In spite of many challenges and dangers, God has revolutionized one man’s impact on his own church and community.
In the Kamalpur community of India, there is little freedom to share the gospel. Government officials can make life very hard for believers if they make themselves known in the neighborhood or openly share their hope in Christ.
Persecution of the church in some parts of India is a daily reality.
Pastor Dilip* was very shy and had little to no relationships with non-believers. He only focused on the spiritual aspects of the gospel with his 35 church members. Obviously, he believed in God and wanted the truth of the Bible to heal his neighbors, but the obstacles to sharing the gospel’s good news seemed insurmountable.
Besides, if government officials or police took him away, who would lead his church or disciple the believers in his village?
Learning How to Reach Out
Pastor Dilip was introduced to the team trained by World Challenge, and he decided to join in the trainings they were offering to pastors. In the lessons, he began learning how the gospel is truly holistic and touches every part of life.
His relationship with God, every believer’s relationship with God, not only was meant to change his inner life and relationships with other people, but it should transform people’s treatment of their own homes and land and the whole world. Even mundane seeming tasks were opportunities to enact God’s love and justice in the world.
The lessons offered practical ways that these changes could begin and how anyone could join in to help their community and spread the good news of Christ.
Pastor Dilip and other local volunteers began visiting homes to share these lessons about hygiene and sickness prevention. They also began practicing and demonstrating the benefits of organic farming, since agrochemicals are extremely common in India and can cause significant health issues for the local farmers.
New relationships began developing between Pastor Dilip and his neighbors. The focus on integrating the gospel’s good news with training on the practical aspects of the community members’ lives led to many opportunities to share about Jesus.
Living as a Blessing
In less than two years, the church there has seen tremendous growth despite challenges and outside pressure. The original 35 believers have expanded into 150 members.
Pastor Dilip is now well known in the community through all of the good efforts he has initiated and their impact on people’s quality of life. He and a group of volunteers started a new church plant and even went into their neighboring community to help start another group for believers.
When the COVID-19 crisis began, Pastor Dilip and the community committee began spreading information about the illness as well as awareness of how face masks could help. They have been teaching people how to make hand wash, sanitizer and face masks.
No matter what is happening in their lives, they believe that God is at work, and they intend to join in wherever they can by blessing their community.
*Not real name. For safety reasons, we don’t release names or specific locations in highly sensitive areas.