Training Centers in India

by Patricia Taylor

India has the largest number of unreached people groups (UPG) in the world. With its population exceeding one billion and the languages spoken there numbering in the hundreds, it is clear that native missionaries are the best people to reach those who have yet to hear the good news of salvation through Christ. These missionaries are following the Lord's command in Matthew 28:19-20,

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,* baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

*The word for "nations" is the equivalent of people groups. The Greek word is "ethnos," meaning an ethnic group having their own culture and language.

Training centers exist for the purpose of giving believers who are called to the mission field everything they need to be the best possible gatherers of the harvest (Luke 10:2). Until and unless these gospel workers are properly trained, they cannot do the task to which they have been called. Because the numbers to be reached are so vast, the number of training centers must be commensurate with the need.

ministry training
Packed into this small room, believers receive training in all aspects of ministry.

Christian Aid donors who help support these crucial training centers in India can have confidence in the people who lead them. Eminently qualified indigenous leaders, many of whom have received their own education in the United States, set up and administer these training centers. One such leader, founding the 24/7 Discipleship Institute in Himachal Pradesh, boldly claims: "We are committed to reach every home, every village, and every people group with the living gospel."

Christian Aid assists 40 ministries in India that are actively involved in providing missionary training.

In order to achieve this goal, three training centers are planned for, or are in the process of being set up, in Himachal, Chandigarh and Jammu states. Each student will be trained in discipleship, allowing those who hear and accept the Word to be sustained in their new faith. The training is designed for a year, after which these students are to return to their native villages. They plan to disciple people and start house churches.

The training encompasses many aspects: discipleship, church planting, Bible training and evangelism skills. Accountability in finance management, spiritual warfare and intercession are also taught and practiced. The tools which are used in the training can then be duplicated in the field and shared among the believers in the newly-planted fellowships.

leadership training
Some training centers do not have chairs and desks, but this does not deter them from giving proper training.

Who are these trainees? From where do they come? Local pastors in existing church fellowships pray for wisdom in identifying new believers who are called to reach their own people. Often the students have very little money and sometimes have a family to support, so that the training time represents a real sacrifice. Yet, they are ready to follow where the Lord leads them.

New Anointing Ministries, reaching the unreached in Punjab, will be holding classes two to three days a week, as they restart their Bible school training. Each graduate of the school speaks Hindi, Punjabi and English. Their program includes one year of basic study and a two-year apprenticeship under a senior pastor.

family fellowship meeting
Ministries use buildings for many purposes. This one, under construction, is used for both family fellowship meetings and missionary training.

The training of these students is very comprehensive. It includes health education, knowledge of government laws and rules, linguistics and vocational training. Literacy training is another way the students can reach out to villagers, as they share the love of God with the Punjabis.

Anugraha Seva Mandal (ASM) in Maharashtra State, has a missionary training center in Nagpur. The dedicated young missionaries are committed to reaching their own people in Central and North India with the gospel. In order to do this, they begin with one month of training, followed by two months ministry in the field. The curriculum of the two-year training is intensive. Bible study, church planting, preaching, handling of persecution, evangelistic methods and praying for the sick are some of the topics in the extensive curriculum.

Giving financial assistance through Christian Aid to training centers is one of the best and most significant ways to help spread the gospel to unreached people groups. It has a cascading effect, as the well-equipped native missionaries go forth sharing their faith and preaching the gospel.