New Delhi

I’m in New Delhi and I spent the day speaking to the leadership of Indian Evangelical Team (IET). IET was founded in 1972 by P.G. Vargis and has become the largest church planting mission in India. IET has planted nearly 6,000 churches throughout North India and is well on the way to reaching their goal of 7,777 church by 2010. IET has 2,100 full time church planters, with most of them overseeing multiple congregations. In a land of spiritual darkness which has been dominated by demon powers for thousands of years the planting of life giving churches is the hope of India.

P.G. asked me to speak on the topic of excellence in ministry so I gave an hour and half teaching on “Building a Championship Team.” I told them the two essential characteristics of a championship team member are loyalty and dependability and the two essential characteristics of a championship team leader are vision and courage. I also taught about the ethos of excellence and creativity in team ministry. It was very well received.

Following lunch I gave a teaching to the senior leadership on the nature of salvation. I talked about developing a holistic Kingdom concept of salvation as opposed to the reductionist salvation of heaven/hell minimalism. They were very interested in this. I explained how if our concept of salvation is simply to get people to say a sinner’s prayer so as to be ready for heaven, that even if we succeeded in getting every person in India to do this, we would have to start over again in the following generation. We must preach the individual experience of being born again by faith in Jesus Christ and the corporate reality of the Kingdom of God which can establish generational blessing, transform a society and redeem a culture. They eagerly embraced these new concepts and specifically asked that I teach their senior leadership more on this when I return to India next year.

When I asked what the number one goal for IET was, they told me it was for the IET churches to become self-sufficient. At present only a tiny percentage of the churches are financially self-supporting, the vast majority are supported by donations which come primarily from Christians in South India and Indian Christians working in the United Arab Emirates.

Joy Thomas, the president of IET, explained that most tribal Christians have more faith to raise the dead then to give; he literally told me it was more common to hear of a church that had raised the dead then to hear of a church where the people were givers. P.G. Vargis, Joy Thomas and the other senior IET leaders said they must have an emphasis on the principles of tithing, the laws of sowing and reaping in the financial realm and the promises of biblical prosperity if the IET churches of North India are to become self-sufficient and a force for transformation in their society. Prosperity is a key component of the Gospel — especially among people who have been crushed by poverty for millennia.

It was a delightful day with these great men of God.

P.G. Vargis is speaking at a pastors conference in Chennai this week and is giving a copy of my two books, Via Triumphalis and What To Do On The Worst Day of Your Life to each of the 3,000 pastors attending. I was glad to hear this.

President Bush arrives in New Delhi tomorrow and the whole city is abuzz. I would love to take Brother W. to the Bukhara restaurant for the best Tandoori chicken in town. Does anyone have his cell number? 🙂

Tomorrow is March 1. You know what that means.

Let the discovery begin!