When most westerners think about India, visions of the Taj Mahal or perhaps the slums of Mumbai typically come to mind. Yet, 40 percent of India’s population is comprised of people groups who live in primitive villages.
With 1.3 billion inhabitants, India has the most unreached people groups—meaning those who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. Deemed as ‘untouchables’ or ‘outcasts,’ these groups live in poor sanitary conditions with no clean water, electricity, or hope for this life or the next.
With more than 60 years experience in ministry in India through founder/missionary, Dr. William Scott, Glad Tidings India (GTI) has a mission to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to India by training and equipping the indigenous church. GTI partners with an Indian ministry that was founded by Dr. Scott and his wife in 1975. This Indian ministry is administered by indigenous leadership with 15-40 years tenure, trained and mentored by the Scotts and others. A train-the-trainer approach eliminates the high overhead cost for staff while it exponentially multiplies the gospel.
Through a grassroots strategy, local Indian churches along GTI’s partner ministry in India work to identify unreached people groups. GTI pairs up the identified people group with individuals, churches or Christian organizations that will financially support them—in order to satisfy basic needs, improve education and bring the gospel message.
In partnership with GTI, The Chapel At FishHawk has adopted one of the unreached people groups called the Kotia tribe, which numbers about 57,000 people. Byron Hack, the director of GTI, explained the ministry’s strategy that begins with teaching the very basics such as nutrition, hygiene and literacy.
“It’s a three-year program, and in the first year, we teach 450 adults to read,” said Hack. “From that [literacy class] usually at least 40 percent of the students accept Christ, and many house churches or small groups are formed. In the second year, 12 church planters are trained in evangelism, discipleship and planting multiple churches. These church planters go out and disciple the house churches and do door-to-door ministry. In the third year, we teach an additional 300 adults to read and send 1,000 children to Children’s Bible School.”
The first step in the new partnership between The Chapel At FishHawk and GTI included a reverse offering called the Luke 19 Project, which is based on the Bible’s parable of the talents. Each member of the congregation was given $10 and challenged to multiply the money in eight weeks time.
From 10-year-olds designing and selling candles with Bible verses to families hosting a movie night, Chapel members have been busily laboring to multiply their reverse offering money. The Luke 19 Project increases awareness of global missions and the Great Commission within the congregation without tapping into the church’s budget. It also provides the ability for members to see God working in their lives by using their time and talents to further the gospel.
In addition to improved literacy, GTI also installs borewells, expands Christian schools, rehabilitates villages, provides sewing machines for women and sends children to Children’s Bible School (CBS).
For more about GTI or to donate, visit www.gladtidingsindia.org. To find out how your church can participate in a Luke 19 Project, email Byron at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 909-957-9352.