October 2017


Daily Articles

Today’s Challenge for Indian Mission

by The India Missions Association, IMA

The Mission of IMA:
The India Missions Association is the national federation of missions in India. It assists missions and churches in the proclamation of the good news and in making disciples of Jesus Christ among all peoples, languages, and geographical areas. This is done through members who partner and share resources, research, training and care of their personnel.

The Vision of IMA:
To connect and enhance missions and churches and to establish Jesus worshipping fellowships among every people group within India and beyond.

India Mission Challenge Today
Indian Missions have done well in the last 50 years of their existence. They are growing and expanding very fast. The Indian Mission challenges are also increasing as the social, political, and economic situation changes. New issues emerge as we learn to meet the growing challenges.
But now there is a great need for missions to face these new challenges, to pray, to think them through, and come up with strategies and plans to meet them. The following are some of the key mission challenges that need to be effectively addressed. To address them we will need creative, open-minded people who will be willing to change and change others.

Mega Peoples of India
There are nearly 150 mega people groups in India with a population of more than one million. Several of these mega people groups are strategic in their regions and politically influential. Many of them are spread around the country. Some of the politically powerful people groups are the Jats, Vokkalingas, Lingayats, Ezhavas, Nairs, Kamma, Reddys, Patnaiks, Patels, Marathas, Yadavs, Kurmi, Rajputs, Thakurs, Thevars, Vanniars, and Gujjars. None of these mega people groups have any significant movement of Christ followers except recently among the Lingayats in Karnataka. There are no major churches or mission agencies that have a focused ministry to serve among these mega people groups. They are often over looked as not being responsive.

There are 234 languages in India which are spoken by at least 10,000 people and 18 languages which have more than 10 million speakers. The main official language is Hindi, spoken by 40 percent of the population. There are a total of 22 official languages, including English.
SIL’s Ethnologue lists 438 living languages in India; however, the Bible is only available in 71 of these. Some languages have several versions of the Bible. The New Testament is available in another 120 languages spoken in India. Much more needs to be done to translate the word into the mother tongues of each people group.

Urbanization is happening very rapidly around the country as villages disappear faster than urban infrastructure can be put into place. In India there are 459 cities with a population of more than 100,000, including 45 with more than a million people each. The elites, middle class, migrants, and the marginalized are common in all cities.

The Great Indian Middle Class, around 350 million people, is equivalent to the total population of the USA. They are the basis for public opinion that influences government decisions, and they are the target of multinational businesses. The Indian economy is controlled by the purchasing power of this middle class. A hue and cry is raised whenever there is a proposal for reducing the subsidy of domestic cooking gas, which is primarily used by the middle class. Middle class people groups like the Patels in Gujarat, the Banias in Uttar Pradesh, and the Nairs in Kerala influence the economics, politics, and vote banks in elections.

More than 30 million Indians are dispersed around the world. Some control the economies of certain nations. Many are open to the gospel in foreign lands.

Neighbors (Muslims)
There are 170 million neighbors, one of the world’s largest and most accessible communities. We need to share the good news with them.

At the time of independence in 1947, six percent of the India population was literate. Today that figure is 74 percent. India has the largest English speaking population in the world and has the second largest number of TV channels and viewers.

Young Eagles
India is the world’s youngest nation: 54 percent of the population is less than 25 years old; 70 percent is less than 35 years old; and 64 percent is less than 29 years old. The future leaders of the world are young people in our changing culture.

We must focus on the complete gospel and transformation. We need to influence the whole of the Indian society. Christians are called to be actively involved in all areas of influence in society: in arts, business, community, media, education, family, and government.
Female infanticide and dowry deaths are still common in India. Women are culture bearers and change agents. The number of daughters and women of God needs to increase.

The challenging areas of missions are growing rapidly along with the need for raising effective workers to address them. To respond and address these challenges, IMA is constantly trying to raise the awareness of mission organizations and churches and empower the lay people to be effective witnesses in the areas of their work.

Why Networking?
IMA is made up of organizations working locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. IMA’s nearly 244 members have vision, mission, and focus. Methods and strategy are varied. There is a need for smaller networks within IMA.
We need to learn to work together. We can work together in the form of a partnership or a network. A partnership is more structured and evolves out of informal relationships. Networks are less structured and built on personal relationships. In order to work together, we need to build strategic relationships. This is basically networking. Successful networking will result in long term partnerships. Within the IMA partnership, we are creating various networks that help member organizations to build relationships to enhance their ministries.

What do IMA Networks do?
Relationship - IMA Networks encourage member organizations to relate with other like-minded missions.
Broad picture - IMA Networks help member organizations to broaden their vision nationally and sometimes globally.
Shared Action - IMA Networks facilitate the meeting of common needs through sharing of resources, information, expertise, and experiences.
Co-ordination - Networking works best where there is a leader or a team of leaders to make it happen as facilitator or coordinator. However, all networks are independent and run with their own coordinator and core group. IMA will continue to facilitate effective coordination and administration.
Results - Networking and its results are as varied as the people and groups involved in it. As networks develop they can grow to become an independent association or partner agency and continue to relate to IMA.

From the Editor

by Keith Carey

Dear Praying Friends,
The last two months we focused our prayers on Jammu and Kashmir, India’s far northern state where Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs are all represented. We also spent a good part of our time praying for small, forgotten people groups in India’s far north.
This month we will pray for large clusters of people groups mentioned by the India Missions Association in the book “Unreached Mega Peoples of India.” The India Missions Association assists churches in this vast land in proclaiming the good news and in making disciples of Jesus Christ among all Indian peoples, languages, and geographical areas.
The groups we are praying for this month are likely to be involved with missionaries, and they are often well known by the outside world. Since the book includes 100 groups, I am giving priority to those groups that GPD readers may not have previously prayed for.
I would like to dedicate this prayer guide to the people of the India Missions Association who have pointed the way to the unreached who are still without disciples of Christ in their country.