Hinduism - Lesson 27

Communicating the Gospel in India

There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.

Lesson 27
Watching Now
Communicating the Gospel in India

I. India is a Land of Complexity and Change

A. Unreached vs. unevangelized

B. Hundreds of languages and cultural groups

C. Caste system

D. Other religions

E. Change in technology and society

II. Case Study

A. Missiological analysis

B. Strategic placement

C. Leadership training and development

1. Stream one

a. Catalytic encounter

b. Finding a "person of peace"

c. Starting a prayer point

d. Appoint leadership

e. Inaugurate church

f. Biblical literacy and teaching

g. Community and connectedness

h. Replicate

2. Stream two

a. Opposition and hostility

b. Discover a cultural foothold

c. Seed planting vs. harvesting

D. Problems

1. Financial support

2. Education of children

3. Isolation

4. Opposition

E. Leadership training and development

1. Type 1 to type 5

a. National leaders

b. Regional leaders

c. Leaders in a particular organization

d. Local leaders, team players

e. People who can do a specific task

  • Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and one of the oldest. It is about 12% of the world population and about 95% are in India. Hinduism is difficult to define. There is evidence of civilization in the Indus valley as early as 2800 BC. The sacred literature that is the basis for Hinduism was created and developed over hundreds of years. It was originally transmitted orally and was eventually written down.

  • Introduction to fundamental ideas and literature that are basic to the Hindu religion. The first lecture given for this class is not available at this time. This lecture begins on the class outline at II, C.

  • Discussion of the influence that the Vedic tradition has on Hinduism. 

  • Mahavakyas is made up of two words meaning, “great utterances.” The creation stories are a collection of different stories with various themes. The world is created by a divine figure dismembering themself and their body becomes the world. The caste system has a racial element to it based on some of the creation narratives in the RgVeda.

  • The Upanishads are one strand of the Vedas. Brahman refers to the all-pervading reality in the Upanishads, not the Brahmin caste. The question throughout the Upanishads is, “Who or what is Brahman?”

  • Brahman is the ultimate reality of the universe. Our atman is encrusted with karma and stuck on the wheel of Samsara. A Hindu's goal, in the process of being reincarnated through thousands of lifetimes, is to rid themselves of karma so they can achieve moksa, oneness with Brahman.

  • Maya is the ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance they choose, thereby concealing the true nature of Brahman. Karma is the principle that what you sow, you alone reap.

  • A Hindu must work off their karma to be released from the wheel of Samsara and achieve moksa when their atman becomes one with Brahman. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve the goals of the Samkhya philosophy. Hindus see God as a material cause of the universe, not an efficient cause.

  • The Mahavakyas are “great sayings” that give you insights into core teachings of Hinduism. The Brehed Aranyaka Upanishad shows that Hindus believe that diversity can come through oneness and not be an “other.”

  • Sankara says that Brahman is unknowable and we can't perceive any of his qualities. The rope-snake metaphor is often used by Hindus to discuss the difference between perception and reality.

  • Hindu writers often use metaphors to illustrate and teach the essentials of the Hindu philosophy. In their writings, they refer to these metaphors in a way that assumes that you know and understand them.

  • The purpose of this lecture is to see the structure of Hinduism at a glance. Hinduism operates and a philosophical level and a popular level. Hinduism attempts to resolve the relationship between knowledge, works and devotion. The four stages of life and the caste system determine much of cultural structure of Hinduism. Hindus worship many Gods.

  • The three major dissent movements that area a challenge Hinduism are Buddhism, Janism and materialism. Hinduism is adept at absorbing other movements. Buddhism claims that there is a teaching that makes it possible for you to reach the state of Nirvana which is liberation from all suffering. The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama. The content of his teaching is the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

  • The key insight of the Upanishads is the identification of atman with Brahman. Buddhists deny both atman and Brahman.

  • The Bhakti marga is branch of Hinduism that emphasizes a spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.

  • The Hindu gods have identifying characteristics that make them easy to recognize when you see them in temples or other settings. The Trimrti are the three major gods of India which are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is not often visually represented, so Vishnu and Shiva are seen the most. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. Vishnu has 10 incarnations or avatars. These are partial incarnations and don’t represent the fullness of Vishnu.

