Church Planting in India: Double Time!
By Hannah Allison
09/08/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – ICC met with Pastor Arnav* on a hot afternoon in a small church in northern India. Since Arnav became a Christian five years ago, he has been motivated by his desire to share the Gospel with nearby villages. His calling finally became a reality through ICC’s Bibles & Bikes campaign, an initiative to double, or even triple, a pastor’s evangelism efforts in India.
At first, Arnav wasn’t able to reach many villages with the Gospel. He was forced to rely on expensive public transportation to travel between the villages he ministered to, which created a barrier to an effective ministry. Occasionally, he could borrow a bicycle to reach a neighboring village, but the uncertainty of borrowing often resulted in him being late or not being able to get there at all.
When Arnav received the bicycle and the New Testaments from ICC, he was ecstatic. He told ICC that he saw the bicycle as a gift from God and a sign of provision for his ministry. “God has provided this because I am working for Him,” he said. “If we are working for Him, He will give everything before we could ask. We will not lack anything.” The huge smile on his face spoke volumes.
Now, Arnav is able to pedal between all of his village congregations and minister to them in the same day. He is able to conduct church services, share the Gospel, and encourage fellow believers through prayer and worship gatherings in three neighboring villages.
“God has provided this because I am working for Him. If we are working for Him, He will give everything before we could ask. We will not lack anything.”
In talking with another beneficiary of this initiative, Pastor Babu, ICC staff learned that the bicycles themselves are also powerful tools for evangelism. Babu believes that his bicycle allows him to be more present and accessible on the road than he would otherwise be able to be. If he sees people walking on the road ahead, he gets off his bike to walk alongside them and talk with them as he shares the Gospel message.
When asked why the Bibles & Bikes campaign is so vital to Indian pastors, Arnav explained that many Indian pastors are extremely poor and often have to choose between spending their money on food for themselves and their families or on transportation between village congregations. The gift of a bicycle allows them to minister and evangelize where they otherwise would not be able to.
The gift of a bicycle also encourages the pastor’s congregation. When Arnav received his bicycle, members of his congregation saw the provision of God through the body of Christ in action, and they were encouraged and strengthened in their own relationships with God.
Arnav’s story is one of hundreds like it. What began as a small initiative to help a few Indian pastors has now turned into a long-term project spanning three phases so far. Phases one and two have resulted in 240 pastors across nine Indian states receiving bicycles and New Testaments. The bicycle gives them mobility, allowing them to travel between villages ministering to people and conducting church services, and the New Testaments are an evangelism tool they can distribute at their discretion.
Phase three of the initiative is to equip an additional 150-200 pastors in at least two new states in southern India with bicycles and New Testaments. Join us to equip these faithful church planters through the Bibles & Bikes campaign.
*Name changed for security
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