India (MNN) — Picture this: You’re a local church leader in a country where persecution is starting to become a daily threat. Christian ministries that provide support and tangible resources to your congregation are forced to leave. Where would you turn for help? How would you “care for your flock” the way described in Acts 20:28?
Those are the questions Christians in India have to answer. Asian Access is coming alongside to help.
Persecution is on the rise
According to Morningstar News, the number of attacks on Christians increased by about 67% between 2014 and 2018. India moved from #28 to #11 on Open Doors’ World Watch List – a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians is most severe – in the same period of time.
Faith-based organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to operate within the country. However, as Joe Handley notes, Asian Access’s approach makes a difference.
“We’re less at-risk because we’re more about leader development, and secondly, we’re starting to develop more sustainable systems,” Handley says.
“Instead of being in direct support of evangelism, or whatever, we’re more about leadership empowerment, which really helps the community. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a challenge, it’s just less of a challenge.”
As believers learn how to lead effectively, they also learn how to make their work sustainable.
“Less resources are necessary from outside the country so that more can be deployed internally.”
The importance of leadership development
President Andrew Jackson once said, “As the leader goes, so goes the war,” Handley observes. He says the same principle is true for the global Church.
“As you look back to the Cape Town Congress of 2010, they said one of the glaring needs for the global Church is the empowerment of leaders.
“Whether the church is growing rapidly and is in desperate need of leadership training, or the church is undernourished, under-resourced, and can’t ‘break through’, the key tipping point factor is the empowerment of leaders.”
Approximately 59.66% of the world’s total population lives in Asia, a region of 48 individual countries. Asian Access provides leadership development training in 13 of those Asian nations, including India.
Pray for the development of Christian leaders.
“Pray that these leaders can rise to the occasion…and pray for their empowerment through groups like Asian Access.”
Header image obtained via Pexels.