  • The Siva icon always has the presence of the Trishal, which is a sacred weapon of destruction. There is also the nag (cobra), damaru (drum), third eye, Ganges river flowing out of his head. The dancing Siva has a damaru in one hand and a flame of fire in the other that represents creation and destruction of the world. He also has dreadlocks and the trunk of an elephant.  The third eye of siva is what Hindu women have on their forehead. The Siva Lingum is the most dominant icon in north India.

  • The Brahminical branch teaches that works and devotion lead to true knowledge (Upanishadic vision, tat twam asi). Bhaktis say that knowledge and works should lead to devotion.

  • The Ramayana is an epic account of India. It is the story or epic of Rama and Sita, and is the origin of the tradition of Suti. Mahabharata is the epic of India. It’s the longest collection of poems in the world. The Bhagavad-Gita  is the most important part of the Mahabharata. It talks about both the dharma of caste and the dharma of denial and renunciation.

  • Gurus integrate different parts of the marga system. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna declared the unity of all religions. He claimed to have visions of Hindu gods and Jesus Christ and Mohammed and that all religions lead to the same ultimate reality, sat chit ananda. Swami Vivekananda was the most well-known follower of Ramadrishna and brought his message to the western world. He accepts tat twam asi, the great insight of the Upanishads, but thinks that everyone, not just Brahmans can perceive that unity. (The last point of the lecture was cut short due to a technical limitation.)

    You may download the text of Vivekananda's speech by clicking on the Handouts link in the upper left corner.

  • These are nine of the major holidays celebrated in India. Sankara has been called India’s greatest philosopher. Sankara emphasized universals and Ramanuja emphasized the particulars, similar to Plato and Aristotle in Western thought. Sankara has greater status as a philosopher, but Ramanuja has had a great influence on how the masses practice Hinduism.

    The chart Dr. Tennent refers to near the end of the lecture is the “Three Vehicle Structure of Hinduism,” which is labeled Lecture 6 in the complete class outline pdf document on the class page.

  • Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was an upper jati Brahman teacher who converted to Catholicism. He attempts to explain Christianity by using Advadic motifs. Brahmabandhav is an example of how a Brahman can address the Brahminical community using a Brahminical line of reasoning.

  • There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.

In-depth survey of philosophical and popular Hinduism’s historical and theological themes. Exposure to current strategies being used to bring the gospel to Hindus and how Christian theology is being formulated in the Indian context.

Dr. Tennent occasionally uses pictures of Hindu gods or other visual resources in his lectures. You can download a document with these pictures by clicking on the Hindu Deity Pictures link. 



Dr. Timothy Tennent
Communicating the Gospel in India
Lesson Transcript


The following lecture is provided by biblical training. More information is available at WW w dot Biblical training dot org. The purpose of all of this study of Hinduism and Buddhism as well in India is really to help us understand how to be more effective in church planting and preaching the gospel in India. This has been a major challenge and I think it's important to be honest about some of the experiences that we've had in North India. I've done a lot of study of not only our own work in India when I was working there, but also of other groups in India to understand what are the challenges and how can we best can get the gospel in India. One of the misperceptions about. Christian. India is assuming that India is another resistant to the gospel. I think this is a really important mystical point to clarify. The zipper between in physiology, between a group being unreached and on evangelized. These are terms which maybe in popular Christian talk are used interchangeably, but in fact are very, very different. An unreached group means a group which has been they've been a lot of attempts made and weren't made. But this particular group remains below a certain kind of threshold. And there are different groups, frankly, there's three different groups that measure this and they have different ideas exactly what a threshold is. But just one rule of thumb is called the 5% rule. So if you, for example, have a group, a people's group in any part of the world, that that group never gets above 5%. That group can be called unreached, even if they've had thousands of opportunities or opportunity or people have poured themselves into that group, etc.. There can be sustained work done in that group and still remain unreached.


Yeah, it's a very important distinction and we divide the world partly between reached and unreached is one of the many ways that we look at the world, but we also look at world in terms of angel ization of angels is a very different concept. It's about access to the gospel. It has nothing to do whatsoever with response to the Gospel, though we often use the word evangelize that way, assuming someone has been evangelized, I mean their response, they respond. But actually evangelization in the mission sense of the word refers to whether someone has access to the gospel in their language. So if you have, for example, people group that speaks a particular language, like, well, our daughter works in a tribal group in northern Tanzania called the Lagoa, and this group is an unreached group, kind of in a sense, they've never responded to the gospel, but they also, more importantly, we're on evangelized in the sense that they never had the opportunity to even hear the gospel because the government never been presented in their language. So they speak a language called Altagracia, and no one had ever learned that language, and they were actually not even in the same language family as the dominant language of Tanzania, which is Swahili, so Swahili. And that part of Africa generally are Bantu languages, and this is actually a shitty language. So this group apparently had migrated from the Horn of Africa down all the way to Tanzania, had rested there and had lived in isolation for many, many years. And so my daughter arrives there 11 years ago. They had never had anyone outside their culture learn their language, and they never really been present of the gospel in their own language. That group was on evangelized, So we actually don't know.


