Dear fellow servants in the Lord’s vineyard,
Greetings from all of us here at the IMA office in the most Blessed Name of our Saviour and Lord Christ Jesus.
Two trips define my ministry trips for February.
From 12-14th February Dr Theodore Srinivasagam, Executive Consultant IMA and I were guests of the Maninagar CNI Church, Ahmedabad, Gujarat at their Golden Jubilee Celebrations. What was unique about this Jubilee Celebrations was that it was a Mission centred programme, with open air services in the evenings. I also observed that the church members led by the pastor Rev Arthur Rajwadi are very active in mission in and around the city of Ahmedabad.
One of their jubilee goals is to raise fifty more such missionaries, lay women and men, who would commit part of their time to be involved in mission work. Praise God.
The other ministry trip was to South India from 25-29 February undertaken together with Mr Zohmingthanga, the Executive Secretary, Member Relations. We began our trip with a meeting of the nascent Church Planters Network, in Chennai on 25h. From Chennai we went further South till Nagercoil and returned through Kurakulam (Kerala) visiting member Missions in their offices. We are very grateful to the former Chair of IMA, Pastor Paul Radhakrishnan, CEO of Mahanaim Ministries for taking us around in his vehicle.
It may be mentioned that now Mr Zohmingthanga is the sole officer-in-charge of all member Mission matters in the IMA office since Mr Prakash Nayak resigned from IMA as of 31st September 2015. So kindly address all matters in regard to Member Relations to Mr Zohmingthanga <email@example.com>
A word about the Church Planters Network:
Though the majority of the IMA members are involved in church planting ministry, many have now diversified and as such a network for church planters within the ambit of IMA has become a necessity. The Network welcomes even those who are not members of IMA. The Church Planters (CP) Network emerged with the following objectives:
The initial focus of the CP Network will be in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Bihar. [Click here to read the Purpose Document of the IMA Church Planters Network]
Another Network that has emerged recently is the Research Workers Network with the stated aim to bring all Indian Mission Research workers under one common platform for better coordination and cooperation. A conference of this Network is planned for June 7-9, 2016 in Hyderabad.
Thank you for praying for the ministries of IMA and in particular the staff and families of IMA staff.
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Dr. I. Wati Longkumer
General Secretary, India Missions Association
THEME: MISSION IN THE BIBLE.
BIBLE STUDY 3
MISSION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
GOD’S CENTRIPETAL MISSION – FROM A FEW TO MANY
In the last two issues we saw some of the characteristics of the God of the Old Testament who has a missionary heart. We saw that –
1. He is an Universal God
2. He is a Creator Cod
3. He had a plan of salvation when man sinned
4. He has a concern for all humanity
Now we will go further and conclude the characteristics of this missionary God.
5. GOD PLANNED A MOVEMENT FROM THE PARTICULAR TO THE UNIVERSAL
God in the Old Testament is not a passive God as far as His mission to the world is concerned. He planned a movement from a single person or a few to seek out the majority. We see at least 3 such movements in the Old Testament.
1. A movement from Abraham to all the families of the earth.
2. A movement from the nation of Israel to all nations
3. A movement from David the King who rules from Zion to the ends of the earth.
1) A movement from Abraham to all the Families of the earth
In Genesis 12: 1-3 we see God giving the 3-fold promise to Abram where he promised Abram –
C. S. Lewis said, “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” Abraham lost the comfort and blessing of being in his own place in Ur and later in Haran. But God gave him a much better blessing. Through him he blessed the nation of Israel. But it did not stop there. It is through the blessing that Abram received, that all the families of the earth were blessed. So Abraham became a blessing to all the families of the world.
This is one of the first times that the word ‘bless’ occurs in the Bible. What is a blessing? It is God’s favour, care and protection.
ABRAHAM ---- Blessing ----> ALL FAMILIES
This blessing is repeated 4 times:
You and I are blessed today because of the promise God gave to Abraham that he will bless all the families of the earth through him and his obedience.
2) A movement from the Nation of Israel to All Nations
From Abraham came the nation of Israel. God revealed himself to the nation of Israel so that it will be a light house to all the nations of the world and they too will come to worship Jehovah.
ISRAEL ---- God’s Revelation ----> ALL NATIONS
a. God’s revelation to the nation of Israel
We see this revelation of God to Israel in various ways. Here are a few examples.
God’s longing for other nations
c. God showing his glory to other nations
The purpose of God choosing the nation of Israel was to show the glory of God to the nations. Unfortunately this did not happen except only during the time of King Solomon. We see the following taking place during the reign of King Solomon.
Both King Hiram of Tyre and Queen of Sheba, who were gentile royalty, greatly admired Solomon for his wisdom and wealth, but praised the ‘God of David and Solomon’. The wisdom and glory of Solomon pointed to the God of Israel and drew people to the God of Israel. Are we doing this through our lives?
