The future of evangelism in India may be changing

By March 25, 2004

India (MNN) — Tribalism in India could ultimately change the make-up of government, evangelism and the country itself. Since India has been influenced by the caste system for centuries, tribalism may not be that far from reality.

HBI Global Partners is based in India. HBI’s Bobby Gupta says tribalism is becoming so strong that, “I think this next election will probably be our last that would be able to hold up to a multi-party leadership. After that, the nation is going to struggle with trying to find unity.”

Gupta is expecting an uprising of a people group numbering about 300-million, the Dalits. Since the government hasn’t listened to their concerns, many believe they will oppose any government that’s over them.

That could cause a ripple effect throughout the nation. Gupta says, “You’re going to see more and more individual, state driven organizations that says that, ‘we want to be in control and we’re tried of being exploited.'”

Tribalism is also going to force Christians in India to rethink their evangelism and church planting strategy. Gupta says, “The day has to come that every church we have are pastured by the people we are reaching out to. If they’re not, there will come a day when those people will be forcing us out of those locations so that their identity will not be lost.” Gupta believes globalization has ushered in the fear of people losing their national or tribal identity.

“The more I think about it, the need for people to contextualize the leadership, the methodology that we use for evangelism, and the terms that we use to communicate the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have to become very significant,” says Gupta. He adds, “We’ve got to begin to think in terms of how do we develop our strategies around that.”

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