This blog continues the conversation with Indian church planters, YM and Joy who are currently experiencing a church planting movement in their region of India. They have much wisdom and insight to give us. You may view previous sections of the interview with them in the archives.
FD: What about the
role of women—what can they do?
Joy: Since this is an
oral culture, we train women who are married. In general we find that those aged 25-45 are best because they have good
access to the people. Women are not
limited—they can do anything. The women
baptize other women. In terms of
authority, a woman can do anything. They
can baptize, pray for the sick or plant a church. A woman will spread the good news to her
relatives and to the community.
YM: In our movement,
Joy was the first one to demonstrate that women can baptize. She baptized 29 in a single day. Now she does not baptize people because she
has trained others to do so. She passes
that authority on to new church planters too. She has trained 305 women leaders.
Joy: YM has trained
over 3,000 men in a seven year period.
One of the major advantages a woman has is that in our
culture, a man cannot talk to a woman, so a man has limited access to a
household. The women have unlimited
access so they are more free than a man to plant a church. They are also more successful. The majority of women work on the farms and
in the fields. In the morning they see
to their livestock. At noon, when the
sun is overhead and people are resting, this is the time when our ladies catch
We have different strategies that we follow. For the first five weeks of church planting
we just try to create a relationship. We
let the people know we are here to pray. We prayer walk the area. Then for
3-6 months we concentrate on the relationships. When we have created a
relationship we pray for people and tell stories of the things God has done for
us.We have a story for every need. Usually at around the six month point, people
are ready to become a Christian. In
general, it takes us around 6 months to start a church.
In Hinduism there is no concept of sin. They are justified by their work and
karma. We use chronological story
telling so that people realize they are a sinner who needs a savior. We teach repentance and salvation and baptize
people, then give them the authority to do the same and make disciples. We tell them, “You know Christ and you are
saved. You are a disciple. Now do the same for others. We teach them, “Be one and bring one. Bring an unbeliever with you to the training
for new Christians.”