - email@example.com
· For Executive Secretary South Mr. Prakash Nayak - firstname.lastname@example.org
· For Programs and Training Mr. Solomon Babu – email@example.com
· For Donor relations Mrs. Sharon Solomon – firstname.lastname@example.org
· For Finance Mr. Devasahayam – email@example.com
· For Research and communication Mr.R. Kannan - firstname.lastname@example.org
The IMA phone numbers are 08418-202063/64/65/66
Several Mission Leaders Get together meetings have been arranged for July 2014 in different locations in Southern India. At that time the IMA General Secretary, Dr. R. Theodore Srinivasagam, Associate General Secretary Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer and the Executive Secretary for South Mr. Prakash Nayak will meet with the mission leaders and interact with them.
Each of these have been sponsored by member missions or others and we are grateful to them for their hospitality. Please pray for these important meetings that the Lord will unite us with a common purpose.
We request Member Missions who are located in and around these areas to come and participate in these Get togethers. We would love to meet with you. All meetings start in the morning and end with lunch. For further details please call
Mr. Prakash at 09490794877.
NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
CANA is working closely with local churches to provide a vision for their community through “Church and Community Mobilization Process (CCMP). The first stage of CCPM is “Envisioning and equipping the church”. CCMP helps the church leaders and members to understand their Biblical mandate to serve their local communities. The process will help to build the confidence of the church members and help them identify their strengths and resources, so that they can believe that change is possible.
They work among the HIV/AIDS affected area in Patna. At present they have 20 HIV affected children in their home in Paliganj. They also directly help 60 HIV positive infected children who stay with their relatives. There are more than 300,000 children in Bihar suffering with AIDS. They are creating awareness programs in different places in Bihar and also appeal to local people to help and have a concern for the community. It needs Rs. 800/- per month per child.
A new Ministry Centre was dedicated on 23rd May 2014 in Bangalore. World Cassette outreach has been involved in recording and distributing the Gospels and the New Testament in various Indian languages. Teams from WCOI visit remote areas of our country to record these in the mother tongue of the local people. This is done in partnership with other mission organizations. For information on what they produce and are available for distribution, please contact the Director Rev. P.A. Sunder Rajan at <email@example.com >
A new campus with a purpose built Family Mission Centre was dedicated for the ministry of UIM on 31st May 2014 in Bangalore. This facility will enhance the ministry the mission has among families, youth and children especially in urban areas. A National help line was also dedicated by the local MLA. Dr. P.C. Matthew, the Director, has written a valuable book titled ‘Becoming a Missional Family’ and that was released at that time. For further details please contact him at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
WEA Mission Commission Global Consultation on Gospel-Church-Witness
Izmir, Turkey, 12 -17 May 2014
A report from WEA Mission Commission’s Leadership
The 13th Global Consultation of the World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission was held from 12 - 17 May in Izmir (Turkey.) The consultation saw more than 50 nations represented by 210 leaders come together in the geographic proximity of the Seven Churches of Revelation to dialogue around the theme: Gospel - Church - Witness.
The Book of Revelation informed the biblical reflections of the consultation, and being in the geographic proximity of the Seven Churches provided a unique guiding narrative for the consultation programme.
"This was one of the unique consultations where we have made use of the significant history of the geography to form a big part of the consultation experience, to also inform discussions on the current realities of the Global Church," said Bertil Ekstrom, Executive Director of the WEA Mission Commission.
The consultation was also unique and a first of its kind in this context, in the sense that all the table discussion feedback and interactions were facilitated on the password protected WEA MC Website forum. All the conference attendees were registered to access the discussion forum online, where attendees could engage in ongoing dialogue with one another around the themes of the plenary presentations. This online facilitation of the table discussion feedback made the consultation an environmentally friendly and secure paper-less experience. To engage with the discussions and their summaries, click here (http://mc.worldea.org/plenary-notes-discussions).
In addition to plenary session presentations and evening programme celebrations, the MC Task forces and Networks met in afternoon workshop sessions to dialogue and work on their respective partnerships and shared resources.
Included in the community reflection time during the consultation, attendees spent an afternoon in the excavated ancient city of Ephesus. Upon conclusion of the consultation, many of the attendees did a tour of the Seven Churches of Revelation, continuing to engage with the message of the Spirit to the churches.
One of the document outcomes of the conference was a Letter from Smyrna to the Global Church that can be accessed here. (http://mc.worldea.org/news/letter-from-smyrna-to-the-global-church-wea-mc-global-consultation-2014).
The India Missions Association was represented in this unique event by Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer, Associate General Secretary and Mr. R. Kannan who is involved in Research and Communication.
Lingayats of India
· Introduction and History
The Lingayat people are known for wearing a linga, an object representing Shiva. They are also known as Virashiva, meaning devout worshipper of Shiva. There are numerous groups among them, especially in the state of Karnataka
This group was formed in the 12th century by Basava, a philosopher and a social reformer, who was born in 1131. He taught against the caste system and its regulations. He envisioned a casteless society, though the resulting society eventually began drawing up lines of caste distinctions again, creating their own hierarchy of social status after Basava's death.
Basava consented to the marriage of a Brahmin woman and a man from an untouchable caste. This story reached the ears of King Bijjala of the Chalukyan kingdom, under whom Basava was working as his chief minister. He punished the groom and the fathers of the bride and groom by gouging out their eyes and dragging them to their deaths behind an elephant. Basava saw this punishment as unacceptable and moved to Kudula Sangama where he died in 1167.
· Where are they located?
They are found primarily in Karnataka, where they comprise a major population with great influence. They are also found in significant numbers in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
· What are their lives like?
The Lingyats are vegetarian and refrain from alcoholic drinks. They are known to be a progressive people and there are people from many walks of life and religious expressions found among them. Many work in government services, but others are involved in several occupations, including being artisans, cultivators and priests.
· What are their beliefs?
They have a series of initiatory rites, including Lingadharane, the bestowing of the linga. This rite is usually performed within the first week of a child's life. From that day onward, the person will wear the stone in a box around his neck as an act of worship to Shiva. The linga is not seen as a mere representation of God, but rather as God himself
Lingayats reject polytheism and the Vedas. The sacred texts of Lingayats are the Vachanas written in Kannada. They believe in a six stage path of salvation leading to complete oneness with the Linga and give high value for experience.
· General Info:
· Languages spoken by Lingayats:
· Progress of the Gospel
There are not many Christians, but they are growing with dispersed CP activity. Some missions who have seen results among them are - IEM, IEHC, OM, BYM, SIGO, CON, AG, Independent Individuals. Bible translation, tracts, testimony booklet, Jesus film, Gospel Recordings materials, Radio broadcast are available.
· Praise and Prayer
Praise God for an ongoing effective partnership among missions and churches working among these people. Pray for various ministries and training of new believers and for the spread of the gospel throughout this influential community.
[Source: IMA, www.joshuaproject.net & Photo - IMB-SBC]