20 Year Vision
In 2002, I set a twenty-year goal to establish one significant model church each year in South Asia. I have not met that ambitious goal but we’re not doing badly! These congregations serve their regions as working examples of solid New Testament government, innovative vision and sustainable growth. I generally locate a model church in a major city where we target middle-income families. My hope is that these churches will become financial centers where the work in the outlying areas can be directed and funded with resources from within the model church.
In the first year of that twenty-year vision, we established a congregation in Colombo, Sri Lanka. We set a growth goal of 100 adult members by the end of the first year, and to double in size each year for the next three years. We grew to 375 adults by the end of the third year. By 2014 the church had grown to over 1,500 adult members and has served as a pattern for our ongoing church planting efforts.
Our second church plant was in Gurgaon, India, where I worked together with Pastor Victor Nazareth. Victor was already the pastor of a successful congregation in Delhi. We were able to help him launch a sister church in Gurgaon, a fast growing commercial center south of Delhi. Victor has now raised up pastors for both the Delhi and the Gurgaon congregations, and has planted scores of congregations in the Delhi region. The Gurgaon congregation is middle to upper income, English speaking, and was fully self-supported within one year.
Our third model church was launched July 2004 in Bhaktapur, Nepal. It has not grown as quickly as our other church plants but it is a solid work of about 150 adults. Bhaktapur is a difficult Hindu stronghold so we expected this work to be a challenge. We established a small orphanage with 13 children along with this church, and we are pleased with how this ministry of compassion has progressed. The children are a delight to our hearts!
Our fourth church was a bit of an exception from our other works. Led by Pastor K.B. and Sushilla Basel, the ministry was already functioning before we came alongside. We helped K.B. expand his main church from about 150 members to over 1,000 by 2014, and together we planted over 160 village churches. K.B. now maintains: a Christian radio station, a primary school, a leaders training center, a medical outreach, a sex-trafficking rescue operation at the India border, and a blind children's home.
Our fifth model church was launched in March of 2005 just outside Islamabad, Pakistan. This rapidly growing congregation reached an adult membership of 1,500 by 2014 and continues to grow steadily.
Our sixth model church was launched in 2011 in Aurangabad, India. Pastored by Joseph and Sonali Shrisunder, this congregation has grown steadily since its inception. I’ve been pleased with how this church has grown. By 2014 it reached over 300 adult members.
Our seventh model church plant is in Mumbai, India. Pastored by Ian and Naomi Hendricks, this work launched in November of 2012. It has grown steadily as a life-giving model that we hope will one day become a center for church planting in the major cities of India.
Our eighth model church was launched in 2013 in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is a sister church to our first work and has experienced a solid beginning. By 2014 it had reached an adult attendance of about 150.
In 2002 we began working closely with Bethany World Prayer Center, my home church, to facilitate church planting in some of the more remote regions of South Asia. In that first year, Bethany helped us to establish 30 churches. Since that time, Bethany has helped us to launch over 745 churches in South Asia. I meet once each year with Pastor Larry and an international team of leaders. We cooperate together, sharing church planting ideas and strategies.