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Missions 101

Dependency and Missions - An Indian Perspective - Part 2

Feb. 4, 2015By: Vijay MeesalaAuthor Bio

This is a continuation of yesterday's post in response to this email question:

Hello Vijay, 

……..As for more churches and organizatons for support… I will think and pray and let you know if any come to mind. However, I would also like to ask you if you have done your best to invite local churches in your area to contribute to your ministry. Please don’t be offended by this question…. But I want you and the churches of your area to experience the blessing and testimony of 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.

At the most fundamental level there is little comparability between the typical India village church and the Western church. Below are some areas of comparison (The following is from a Westerner missionary with more than 30 years of experience).

 

Issue

Western Church

Indian Village Church

1

Cultural Hostility                     

Little or none                   

serious differences

2

Level of believers employed     

high 97%    

Perhaps 40% full time

3

Level of education                   

near 100 % high school   graduates       

very low %

 

4

Care of widows and Orphans           

Less/no care given        

Cares for widows and orphans

5

Economic situation                   

wealthy

Hand to mouth existence

6

Spiritual development            

reflects society 

more than Kingdom        

prays, fasts and actively involved in evangelism

 

7

Church outreach                    

self contained                 

involved in starting new fellowships

 

I'm sure there are many other areas of comparison. 

I hope you understand my heart, I am not saying these things to judge which church is superior and which is not. But there is a general misunderstanding from the Churches in the West that we (Indian and Asian Churches ) only and always seek help from the West. I don't believe this is true for all the Churches. Frankly, it is a great exaggeration.

I am not denying the fact that, there are many who seek help including our own mission work, and also receive unbelievably large and generous support from the West. Praise the Lord! I also want to acknowledge that there is a dangerous side of being dependent on the West or on some other. But to think that the Church in India or elsewhere is existing only with the support of the West and there is no local support - is something that I firmly disagree because it is not true. In our contexts - that is in Andhra Pradesh rural area - (I may not be very accurate on this but I am guessing in general) I suppose that less than 25-30% church only receive help from outside of India .

The support that we seek from the west is to enhance or further the work of God more efficiently and faster. It is also because more than 75% of the wealth is in the hands of Western Christians (according to some mission statistics about 5-7 years ago). Someone said that if the Church in the West thinks that they are doing a favor to the Churches in developing countries by giving money and other things, then that is not a biblical attitude but an attitude of worldly superiority. Church belongs to God and God will raise His Church. But by supporting each other I believe we are doing our part in God’s family.

From this, I am in strong faith that the Church in India enjoys the joy of 2 Cor 1:5 much more like other Churches with similar contexts. Believers in Indian villages give to the Lord out of their extreme poverty and they give it willingly as said in the scriptures.

1509301_4680181a878de078I hope to continue to dialogue on this and am willing to learn more on this. I just wrote what is in my heart with much prayer and reflection. These are my general feelings about the Church in the West but not particularly against any individual or Church. Please let me know what you think of this. I will be happy to hear from you.

My conclusion is this, please do not generalize and make hasty decisions based on some past experiences or because someone said it so, but rather, let the Western Church/Pastors/Mission leaders examine themselves if they too are dependent. Perhaps they are not seeing while pointing fingers at the Indigenous missionaries.

One last thing, I am saying this with much caution and love: I am not sure if a Western Pastor/Mission Executive/Leader/staff of a mission of organization would continue to serve and minister in the same ministry/organization if/when he knows that the next months check/money/support is not going to come or he will try to find another placement of job because he has a wife and children (I am not generalizing there may be exemptions)….But I know and am sure that almost all the Indigenous missionaries I personally know of in Asia or Africa will continue to serve the Lord no matter what may come…may it be persecution/famine/or anything.

Please do not misunderstand me for being harsh…I will be happy to hear and learn from you.

Vijay Meesala born in to a family of Hindu converts. He became a believer in 1997 and decided to study theology. He began his seminary theological training when he was 17 years old. During his seminary days he received his calling for ministry in the form of a vision. He says, “ In the vision I saw a hand come from above and quickly draw a world map in the sky and a small box within the world map. Then I heard a voice saying, ‘Jesus is coming soon; be prepared and make many prepared’; then the vision ended. At first I did not understand the meaning of the vision. But soon I realized that it was the vision of 10/40 window.” This vision now serves as the direction for his ministry.

He is also a co-founder of an organization in India called Reach All Nations. RAN seeks to reach the unreached nations with the good news of Jesus Christ through training, sending and supporting native missionaries, and planting churches. Central to our mission is uplifting the poor through educational and community development initiatives. Though still in its initial stage, the organization has grown to train 83 native missionaries of which 28 of them are from the Church where his father is serving as Pastor and other are from seven different districts of Andhra Pradesh, and has established an Orphanage with 32 Children. Among several other evangelistic and philanthropic activities RAN regularly conducts conferences and training programs for Pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders. RAN also does community development programs and Relief and Rehabilitation projects based on need.

His formal educational background comprises of 6 years of Christian Theology and 3 years of Islamic Studies at various institutions in India and abroad such as the Gospel for Asia Biblical Seminary, India, the Andhra Christian Theological College, the Henry Martyn Institute, and Luther Seminary, USA. As a faculty member at HMI, he taught Major religions in India, Religion and Conflict, Academic Study of Religion, Islam: History, Faith and Feelings, Theology, and Islam in India. His favorite speaking subjects also include: Role of the Indian Church in Global Missions, Native Missionaries: A New Strategy for World Missions, Evangelism Among the Neighbors of Asia, Religious Fundamentalism and the Persecuted Church in Asia, Christianity in India, and Asian Church in a Pluralistic Context.

Vijay’s father serves as a pastor in a church in Andhra Pradesh. His mother, two younger brothers and sister help serve in the ministry. He considers it as a great joy and Lord’s blessing to serve the lord as an entire family. The family for the last 30 years has served the church with deep commitment to the Lord and His kingdom. 

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Tags:  money, india, dependence, the west
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