Despite persecution, evangelism training programs see growth explosion, new problems

By July 4, 2008

India (MNN) — It can take up to two years to train a church
planter in India. 

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India's Dave Stravers
says the spiritual climate is that ready. "It can be quite embarrassing because we don't have the resources
to train everyone who wants to receive help from us. We actually have almost 4,000 church planters on the waiting list, waiting for our training. So
that's the number one need–he training. Then, we of course provide them
with materials, so they need some Scriptures," and the ministry furnishes a bicycle to
increase mobility. 

Through this approach, many have responded to the Gospel.
That has brought its own set of problems to church planters.

A backlash reaction to the sudden growth of the church has
prompted anti-conversion laws in seven states.
Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are giving indirect support to militant groups
and resulting in ongoing violence against Christians.

Even in states where such laws are not written, they are acted
on by the local authorities. Says
Stravers, "Often, [the church
planters'] lives will be threatened;
they'll get beaten up; they'll be warned to leave: 'Don't come back here again
or we'll kill you.' This is quite a
common form of intimidation, and the high success of the church planters is
really attributed to the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in India."  

Reports of village churches being attacked, raided or
otherwise destroyed continue to be a daily reality throughout the country. New
converts to Christianity are often cast out of their families and face poverty
and ostracism.

Continue to pray that the Mission India team would remain
bold in their vision. Pray, too, that God
would provide the resources they need to train those who would be church
planters, and that new believers would be grounded in the Scriptures.

Click here if you can help provide resources to train a church planter.

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