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Lessons from India

I’ve had the great privilege to spend the past week, with Summit Pastor Daniel Simmons & Summit Small Group Leader Garret Anderson, training men who head up a thriving church planting network in India. Global Hope India, led by the Summit’s own Kevin White, asked us to come serve these pastors this week.  These pastors represent 5,000 churches that have been planted over the past 15 years. And they are believing God for 25,000 by 2020. Legit churches too. not just 3 christians who bump into each other at the market and say “hey we are now a church!” I’m talking about fully functioning churches with trained pastors. Here are some things I’ve picked up from them. (Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those “why the mission field I just went to is better than America” posts. All countries need Jesus. But I do think God can bless the church by learning from one another across cultures)

  • Ask God for Big Things. These men have far more limited resources than we do in the states. yet they are dreaming far bigger dreams for the glory of God than I tend to. Their prayers create a big gap between their capacities & their dreams. This gap gives God great room to work. I want to believe God like that.
  • EVERYONE participates in worship. Everyone. Everyone sings, everyone claps, and by and large everyone is engaged in the sermon (like every conference there are a couple of guys texting in the back). When they hear something in the sermon that stirs their soul they shout “hallelujah” or “amen.” All of them. They shout it like a war cry and raise a hand when they say it. I believe the church in some traditions, including my own, could learn from this. It is good to respond & affirm truth when it is preached. That’s because worship is not a show, its a communal experience. It is family time. So all of the family should enjoy participating. Do you leave exhausted from your time in worship? Leaders, do you create room for the congregation to participate?
  • Chai is awesome. Never had it before (yes I know starbucks has it. but I never drank it), aaaaaand now I will seek it out.
  • The Gospel creates unity deeper than cultures can. As I worship and share tea & meals with these pastors it is quickly evident I am among family. In Christ we are brothers. Though we struggle to communicate words, we light up at the gospel together. We pray for each other and we remind each other that God has met our deepest need. Pretty cool time of encouragement.
  • We all have idols. The idols here are visible. They are statues people worship & pray to. Though we don’t have statues, we still have idols in America. They disguise themselves in the form of relationships, career success, sex, money, fame, security, and pleasure. But they are still idols. They are things we devote ourselves to trying to gain salvation & improvement to our situation. And we still need saving from them.

These are just some of the lessons. Another lesson is I like spicy food but sometimes spicy food fights back. You must respect the spice.

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