Praise the Lord for His gospel work among scholars in Northern India !
2. The key burden is to make use of the scholars’ visit to open new doors in the top colleges in India in order to gain proper and useful vessels for the Lord’s move in India.
3. During the scholars’ visit, 3 types of events were organized –
- Technical seminars/classes: delivered by the professors on their respective technical subjects. Such seminars is a way to establish the initial contact with the institutes;
- Secular forums: not directed by saints but by the host institutes, e.g. forum in IIT Chennai and DTU Delhi. Such forums are challenging as there are limitations on the content the scholars could share (in IIT Chennai God could be discussed but not Jesus and Bible; in DTU the Vice-Chancellor’s participation limited the extent the professors could share about the gospel).
- Gospel forums: organized by ourselves where we basically have a free way to share about Jesus, the Bible and high peak truth.
4. Overall speaking –
- The scholars’ visit was very useful in opening up new doors in contacting top colleges and higher quality students and academic staff.
- Despite the tight time-frame, the response of the top colleges to the visit of the scholars was very positive. There was also a hunger among students on more spiritual topics like science and God, which is beyond our initial expectation.
- Gospel forums organized by ourselves give more room for the scholars to preach, and it was easier to manage the order and spirit of the meeting.
- In future, we need to consider the suitable size of the forums – large meetings can catch many but would not be easier to manage the atmosphere.
5. It is very worthwhile to continue to conduct such visits in the future. Nevertheless, we recognize the limit of a short one-week visit. Given the complicated religious and cultural background in India, it would take a longer time frame to bring someone out into the flock. Ideally, we pray that some professor saints would receive the burden to take sabbatical of one-year and coordinate with the local saints in India. We believe this way would achieve much more impact than short-term visits. On the individual aspects of the visit –
Topics of Seminar
The scholars felt that the topics used in this visit were well chosen. Nevertheless, in some forums some participants felt that there was a dominant oneness among the brothers in their speaking and preaching of Jesus and the Bible.In future, we can consider the following improvements –
- More preparation among the brothers on the topics in advance in speaking in secular or gospel forums in India. The brothers may prepare different ways in approaching the topics from their experience and knowledge instead of directly go into the high peak truth right at the beginning – this could be more acceptable to the needs of the audience from a Hindu background.In particular, the scholars can prepare to give their life experience/subjective experience of the faith. This is an angle that can gain the audience vis-à-vis other religions.
- To avoid giving the gentiles an overtly strong impression that the scholars all shared the same thing, we may explore and consider including other suitable speakers not from the church life in some seminars. For example, while in DTU Delhi the speaking of the Vice-Chancellor was very different from the brothers, it nevertheless has demonstrated clearly our point-of-view and gave room for the participants to rethink from different angles.
- Based on the questions asked during the seminars, we can consider some more specific topics (besides very broad and general topics) to the interests of the audience in India. Questions asked during the forums are attached at Annex B. Some of the prominent and potential topics that can be developed for the next visit include –
“Science, Faith and Humanity”
* Science stream *
- Science and Faith – Does science bury God? (General topic)
- Evolution and God – Do they mix? (Natural/life science)
- The God Particle: Do we have the answer?(Physics)
* Humanities stream *
- Rethinking faith – How does it meet the needs of the modern world? (Education, work, family life)
- Faith and Inequality – (social/caste, religious, gender etc.)
With more preparation time, it is hoped that some more scholars of different background can come and coordinate to expand on these topics. A one-day forum can be considered to be held in some suitable venues.
- If the seminars are held in campus, it would not be easy to have an open topic on the Bible and Christian faith. Such topics can be covered if there is small group timing, or luncheon/dinner organized where the visiting professors can share on their individual testimonies.
Timing of Seminar
7. For Delhi, during this visit some students have not yet returned for the new seminar. Where possible, future visit of the scholars can be conducted in the second week of January.
Analysis of the response of audience
8. The response of the participants in those forums where reply cards were collected is at Annex C. In general, the majority of the audience found the forums interesting and would be interested to join such type of forums again. Through these forums, we could identify those who have an interest to know more about the Christian faith whom we can contact further.
9. This visit of the scholars has brought in a new beginning in campus work – we need to consider how to properly follow-up on the visit and be more aggressive in gaining the top students and academic staff in the campuses in India.
10. The scholars’ visit, would be followed up in the following aspects
- Calling the gospel contacts interested to meet again for personal fellowship or attending a meeting;
- Develop the relationship with Christian faculty and students met at IIT Chennai;
- Collate common questions asked by Hindu and Muslim students in India;
- Learn from the experience of other Christian groups in contacting Hindus and Muslims in India;
- Prepare gospel material for Hindus and Muslims.
11. After the scholars’ visit, initially we will follow up in the following 3 aspects –
- Follow up the manifested seeking ones from IIT Delhi, DTU and DU immediately;
- Go through the complete list of response and contact them one by one to find out how we can follow up further;
- Prepare Gospel Q&A in coordination with the scholars in the U.S. to address the needs of the people in India specifically, drawing from the questions raised by the audience (Annex B), as well as from further research into the Hindu religion.
- Develop and maintain good relationship with the professors and Christian groups in the top colleges, which may help the furtherance of the gospel and the organization of similar forums in the future.
12. A detailed checklist of all logistics preparation for the seminars and forums will be produced, e.g.design of publicity material, mobilization of local saints in publicity, invitations, venue-preparation including translation, sound systems; conduct of meetings – moderators, ushers, timing to distribute question papers and reply cards etc.
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13. We praise the Lord for this beginning, and we pray that there would be more coordination in the Body for His move and campus work in India through –
- Prayer in the Body, so that more scholars in the U.S. will receive the burden to pray for India and visit India.
- Pray for the next visit of the scholars in early Jan 2015. Pray that more scholars can come and coordinate at that time. Prior to that, we pray that scholars from other localities may also receive the burden to come and visit (e.g. at the beginning of first semester in August or September).
- Pray that some professors in the U.S. will receive the burden to take one-year sabbatical and come to India to teach and coordinate.
- Saints in the U.S. can pray more for gaining a group of Indian professors or PhDs in U.S. who will be captured by the Lord and move to India for His spread.
Lord’s Move in India