News Report on the current situation in India
1. Number of Churches - 14 Churches; 3 Prayer House; 4 Places of Worship
2. Number of Believers - 1434
3. Number of Ministers - 10 Deacons, 4 Deaconesses; 5 Preachers
4. Number of REU students - about 465 (with 40 Teachers)
India Coordination Board (ICB) remains weak. Here in India we lack committed & spiritual leaders that the churches are able to look up to. Although efforts are put into development of these leaders through trainings and seminars but leaders are not developed intellectually. It is the spirit in a person that counts. Stronger and more developed churches are not able to receive assistance from ICB. Further these leaders are not exemplary that the churches can look up to. Only weaker and newly established churches look up to ICB for assistance and advise.
Pastoral & Evangelical
India Mission Committee members and volunteers made eight visits to India. Pastoral & evangelical works were carried out by the local churches with support from ICB.
Although their plans and system may not seem to be good, but they are not lacking in the spirit. Visiting & concern for its members are what the churches have been doing.
Evangelism is in the heart of the church and its members. It is just part of their life to testify of Christ. 51 were baptized for the year 2016-2017 (3.7%).
Youths & Educational Affairs
We have been spending a lot of efforts in the development of children and youths for the past 20 years with a hope that we will have a local generation of capable and spiritual members who will be able to take over the responsibility of the ministry in India.
We thank God, we were able to set up systems and pass on some of the development work to the local churches. Recently we have assisted them to set up the National India Youth Committee, explaining to them the purpose of the committee and the organizational structure and its function and plans.
Training remains the main aspect of our work in India. We have said earlier that we have literally let our members in India know how they are to grow up spiritually & to prepare themselves for the work ahead. But knowledge itself does not seem to change their spirit and heart. We have to review this & look into correcting our flaws. Recently, we are posting our senior ministers to India to lead them in the work. In addition to giving lectures, we need to lead them and show them by example.
This year, India Coordination Board is responsible for 100% of the Training Center maintenance cost, 50% of STTC Training expanses & 50% of the preachers’ and full-time workers living allowance.
ICB is still financially weak. They are not able to fulfill their financial commitment presently, especially the 50% of the Preacher’s and Full-Time workers living allowance. Many local churches are involved in financing their own building projects and divine work. We hope after fulfilling their own commitment, they can offer more to ICB.
Though some local churches can be financially self-sufficient but their support to ICB is weak. Most look into their own needs above that of ICB. But we must say they have spent their finances in divine work as well. We hope after the local churches have settled their own needs, they will give strong support to ICB. At the meantime, we need to support them and help them to manage their finances.
Pioneering work in North India.
We have been visiting NE India for some time. Prospects changed from time to time. We have identified that this is because we do not have a worship point & resident leaders. Our infrequent visit added to the problem as well.
In Kolkata, evangelism is carried out with a Bengali family and we are continuing contact with the Chinese community at the China-Town. We are utilizing the assistance of volunteer workers for the work in these pioneering areas.
Due to political unrest in Darjeeling, no visits were made this year. Contacts were maintained through the internet.
Contact with Ps. Alexander started 7 years ago. He accepts the beliefs of our church as truth. We will be looking into their baptism soon.
We have some members from the south who have moved to Delhi & Bombay. We hope to be able to organize ourselves to look into pioneering into these areas as well.
Four churches were dedicated to the Lord. They are Thirunilai, Ariyalur, Cheenthalar and Munnar Church.
Thiruvothiyur church which sits on the Indian Government Railways reserve land was demolished due to the extension of railway track. The government compensated a land that is 70 kms away. ICB is presently looking for building to be leased for church services. At the meantime, the congregation gather in members’ homes for worship.
100 Years Centennial Thanksgiving Service
A delegation of 35 members from India came to Malaysia in June for this thanksgiving service. There were two Preachers, a Deacon and two Deaconesses in the visitation group. 13 of the members also visited the Churches in Singapore.
1. India_Munnar Church Dedication
2. India_Munnar Church Dedication
3. India_100 Year Commemorative Service