Agape Partners International       

Indian Christian

    THE INDIAN CHRISTIAN  COMMUNITY in North America can be proud of their younger generation.  In general, they are brilliant, industrious, and goal-oriented.  In addition, most of them are God-fearing and have a solid family life.  Yet many of them face struggles as they try to adjust to two different cultures and accommodate the spiritual values of their parents and those of their peers.  All immigrant communities face such struggles, although in different degrees.
    Although there are certain issues common to all immigrants from India, the Indian Christian  community faces certain unique situations.  The struggles of the younger generation of this identifiable ethnic group are discussed and certain recommendations for their survival are made in this chapter.  It is to be emphasized that there are many homes where the children do not encounter the problems mentioned here.  In the field of human behavior it is impossible to generalize observations and findings in a manner in which they will be equally applicable to all in the community.
    When I graduated from Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut in 1975, there were no Indian Pentecostal churches in the state of Connecticut to ordain me or to hire me.  People like me who remained in America after their education sought ordination and ministry positions in American churches.  Things have drastically changed since then.  Today there are hundreds of Keralite Pentecostal churches and tens of thousands of believers across America.  Most of these churches are pastored by ministers born, raised and, in most cases, trained in India.  As the American churches are raising a second generation of Keralite believers, these pastors are working hard to meet the changing needs of their congregations.

    A Call for Unity and Love

    LOVE AND UNITY are distinctive marks of Christianity, distinguishing it from any other religion in the world.  Without them Christianity would only be a system of moral and ethical standards, having no substance to sustain its claim that “God is One, and He is love.”  The unity of the Godhead, and love as God’s chief attribute, make God superior to and distinct from all other “gods”. Christianity is not a philosophical religion. Neither is it an organization that simply provides safety and security to those who come under its umbrella. Rather it is an organism that promotes growth and unity, and exhibits the love of God.  Without these essential characteristics Christianity, and as a result, the Indian Christian Community in the United States of America would disintegrate leaving only a skeleton of a dead religion. To avoid any such possible deterioration Christians must maintain a personal relationship with God who is one and who is love.
    YOU ARE A CHOSEN PEOPLE, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9. Every believer in the Lord Jesus, a person redeemed from darkness to light, has been called to a live a life of praise and worship to God. Praise and worship is a required and joyous component of every Christian’s relationship with Jesus. Although praise and worship is not restricted to music and song, this chapter deals with the expression of praise and worship in the form of music and song amongst churches in the Indian community. Principles for successful worship ministry, dealing with disagreements, and integrating multiple languages are addressed.
    THROUGHOUT THE LATTER half of the twentieth century Indian Christians immigrated to the United States in large numbers in search of education and employment opportunities.  As these immigrants imbibed fully from the cup of materialism offered by American society they knowingly or unknowingly ignored their Christian responsibilities and commitment.  Some of them who were trained as Christian workers left the ministry and sought secular occupations that allowed them no time for witnessing Christ. In the past twenty-five years Indian Christian churches in the US have had several problems regarding lack of proper leadership, conflict between believers, youth issues, church affiliation and other administrative aspects.  It often seemed that solving problems between individuals, families and groups was the only occupation of the church. Many Indian churches are currently not equipped to facilitate disciple-making. They often lack trained leaders, which leaves them unequipped to participate fully in the ministry.
    The focus of this chapter is to discuss some of the socio-cultural and spiritual reasons involved in the lack of disciple-making among the Indian Pentecostal churches in the United States. Practical and biblical patterns of disciple-making are explored.
    IN EXPLORING THE IDEA of multicultural ministry in the local church, we should first be convinced of its necessity.  The why should precede the how and what.  This why is found in the pages of Scripture.  For it is in the Bible that God has most definitively revealed His mind, His character, and His redemptive plan.  To understand Him and His redemptive plan is to understand the reason why sections of the Universal Church, including the Indian Christian Community, must be seriously engaged in the pursuit of God’s will regarding those outside its cultural hedge.  By surveying the Biblical record in both the Old and New Testaments, we find that God has acted redemptively to choose for Himself one people comprised of many peoples.  This holds several implications for the Universal Church, and for the Indian Christian Community in particular.  First, however, let us consider the Scriptural record and be convinced of God’s multicultural intentions.
    THE PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT IS one of the most rapidly growing religious movements in the world.1 It is the largest and most important religious movement that originated in the United States.2 Beginning in 1901 with a handful of students in a Bible school in Topeka, Kansas, the number of Pentecostals has increased exponentially through the world. By 1995 they had become the largest family of Protestants in the world.3 This explosive growth has forced the world to pay increasing attention to the entire movement.
    THE PRIMARY GOAL of this book is to help build a strong Christian community of Asian Indians in North America. This goal  is based on the principle that godly experiences and visions of committed Christians transcend cultural and other boundaries. The book contains contributions from authors in diverse fields all of whom share the same biblical values. Their articles are focused on equipping pastors, youth leaders, and families to build a generation of mature believers for the kingdom of God.