India (MNN) — A church may be more than a building, but what if you don’t even have a meeting place? David Shibley of Global Advance said that’s exactly the problem some Indian churches are facing.
“There is a move afoot to prohibit churches from meeting on school properties, including Christian school properties,” said Shibley. “This would make literally thousands of churches in India homeless.”
Throw in the lack of connections between churches and the falsified charges some pastors are imprisoned for, and things are looking grim for many indigenous churches in India. “At least some members of the government would love to literally change the name of the nation from India to Hindustan,” said Shibley.
And missions-focused organizations are struggling to help. “Many Western Christian ministries have already pulled out of India, and others are losing their registration to operate as the government really clamps down on the expansion of Christianity.”
Those are just a few of the reasons why Global Advance recently hosted a conference for pastors and Christian leaders in India. “Many of them come to our conferences very discouraged — and leave, as we like to say, with a vision in their hearts and tools in their hands,” said Shibley.
It’s the first conference Global Advance has ever held near Rajistan, and over 70 delegates showed up. “There’s a stronger fraternity among pastors in India now than I have ever known,” Shibley said. And the conference helped forge even more bonds.
Despite so many obstacles, indigenous pastors were thrilled to swap countless stories about how rapidly the Church is growing in India. “According to two missiologists I met there, this is the most vigorous time of Church growth that each of them has seen nationwide, even in the midst of persecution.”
Though this is the first conference Global Advance has put on in that region, it’s not Shibley’s first trip to India. And yet, “Over the last three decades, there’s never been as rapid an advance of any faith in India as I’ve seen in the advance of the Church in these last 30 years, and it’s only accelerating!”
But the battle to equip Christian leaders isn’t over, and Global Advance needs your help. “We would be very grateful for the ongoing prayers of those who are concerned and interested in the evangelism of the world,” Shibley said. “Pray that the Lord will continue to provide the funding necessary to strengthen the hands of leaders on the front lines of the advance of the Gospel.”
And if you’re interested in getting involved, why wait? As Shibley says, “This is our day. We must seize this day for the advance of the Gospel, for the planting of new churches, to fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission. We must get the Gospel to every person and make disciples of all of the people and nations of the earth.”