We don't know whether they were resistant or not because they never heard the gospel. There's a big difference in a group that, for whatever reason, may or may not be reached, who has heard and resisted and not responded. And group is never, ever heard the gospel for the very first time. So the challenge in India is particularly challenging on this point, because if you have a monolithic country where it will say everyone speaks a language, a language, even out of states, we have many of our languages spoken, but English is very predominantly spoken throughout the country. So if you have a good presentation in English, then it has the ability to reach a huge percentage of the country. But if you're in a country which is very isolated with literally hundreds and hundreds of different languages, then you have a term in of the gospel, you know, hits very profoundly in one area. It hits a boundary very soon. And this is sometimes called in other circles the homogeneous unit principle. In other words, at what point does the gospel hit a barrier and you go from the US group to the THEM group? Well, in the case of India, these bubbles are very, very tiny. In some countries they're very large. So if you're in Nigeria, for example, you know, you have the, you know, the Yoruba in the Southwest, you housing in north, you have the Igbo over here, you have, of course, some other groups like the team to the groups. But essentially you have some very large groupings, tribes, whether you want to call them, that are part of historic, what today is called Nigeria politically. But if the gospel goes into the Yoruba, it can spread among all of the Yoruba.


If it goes into the house, it can go all across northern Nigeria, millions and millions of people. But in the case of India, these bubbles are much smaller and therefore you hit the boundary much quicker and therefore you have to have more independent initiated movements in order for it to get going. You have to start there as a base because like firewalls, cultural, linguistic firewalls that keep the gospel from spreading in India. So this gives the appearance as of India is resistant to the gospel. When the problem is really not so much that we even know always with its reach run rates. But the problem is evangelization. Access often give this example of say, well, someone is like someone is trying to get to a location. In this case, course locations you say might be heaven or the new creation. And one group has a map and the other group does not have a map. Now, if your map means someone's come, I preach the gospel and explain the way of salvation. You have a map, maybe in the Bible, in your own tongue that gives you a map so you know how to get to to salvation. Another group doesn't have a map they don't know. And so it's really important to distinguish between evangelized in and run. Reached in India is a land of extremely extreme complexity. You have 222 languages in one country. 18 of those are official languages. So if you were to take a typical Indian bill in India for on the street, just, you know, when you're buying something to look at a bill very carefully, you'll notice is on that bill are 18 different languages on that one bill all Indian currency has all of the visual languages on it.


So that means it gives you some sense of the complexity of the Indian situation. The number when Jesus says make disciples of all nations. And Matthew, the Great Commission, the word He uses there is ethnic phrases Pontotoc, ethnic, all the nations. Well, the word ethnic, of course, is what we get a word ethnic from. So he's not actually saying make disciples of all political countries by plant the church in India and China and Pakistan. That was the great commission. We've long completed it long ago because Christians are found in every country of the world. But this is not what Jesus is saying. He's saying, plant the gospel, preach the gospel in every ethnic, every ethnic group, and there's 24,000 of those in the world, not 260 some odd political countries. So India by itself has 4693 distinct nations in it. That means we have 4693, almost 5000 of those little bubbles. There's no firewalls. And that is a huge challenge for the gospel In India. There's 960 different caste groupings which create further barriers because people in this caste can't freely communicate with the other caste often. And then you have 966 million Hindus and in 50 of them are lower caste groups, either Dalits or shooters. And then you have, in addition to all the Hindus, you have 204 million Muslims. There's almost as many Muslims in India as Pakistan. You have 23 million Sikhs in India and eight and a half million Buddhist in India. So it's a very complex religiously and you have to be aware of that. But in addition to that, in this day is a place of a lot of change. It's a place they're very savvy with digital technology there. Indians are very much connected into social media, far more followers of Facebook in India than any other country in the world.


