​Multiplying Ministry Through Theological Education

November 23 2015

You should teach people whom you can trust the things you and many others have heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others.

—2 Timothy 2:2 (New Century Version)

As a young person, R.K. was trapped in the poverty and sectarian violence in his native state in India. However, Jesus has given him new life, hope, and a calling to return to his home to invest in the lives of young children. His studies and ministry experiences at the OMS-founded Allahabad Bible Seminary are preparing him to multiply himself by investing in more young men and women, who one day will, in turn, multiply themselves for others.

From our founding, One Mission Society has emphasized leadership development through theological education. Theological education serves to “furnish and equip” the minds of men and women to reflect scripturally, historically, and sociologically on personal spiritual formation, the life and ministry of the church, and the impact of the Gospel on society in local and global contexts. Such reflection provides rich soil for multiplying healthy, growing disciples, leaders, and churches.

As part of this commitment, OMS partners with the 3 seminaries and 10 regional Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India, like Allahabad Bible Seminary (ABS). These schools not only provide students with rigorous academic preparation to serve as evangelists, church planters, and pastors; they also give students significant practical ministry experience that shapes them and makes a tangible difference in the surrounding communities.

ABS students and faculty minister with leaders of more than 20 house churches in nearby villages, with plans to launch churches in 10 more villages this year. As these churches have grown, the seminary has helped to build 5 church buildings in the region. In addition to the house churches, ABS provides weekly targeted ministries to women and children in the villages.

In addition to the 167 current residential students like R.K., Allahabad Bible Seminary is equipping more than 2,000 individuals for ministry and leadership through its extension program. Allahabad is just one example of how the ECI schools are working toward the vision of 100,000 churches and 10 million believers by the denomination’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2056. It is our great joy and privilege to come alongside these brothers and sisters in Christ as they equip young men and women to “go about in the power of the Spirit, announcing and embodying the Good News of God’s righteous rule and reign upon the earth.”

Did you know …?

Arun* runs an OMS partner school. He also leads a house church started through the school. On four occasions his church has attempted to construct a worship facility, only to have it destroyed by opposing groups. In 2011, he and his congregation were herded into a room and the doors locked. Only the arrival of security forces prevented them from being burned alive. Today, Arun continues to serve Jesus and his church as a pastor and educator.

*Name changed for security.

By Dick Freed, One Mission Society Theological Education Team

Tags: india, theological education, eci, schools, seminaries, story,

From a Hindu Boy to a Christian Bishop in India

October 20 2015

Rev. Abel Neelakandan was born and brought up in a staunch orthodox Hindu family. During his youth, he tried to find peace through his ancestral religion of Hinduism, but he failed. In 1976, he heard the Gospel through one of the Every Community for Christ team members and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. Bishop M. Ezra Sargunam, president of the Evangelical Church of India and OMS missionary Dr. Elmer Kilbourne baptized Abel that same year.

One day, when Abel was reading the Bible, the Lord spoke to him through Jeremiah 1:4,5 “…Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb, I sanctified you and I ordained you as a prophet unto the nations.” He immediately obeyed God’s call and surrendered his life to God’s service.

As one of the first Telugu converts, he joined our ECC team in that area. OMS missionary, Dr. Graham Houghton, was serving as the director for the team, as well as serving as the principal of Madras Theological Seminary & College (MTSC). After two years of ministry, Abel began classes at MTSC to receive his bachelor of theology degree.

He was appointed as the ECC Telugu team leader in 1979. He and his team baptized thousands of people and planted hundreds of churches in Chennai and in Andhra Pradesh.

In September 2015, Rev. Neelakandan was elected as a bishop of ECI South Andhra diocese. Currently, the South Andhra diocese has around 600 churches. Pray that the Lord will continue to use Bishop Abel Neelakandan to strengthen the churches under his care.

—Story courtesy of The Evangelical Church of India

Tags: india, bishop appointed, ecc, hindu, eci,