But at all other times Israel sinned and failed. So God had to punish them and send them into exile. But he continued to love them.
3) A movement from King David who ruled from Zion to the Ends of the Earth
God singled out David and said,”I have chosen David to rule my people Israel”. He also chose Mount Zion where he installed him and his descendants as rulers in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:16; Ps. 78: 67-72).
DAVID IN ZION ---- God’s Kingdom ----> ALL CREATION
We also see several other references in scripture about this. A few examples are given below.
It was in the line of David that Jesus Christ was born extending the rule of God to all the earth to all creation.
So God’s mission in the Old Testament moves from the Particular to the Universal and from the single or few to many.
6. GOD DESIRES TO BRING ALL FAMILIES, PEOPLES AND NATIONS TO HIMSELF
We saw earlier that the promise of God to Abraham to bless him was not just for him and his family alone, but to be extended to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12: 3). We also see the desire in the heart of David for foreigners to find Yahweh in his prayer (1 Kings 8:41-43). The Psalmist’s longing for all peoples and nations of the earth is exemplified in Psalm 67:2-4 when he sings “… that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.”
As a result God’s purposes for Israel were not fulfilled in the Old Testament.
7. CENTRIPETAL MISSION OF GOD – GOD’S MISSION THROUGH A MINORITY
This was God’s vision for the people of Israel. But this was not fulfilled except in the time of King Solomon and in a few other instances (1 Kings 10:9; 2 Kings 5:7).
How about you? Are you a light shining in the darkness or has the darkness over whelmed you? Are you attracting others to Christ? Are you fulfilling God’s mission in your life?
* Dr R. Theodore Srinivasagam is the Executive Consultant of the India Missions Association. He was formerly the General Secretary of IMA.
It is a privilege to be a leader and the greatest privilege is to be a Mission leader.
What is Mission leadership?
Doing what God wants us to do is leadership in mission. There is immense joy in serving our great God no matter what kind of service He has called us to do. It is through the process of leadership that he moulds and shapes us
Mission is getting connected to the heart of God. God delights in his people and it pleases him when we as His servants do his will from our heart. To be a Mission leader is a growing and learning experience for me. He continues to teach, instruct and keeps His eyes upon us and counsels us. Learning from Him through the leadership position is a big gain for a mission leader.
Team work in Mission Leadership
Learning from others and their guidance helps us to serve in unity and togetherness and this creates opportunities to serve people towards His purposes. Through the years I have learnt that when we join hands with others, no matter what task He calls us to do, God will use us to help somebody if we do it in the power of the Spirit and for His glory. The fellowship with other mission leaders gives us great joy and oneness of mind and heart to serve Him. There is no competition or comparison, instead there is complementing and contributing to help others. This helps us to check our motives and agendas.
Purpose of Mission Leadership
The purpose of Mission leadership is not only to fulfill the task but to develop leaders and to help release their God-given potential. The excellent part about learning is servant-hood, considering others better than yourself, and not to think more highly of yourself than what you ought to think. Constantly getting connected to His love to lead others with love is a challenge in missions.
Shaping of the Mission Leadership
There will be times of discouragement and depression but for a mission leader that is where he gets a fresh perspective about himself and his work. We belong to each other and we need others. As much as God is concerned about His work, He is much more concerned about His worker. This trust in Him gives us the strength to keep serving. This is how Nehemiah acknowledged and said,’ the joy of the Lord is your strength'' (Neh. 8:10). Warren W. Wiersbe wrote, "No matter what task God has given you to do, always remember that your ministry touches a whole world if you are truly serving the Lord".
God wants to use our talents because it is He who has given them to us. Our competence comes from Him (2 Corinthians 3:5). Alongside developing our talents and abilities, God is interested in shaping our character. As God's instruments they need to be polished and sharpened. It is through the character building process and not through a popularity contest of this world that he moulds us. It takes more than a winning personality, effective decision-making, leading through discernment, and leading with determination, that helps the mission leader to step-up in leadership.
Mission leadership is built on basic principles and not on clever methods. Leadership in Missions is to find out our part in God’s global action. As we grow to understand what God is doing in and through us we cannot but help be challenged in our lifestyle, our commitment and our zeal in serving Him. As Wiersbe stated, it is a tremendous honour to see divine resources meeting human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.
May the good Lord help us to serve God and others with His love and humility.
* Mr. J.S. Anbu is the Executive Director of the Christian Institute of Management, Chennai. He can be contacted at the following email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On 25th of February 2016, Rev. Wati Longkumer and I attended the Church Planters Consultation at India Campus Crusade for Christ office in Chennai. 10 IMA member mission leaders participated in this consultation. We had a fruitful and meaningful discussion during this consultation.