So it's a it's a very savvy country with social media. Their own apps like WhatsApp was invented by an Indian, you know, developer. A lot of these apps that you're familiar with were developed by Indians, so they're very good at this. And therefore it creates new possibilities for communication across lines. You have challenges with AIDS and divorce and drugs and all of the problems that you associate with the Western world, kind of late modernity or also present in India. You also have a challenge that India is becoming more and more urbanized. India, traditional, is always a land of thousands and thousands of villages. So India had a very high population, but surprisingly very few urban areas. Traditionally, in the more recent period, the last 50 years, this has really changed in India as we develop some major urban areas. So you have, for example, there are three and 46 cities, over 100,000 of 40 cities, over 1,000,008 cities, over 3 million, including some of the largest cities in the world, particularly Calcutta and down in and Chennai. These are some of the largest cities in the world are located in India. So they also have this urban culture that's also emerging, very young culture. I think now currently there is something around 65% of all Indians are under 30 years of age. So this is a very young culture. A lot of youth also very remarkable. But then also you have the rise of Hindu fundamentalism. My own time work in India. I've seen dramatic change in terms of the receptivity of the gospel, in terms of the ability of Christianity to kind of find its place in the culture. There's now a very strong nationalistic Hindu movement that controls India politically called the BJP, connected to various groups like the RSS and other groups like the BJP that are well-known in India, that are part of this movement that wants to make India all Hindu.


There's a very what, a movement called cropsey. It means come home, which is trying to get people to reconvert back into Hinduism that once you know, the traditional part of the Hindu world. So the point is that land in India is a plane of complexity, a land of change and opportunity. And we have to really think differently about what we're doing. So I'm going to share kind of what we have done in North India, particularly in India. North India is like the heart of the Hindu challenge. So it's a good place to do a case study and kind of explain what our basic procedure has been in trying to bring the gospel into North India and some of the roadblocks we found. First of all, our way we try to do a logical analysis to see where is the church in India and where it's not. It's really important to find out where the church is. 90% of all missionaries are working where the church is already well established. All right. So even the missionary force, which is obviously a very important force for the church to expand on the world. 90% of that force is already working with reached groups. So the real question is, are we spending sufficient energy and impact and resources and those groups that are unreached with the gospel? It's an important point not to discount the importance of the other ministries, but is 9010 the best ratio? So we in our early years, we find ourselves finding the same problem. We would send, you know, church partners out to areas in parts of India that actually had some great churches. And we realized we really wanted to refocus our efforts on going to the unreached. So there's been a lot of great surveys done on this.


There's a lot of good data available. You can now find out exactly where the church is in India, where the church is not. This material is now available on a number of websites that you can you can study. Then you had, of course, put strategic you workers in that place. We train people to do church planting in this in this place. And we'll come back to that in a minute. Now we go in the church planting. What we find is that we go we try to our ideals to go that we call track one. Okay? Or phase stream one. This is like what would happen ideally when you go into a village. And by the way, this has happened for us, not just dozens of hundreds of times this has successfully happened. So we have a lot of confidence in this stream. But we're also telling you at times it doesn't work. But the stream one begins, we call with a catalytic encounter. So what happens is you send somebody into a village in order to be a change maker, you know, to change things, challenge things, challenge or to hear something different and preach the gospel. Now, in the Indian context is usually means demonstration of the power of the gospel to gain a hearing. This involves some kind of power encounter, praying for the sick. I would say the I don't know, 85, 90% of churches were started through a telethon, kind of which began with some kind of power encounter where you pray and someone is divinely healed in some way or delivered from demonic oppression, something to demonstrate the power of God. Now, at this point, when that happens, this can cause various reactions, including being expelled, beaten out, run out of town.


There's all kinds of possibilities for this, but one of the possibilities is what we call a man of peace or a person of peace. It never in live chapter ten, verse six, Jesus says, When you go to a village, find the man of peace. If you find them, stay there. Don't go from house to house. If you don't find them, shake the dust off your feet and say, Judge, I'll be upon you and go to the next town. We basically follow that advice. So we go into a village with a church plan, or we have something a Catholic event. You could plan a preaching service, good plan, a healing service. You plan showing a movie. They love movies. We have a number of movies that we show and people come to the movie. Any of these scenes can be a Catholic event where you challenge people to. Be aware of the gospel in some way. Now when that happens, and sometimes this happens in the second language, to be fair, you working with a group that knows Hindi, but their heart language is something else. So, you know, as long term work you can take the place. The fact that someone at some point has to learn that local language. But many times you get a start in by working with the national languages or regional languages like Urrea or Punjabi or Hindi or whatever, maybe in the North India. Anyway, So we were looking to sign a piece. Now the man of piece is someone who will open their home. This is really important in India. If someone says you can meet in my home, it creates a protection. I mean, in Indian cultural life, in the Indian, imagine like social imaginaries, this home is a sacred place in India.


