BIBLE SOCIETY NEWS | Anne Lim
While young Hindu Geetha’s parents were involved in a marital dispute, she got talking to a student training to be a pastor in the Timothy Programme International (TPI).
TPI has trained hundreds of pastors and evangelists in India, who then go on to plant new churches, often attracting converts from other faiths.
The student took Geetha to meet his Pastor, who had been trained in the TPI curriculum, which includes a biblical perspective on marriage.
Orthodox Indian Hindus see marriage as a contract in which the wife is subordinate to her husband and is obliged to serve him.
The Pastor counselled Geetha’s parents on the Christian view of marriage – as a covenant under God in which the husband is to be a priest to his family – and this helped to resolve their conflict.
Afterwards, the whole family accepted Christ as their personal Saviour. This is where Bible Society of India stepped in, providing Bibles for the new converts.
Geetha is to marry a Christian man in May and they now have a Bible to read together.
BSI gave TPI 10,000 Bibles for distribution to new believers in India last year. This year it plans to give 10,000 more in five languages.
“BSI teamed up with TPI seeing the wonderful ministry done by its president, Dr Karl Coke, who frequently visits India,” says BSI’s Marketing Director, Dr P.I. Varghese.
“TPI trains leaders from all denominations and they are all actively involved in evangelism and church planting.
“For example, the youth they trained in 2013 to 2015 have planted three churches in Chhattisgarh and five churches in Tamil Nadu.”
According to TPI research, 40 per cent of Indians are under 25 years old, while 96 per cent of Indians are from other faiths.
As a result of its partnership with BSI, TPI expects to reach a minimum of 2000 young believers and youth from other faiths this year.
Christians number about 24 million of India’s total population of 1.32 billion. While this is still statistically small at 2.3 per cent, the number of Christian believers and churches is growing rapidly.
This leaves a great need for trained and equipped church leaders who have a strong understanding of the Bible, and how to apply its principles and truths.
Effective discipleship and leaders are needed to support these expanding Christian communities.
There are 632 students currently enrolled on TPI’s 20 campuses across India training to be effective in proclaiming the gospel and planting churches.