The church in North India has grown rapidly - over one million people have turned to Christ in the last decade. Consequently, thousands of small house-churches have formed, each led by an independent but often untrained pastor. North India Bible Training (NIBT) trains leaders for these churches, to study, apply and teach God’s word effectively, so that they can train others. NIBT’s small number of Hindi-speaking trainers run around 30 regional workshops and conferences throughout the region with up to 90 participants in each.
Pastor Devender (Director of NIBT since March 2015) shares how NIBT is impacting this large region with God’s unconditional and sacrificial love:
‘...God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ’ (1 John 4:9-10).
In India, almost all religions are conditions-based and are demanding, rather than giving. In stark contrast, the message of generosity in 1 John 4 is profound: we can’t even fathom the depth of God’s love for us. The God of the Bible’s unconditional, sacrificial love for his children, therefore, particularly attracts people to him here in India. In our context, when we teach and show them this kind of unconditional and sacrificial love, people are impressed and are eager to know more.
North India Bible Training’s team of teachers is committed to visiting many remote villages, often both economically and gospel-poor, to teach pastors God’s word, train them to be effective gospel workers, and show them God’s love. Our slogan is ‘The Word of God: Study it! Live it! Teach it!’ We believe that to win people for Christ we need to both teach the gospel and live it out in our lives: when we visit villages, we are not there just as teachers but as brothers in Christ to share ourselves and our resources with them.
‘...if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.’ (1 John 4:11).
Pastors and evangelists in these types of villages have little resources in terms of study materials and money; they cannot go to bible colleges to learn, neither can they afford to invite teachers to their village to instruct them. As we remember God’s grace to us, then we too are motivated to godly generosity. When we spend our own money and time to go to them, they are encouraged and learn about God’s unconditional, sacrificial love for themselves. Consequently, these pastors become a channel of his love to others in their own community.
One village pastor, Bhanwar Lal from Rajasthan, said in a NIBT workshop that ‘No one in our family and our region has shown us this type of love. But you come all the way from Delhi (an 18-hour journey), spending your money and time to teach us and show us how to live a godly lives.’ In our experience, although many people can give without loving, we cannot love without giving.
Once, we were going to visit a state which had faced severe persecution of believers by some groups: Churches were burnt down, several pastors were killed and Christians’ houses were looted and set on fire. I announced to my church that NIBT was going there to encourage them, pray for them and help them financially. I was deeply moved when I saw the generous heart of an elderly lady from our church, who is very poor and has no family, because her son was murdered and her husband had left her because of her faith. She doesn’t even have a house to live in. She brought a small earthen piggy-bank containing some coins, which she had saved for many weeks, and gave all she had for these persecuted people, to show her love towards them.