So if you're invited into one's home, you're invited into a protective zone. If you're in the street, you're more vulnerable. And so for someone to invite you into their home, it really carries a lot of possibilities for us. So we're looking for that person and it's amazing. We have had this hundreds of times where someone invites us into their home and we can conduct meetings there, pray for the sick there. I remember one time when I being in I and I in Bhopal in one of these situations, we were in a total slum, like the worst part of Bhopal, no question witness there. And we've been rescuing young people from there. They've been abandoned and people were close to dying in hospital. So we had some relationships there. And so someone opened their door for us and we were in this little hovel, you know, down. You couldn't stand up in this house. It's so low. It's a very low kind of shack type thing. We were in there having tea one night and we this little boy was had a stomach and he had this chronic pain in his stomach for years, several years. So we prayed for this young man and the stomach ache went away. So they went to the to the doorway and shouted out, you know, our son was healed. Or next, you know, we had this huge line of people that were coming into this little house one at a time to be prayed for. And we prayed for them for hours and hours way into the night. We prayed. Our people in it eventually led to a church being planted in this particular group. These were these are people, Ambedkar writes in that part of India, and there are well known group in India.


We have a little work that we started with them that happened through this kind of account. And then also so on opening a door of peace to us or man of peace, opening their home to us, well, eventually we eventually will develop this as a regular meeting site and we don't actually. And this is where there's differences in India around the world. At what point do you call it a church? We choose to delay the word church, the church language, and to leaders who will actually call it a prayer point. Now, prayer point is basically just that, a place we all come to pray. So we call it a prayer shed or a prayer point. And so people know they can come there for prayer and prayers valued in India. And so people will come for prayer. So this creates a gathering. It's a kind of a proto church. But at some point we will appoint leadership and we will have the first communion service. And once you have that, then it moves from being a prayer point, which might have been going on for a year to actually becoming a church. And then you go from there, you have a discipleship teach and how to evangelize, replicate, start, nuthouse churches, and that goes on from there. I found, for example, in India we were in this place called Saharanpur, and it's a sports town between Delhi and Urdu, and this is a place where the train has a long layover so people know that, know that place well. And so I've been there town many, many times over the years. There was a woman in that village who had she been plagued by, you know, demons, all kinds of problems. And but she had a vision of Christ independent, our knowledge of any Christian influence.


And so she began to claim that Jesus was a deliverer savior. And so she had to teach and gain followers. But her teacher, she had no access to a Bible and her teachings right all over the map. She was saying said things that were crazy. So things that were totally heretical. But kind of the core of the whole thing was she was proclaiming Christ. And so we decided that there might be something here worthwhile. And so we asked her if we could take her son and bring him into our program and to bring him a full scholarship and train him in Christianity proper. So her son did in fact com he went through a program and he had like an epiphany at some point, Oh, this is what Christianity is. And he became more aware of, you know, what we would call orthodox, historic biblical Christianity. So he went back and gradually led this movement into more orthodox faith. So it was a great thing to behold. What happened? This group belonged to a particular caste grouping, a subgroup in of a cast. That actually was the people who explained that these were people who are responsible for the removal of dead carcasses of animals and villages. So the trigger caste does that kind of work. So in the use of the animal does in the road, you call the dhoti. But in this in India, you call even that caste. They come and they do this work for all throughout the country. So every like village has that group in it or every region has that group. So what we found, we one point said, you know, okay, or share the gospel, your friends and neighbors. What they took that to mean is, sure, the gospel people like us and slavery to share with other people in other other villages, not no one from their own village, but two other villages that were like them, because that's the group they know.


