Today we participated in the 5th of 6 graduations in a city in northwest India. This was the largest of the graduations so far as 5 different training centers all came together. It is amazing how the Christians here will travel over a hundred kilometers to attend these graduations we have been doing. Many of the Christians here have to wake up at 3-4am to travel by bus every week to attend church on sunday. Very different from the US where some people will not travel over 20 miles to go to church. During the graduation, a lovely woman L shared how she has been able to lead 8 families to Christ since she had started the training program. This was just an ordinary churchgoer with no special training or theological education. She was simply being obedient to the command to go and make disciples that applies to every member of the body of Christ, not just the leaders. The trainings we have done and the testimonies we have heard have only increased my conviction that making disciples is for the whole church, not just the pastors, teachers and evangelists. During the graduations I have been concluding the training by preaching a sermon on Ephesians 4:4-13. I am no experienced preacher, but God has graciously allowed me to grow in this area while I have been here. In verse 11, Paul says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Some members of the body of Christ were given specific roles in ministry through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. And their role is to equip the saints for the ministry of reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul discusses that Christ gave all of those who have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ the ministry of reconciliation. He tells the church at Corinth that we are now ambassadors of Christ and that God makes his appeal for people to be reconciled to himself through us. If you are a member of the body of Christ (the Church), you have a role to play in this ministry of reconciliation. You may not have the specific spiritual gift of generosity, but all people in the church are to give generously with thankful hearts. Not all of us have the spiritual gift of evangelism, yet all are called to share the gospel. You cannot leave the work of ministry to your pastors to do. This is too heavy a burden for them to bear themselves. I have been challenging members of the body of Christ in India to discover their role in the ministry and begin to fulfill that and I want to challenge the church back home as well to do this. The church is the means by which God will bring worshippers from all tribes and tongues to himself. Ask yourself, what is my role in the ministry and are you doing it?
After the training we headed to our next city by car about 2 hours away and once there we headed to the Golden Temple where people of the Sikh faith worship. Tomorrow we will head out to our last training and last day in India. Can’t wait to tell you more about our trip when we get back!