On 26th February, we visited Mahanaim Ministries in Kovilpatti. We had a good time with Pastor Paul Radha Krishnan. He also helped us to visit other member missions in Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari and Trivandrum. We are thankful to Pastor Paul for helping us during this trip.
In Tirunelveli, we visited Console Evangelical Missionary Movement and had a good meeting with Mr. R.C. Bernard, the CEO of that organization. We also met Rev J Kingsly John Stephen, the General Secretary of Indian Missionary Society.
In Nagercoil, we visited Diocesan Missionary Prayer band and its leader Rev J. Justin Devadhas. We then met Rev T. I. Prem Deva Singh, the Director of Fellowship of Evangelical Friends. We had a good time of discussion with the leaders of those organizations. In Kotaram, we met Dr V Cornelius Devaprakasam, the CEO of India Good News Mission.
On 27th February morning, in Parassala, Kerala, we met Dr. A. Selva Raj, the leader of Indian Christian Research Organization. We also met Mr & Mrs (Drs) J P Isaac of Soul Winning Mission Church & Seminary, Kerala who is our prospective member.
In the afternoon we visited Harvest Ministries International in Arayanadu, Kerala where we also dropped in to see their ministry places like the School, Tailoring Centre etc. We are thankful for the hospitality given to us by Harvest Ministries International.
On 28th February Sunday, we attended Maranatha House of Prayer in Pavoorchatram, Tenkasi. Rev. Wati Longkumer, General Secretary of IMA was invited to preach in the morning service. It was good to have this fellowship in this charismatic church.
On 29th February we visited Bethany Fellowship Churches and Ministries in Erode. Rev. Wati led the morning devotion in the seminary. After devotion we had a short meeting with Rev. Dr. Jenson Jebaraj, the CEO and the Principal of the seminary.
On 29th afternoon we had an opportunity to meet Mrs. Sundandiradevi Panner Selvam, the CEO of Indian Bible Translators, Coimbatore and other leaders of the organisation. Their main ministry effort is to translate the Bible into tribal languages.
On 29th evening, we visited Tribal Mission of Annaikatty, Coimbatore. It was encouraging to see their work in that area. Dr. K. Muralidhar, the CEO of this organisation works hard for the community. His sacrifice for the tribal community is highly appreciated.
Overall, the visit of IMA member missions in South India was encouraging and the missions were predominantly doing well. Having said that, the missions must also think about the larger issues of mission challenges of our country. Let us uphold these missions in our prayers.
NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
Rev Sudarshan Thomas - New General Secretary of Friends Missionary Prayer
BALAI IN INDIA
Pop. in India - 23,30,000
Introduction: The Balais are weavers and village watchmen and are perhaps an occupational group and are considered low-caste. Their name is a corruption of the Hindiword "bulahi" meaning "one who calls" or a "messenger". They have a mixed origin probably fromKoris, Kathia and Mahar.
Location and Language: They are found in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. The major language is Hindi.
Lifestyle and Culture: They have sub-castes called Nimar, Gannore, Kati, Kori and Mahar and the last three being names of distinct castes. Nimari is a local subdivision and many became Christians in 1897 to escape their degraded position within the Hindu caste system. Nimari Balahis are considered the oldest residents of Nimar and they eat the flesh of dead cattle. For marriages, they employ a Balahi Brahman, a priest of their own caste, to calculate the horoscope of the bride to fix the wedding date. At her wedding, the bride is dressed in new clothes and a sign in cow-dung is marked on the couple's foreheads as a sign of purification. She enters her husband's house with two water pots on her head as a token of the fertility she brings to the home. The widow is forbidden to marry the late husband's brother or relatives.
Occupation and Food Habits: They are agricultural labourers, day labourers, weavers, land owners and cultivators.
Religion: They celebrate major Hindu festivals like Dussera, Diwali, and Holi.
UPCOMING IMA EVENTS & PROGRAMMES
In March 2016:
· 9 – 11: Neighbors Training, Lucknow [Mr Zohming, Mr Solomon, Dr Theo Srinivasagam]
· 11: Pastors Meeting, Lucknow [Dr Wati, Mr Zohming, Mr Solomon, Dr Theo Srinivasagam]
NEEDS OF IMA FOR YOUR PRAYER & SUPPORT
The following are the needs of IMA:
- 2 days event for 35 people : Rs. 50,000
- 3 days event for 35 people : Rs. 75,000
- 5 days training for 35 people : Rs. 1.2 lakhs
- Laptops, LCD projectors & IT equipment : Rs. 4 lakhs
- 4-wheeler Vehicle : Rs. 8 lakhs
- IMA Accommodation & Conference facilities upgrading : Rs. 10 lakhs
- IMA Campus Farming : Rs. 1 lakh
For details you may write to Ms. Sharon Solomon at email@example.com
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