That's a group think they're they're they're the same profession. They know that group that came to that group. So we end up with like a lot of little small house churches that are going to pop up. But it was very difficult to get them to work across caste lines because they were low caste, outcast Dalit group. These are some of the challenges. But anyway, those that is kind of the stream one, what you would find now, unfortunately, the kind of textbook hope of how a church is planned in India oftentimes does not happen. So we'll say you go to a village and ironically, you can't predict this. We've had times we go to a village and, you know, have a lot of opposition and people throwing rocks at you, turn your Bible up, thrown into the ditch, you know, whatever. You go down the road, five, five kilometers in a village will receive you warmly. I mean, you can't predict it like, say, when North India is this or this state is that you're not that way. You just don't know. But it's definitely true that there are hundreds of villages you also go into where you encounter significant hostility and opposition, and they will no one will dare open their home to you and you're simply closed out from any kind of service ministry, catalytic or otherwise even tract distributions. We've even tried we had a little more success with this, but frankly, we try some very low threshold tracks where we went in with tracks that were based on things like common social problem, like smoking or drinking alcohol, you know, excessive alcohol or we have to worry. And so it's a nice track that, you know, and basic almost any Indian will take that in your hand if you have a track on smoking or drinking or worrying.


And it talks about the problems of how many Indians smoke or how many Indians have drug problems or whatever, how worry is taking off in the country of anxiety, etc.. I got a person did some great artwork on the front that has great, you know, Indians portrayed, you know, capturing you, drug taking or smoking or whatever. And beautifully done. But you know what happened? The track gradually transitions to, you know, you can't solve this problem without outside help. You need the Lord Jesus Christ. And here's where you can correspond with us, you know, so we have some pretty low threshold things that we use. But even with that sometimes and indeed happens quite a bit, you get complete opposition and you get hostility. So what do you do at that point? Okay, You don't give up. You don't give up because we found God has given us another wonderful opportunity we call the stream to. Stream two as you look for a cultural foothold. They don't want the gospel. What do they want? Now one thing they must always want in all across India, it is highly valued by Indians and they highly believe that Christians are able to deliver it. This is the one place where Christians have extremely positive, you know, vibe and reputation is education. Christians are known for education in India because Roman Catholics did such work in early India education. They're usually known as converts. So when someone says to us, you know, will you start a convent school? Which sounds to us a bit odd because we're not obviously Roman Catholic, but we know what they mean. They mean when you start a school. So we have started many schools throughout North India, and these schools are basically secondary schools.


People come, they get uniforms, they go through. India has two different like attracts and higher educated, but it ultimately goes to a testing system, you know, a state board testing or national board testing system where you're tested on a national scale or a state scale in order to see where you stand. And that's what gets you placement in universities in India. So it's very difficult to get a university placement in India. So it's very different than the U.S. in that respect. And so there's a lot of competition, particularly at the 10th grade level and into 12th grade. That is called ten plus two there, the 12 years of study. Those test, you take your 10th grade and your 12th grade absolutely make everything possible for you in terms of your future profession. So if you're in a village and there's no real good school nearby, your children are at a distinct disadvantage from ever changing their lives and improving their life. So if a Christian comes into your meets, we're willing to start a top notch school in your community. I promise you, they are extremely interested in that. So what we have done is we have gone into areas. There's one area up in the hills of north India where it was a 12 district area. This think of an area much larger than 12 counties in the U.S. are large areas with not a single church in 12 districts. And we would they would not allow any church planting there. No. Even even those basic tracks absolutely not allowed to go into that area. You could be beat up and killed and so you couldn't do it. So but they wanted schools. They wanted that badly. So we built some great schools there.


And we have a program in our in our training program in Dehradun where people can get what's called a double degree. So they have a degree, I will say a Bible degree, we call it here a Bible degree, and also would have a secular degree that's credited to the Indira Gandhi University in Delhi. Now they can get degrees in mathematics or science or other kinds of things as well. So you go into a school, you can offer science, maths, you know, sociology, whatever you need to offer. And they're also trained in the gospel and Bible. So it's a great plan. It works great. So these children grow up in the school system. Now, part of the school system allows you in India to teach them Christian songs, teach them about Christianity. They're perfectly fine with that in the school system. Now, the their parents are still opposed to the gospel, but the some day these children will be the adults and they will be the leaders of these villages and they will allow us then. So this is really a multi-generational strategy where we would invest really for an entire generation of young people in their lives. And these children know that whatever benefit they have in their future careers in life is because we poured their life into them. And we have, frankly, the scores to prove it. We can show the scores that our students are getting across the number of schools that we have in locations. And we are doing a real service for real people, and it's been a really blessing. So in that sense, you're doing long range C planning and it becomes very, very helpful. Now let me just mention two more things to bring this to a close.


The first. What are the real problems we've encountered even on the kind of positive side when you have the stream, which is, you know, almost ideal, where you go in and you preach the gospel, they let you paint them in a piece, you get a home, you start praying for the sick or whatever, I will sell group and you have a prayer point. Then it becomes the church leadership and you give the sacraments, etc. It sounds like ideal, like the book of Acts, and that's happened hundreds of times. But the question is, are there problems? Yes, there are problems. And I may just mention a few of them that we've encountered. These movements do take support to do that. And one of the problems is we found some of these churches very, very quickly can become self-supporting. Some of these churches do not. It really depends on a lot of cultural situations. How you understand the concept of giving kind of a culture of giving is very difficult. So at times we've had a lot of times actually where we were impeded from starting new churches because we couldn't afford to do it, because we couldn't afford the initial support of the church planning. Pastor Because these churches that we were past, that we had earlier had not become self-supporting. So we tried different methods. Sometimes it work doesn't work, but kind of the whole support structure for these evangelists is not easy. Of course, building schools is even more expensive. You know, these are all challenges that we face. The other challenge we faced has to do with the education of children. Precisely because you've heard about stream two, you will at least instinctively know that education is highly valued in India. I can't think of anything that's more valued kind of on the family level than education.


Parents will sacrifice everything for their children's education. It is. It's everything to them because they believe that, and rightfully so, that education is their children's way out of poverty and disease and issues into a more prosperous life. They don't have any Social Security plan. Their your only Social Security is your are your own children. And so if your children are not well prepared and don't have good jobs, you yourself will have no help when you get too old to work. So there's just a lot of reasons why education is everything. So you put a church planner into a into a into a very remote village where there are no decent schools, There's no place to go for a school. You know, you you are sacrificing. You've been well educated. Perhaps you came to a school, got a master's degree, you go out as a missionary, fine. But what about your children? And so a lot of our children say, you know, I want to give this for a year or two, but I can't sacrifice my children's education for this work forever. It's one thing for me to sacrifice my life for the gospel at this stage when I'm, you know, in the household stage, as it were. But what about my children? Who should be in that student stage? Why do they not They can't get educated now. Things are changing today with the like the Khan Academy and these other kind of initiatives on the Internet where you can get good training, even remote place because the Internet. So things are improved a little bit, but that's like a home schooling kind of thing gone viral, but it's still a big challenge. Not everybody can do it and it's a challenge for us we face all the time.


Thirdly, obviously people work in these situations are face a lot of isolation. Our daughter works alone in a village. She no one in the entire village speaks a one word of English. It can be very isolating. It can be very feel, very lonely at times. No one knows your background, your history. They know nothing about you. They know they can't relate to your background. They've never seen things that you've seen and worked with. And so we had this challenge where pastors feel isolated and lonely. How do we connect them again? Social media is help with that. We are able to have, you know, Zoom conferences. We bring them together for meetings, but it's still a big challenge. And then there's always, even when you have the church planting going, you still have opposition from various groups that want to say Christianity has no place in India. They like to say that up here in the north we work with a lot of three H's, which means Hindi, Hindustani and Hindu. They believe that everyone should speak Hindi. They want to change the name of India from India to Hindustani, the land of the Hindu, and everyone should be a member of the Hindu religion. This is part of their kind of platform. And so obviously a Christian is an interruption to that, or a muslim is an interruption to that, and they want that out of the country. So these are big challenges that we face across North India, even in the best of situations. But nevertheless, despite that, God is greater and God is doing his work in overall our sense of tremendous work. The last thing to say has to do with actually the for a the type one and type five leader.


And I'll close with this point in any kind of movement or development in any organization, whether it be a school or a church or an organization of any kind, you'll recognize readily that people have different capacities regarding leadership is very, very important. To have to invest time, energy into identifying that and nurturing that. And there's many ways this has been done, and we have our own version of this called type one to Type five leader. And this does not correspond to like John Maxwell's famous, you know, type 1 to 5 leader. It's not really that in that category that he's working where this is dealing with kind of church planting work in a country like India. So at the top, the highest level will be type five leader with someone who has the ability to work internationally and work across you work with Liaison and the World Evangelical Alliance and the other groups where they're working at a high level. They can speak multiple languages like Hindi and English. They can travel in the world, meet other groups. They're helpful to represent what's going on in the to the church around the world. You have two people who can operate at that level and invest in people for the training to operate as level five leaders. So you have the people that can work across the world. And one of the challenges often is that sometimes leaders that are, you know, particularly effective in their countries, we're not get up to the next level and begin to work with churches in other parts of the world. So why wouldn't an effective Indian leader be able to see what's going on in Latin America or in Western Europe or in Australia, collect about insight? And that's really level five leadership.


Everyone needs to have a few of those, not necessarily a lot, but some of those people that can represent your movement around the world level for people or people that have the ability to have regional or even national influence on a movement. They may not speak more than one language, but they can collaborate across other ministries. One of the problems in India is we have a lot of individual initiatives and he will don't talk to each other. They don't coordinate, they don't collaborate. Hey, we can do this. We can do that. Even in the West, this has been extremely slow in developing and only in the last 50 years we see a lot more collaboration among teams of different organizations. Hey, we need it person. You know, you have to. We have we don't have any. That's why he's condemned us. And we'll give you this that you need, you know, and even strategically working together, these are really important things. So if you're working with our organization is church planting, you might want to partner with Wycliffe. If you're doing a Bible translation or with a seed company, if you're doing oral translation or whatever, those are all important collaborations that are crucial in leaders who know how to do that. And that's a level for leader. Level three are people that really work at the upper level of your organization. They know how your association works, how things function. They can they can supervise. Like many church planters, we would have example. We had a law, we have a large church planning network, but we have about, frankly, about 12 people that are at that level that really oversee all of the church planners, hundreds of church planners they receive. And so they are able to communicate with them, come in for training.


I've spent many, many, many months with these groups, this upper level group, training them, helping them deal with their questions and so forth, because they're the ones that really work with your organization day to day to help it guide you, to recognize people have the ability to operate at that level that are respected across the organization, attached to leaders or people that know how to be basic. What we call in our language team players, people who know how to collaborate, you know, in a local situation during a work. They know how to work and get here to work together, like in a church planning situation, record a church, work with, you know, whether it's school work or whatever. You really can do that. And then let's talk about I want to position people who do a specific task and they can do them well, but they're not going to do things beyond that. They are task people and you got to have them. But the point is, in order to plan a church, you can't have a church with tat with type one leaders. You can't. It is impossible. I think it's is impossible. You have to have at least two and three level to do it because it just requires them by nature of the work. If you going to build a new denominational movement, you've going to have to at least level three or four leaders. And if you're going to get something that goes across national lines around the world and there's many church movements today that are global, you have to have level five leaders. So you have to be able to recognize people at various stages. You know, that person could someday be a level five leader. Let's invest in him or her.


Let's invest in that person. You have to be able to think about that from. Beginning. And you need to report every level. You know, it's it's this is not a demeaning thing. This is about empowering people to find their gifts and flourish and where they are gifted. There are certain people who actually do very well at level one leadership. They know how to take a task and make it work, but they don't want to work across national law. They don't want to travel. They don't want to go anyplace. They want to focus on their work. That's great. So part of part of any kind of movement, work and church planning or otherwise is to understand how leadership works. And then people have different capacities. And knowing how to pour into those people and bring out those capacities so you can effectively launch a movement because we've seen similar strategies, one in in success, one in failure, not because of any Hindu problem or any national problem in India, because we had the wrong leaders who didn't know what to do, didn't know how to proceed, didn't know how to collaborate, didn't have team players. All of those problems exist. If you don't develop good leadership. So this brings us to the close of this. We have we could go on and on, but church planning in North India is a wonderful opportunity and God is using this around the world to show people how was built. And North India can move around the world. And a few years ago we had a meeting in Manchester, England. We brought together church planners from all over the world, including, by the way, one of the men who works for our group in North India. But we brought them together and they were from countries all across.


We had people from Middle East, you know, from South America, from across Europe and all over the world who were doing church planning met together. We've now had two of these summits where we meet together, exchange ideas, exchange best practices or learning. It's amazing how many similarities there are, how much mutual learning can happen, and also the challenge that are found uniquely in certain parts of the world and which we enjoy learning from because we can learn to apply it to our situation in fresh ways. So in order to continue to help you as you think about and pray about supporting church planting in India and around the world. Thank you. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Your prayers and financial support enable us to provide a biblical and theological education that all people around the world can access. Blessings. As you continue to study and live out your faith and as you grow in your relationship with the Lord.