How we became involved with India
I first visited India with the International Leprosy Mission in January 1981. Terry Virgo had just begun to gather a team of men who, in due course, became the leaders of Newfrontiers, a family of churches around the world. When the team first met in September 1980 we had contact with a few churches in south east England – and one in Bombay in India! Little did I know on what first visit that God had in mind. He used the visit to put a hook in my heart and since then I have visited India on many occasions.
Initially there were some issues that needed resolving in the church in Bombay (now Mumbai) and Henry and Dorothy Tyler lived there for four months helping bring clarity. Subsequently other churches became part of the Indian ‘family’ and friendships were formed and churches planted in other cities. I used to visit wearing my ‘admin’ hat where specific projects were being initiated, such as the building of a training centre in Goa and a Management Centre in Bangalore, both of which provided accommodation for the local church.
In due course centres developed in the state of Maharashtra (including Mumbai and Nassik), Goa, Bangalore, Kerala and even into north east India in Meghalaya. (Orissa is also mentioned in the video below).
In 2002 some further issues arose among the churches and Guy Miller and a team he was leading focussed significant attention on helping these issues to be resolved. Personally I found myself visiting every 3-6 months, building on the friendships I had developed over the decades and helping bring clarity to the ministries with the poor, my heart’s passion.
In 2011 it became necessary to redefine the family of Newfrontiers worldwide in order to accommodate growth and also acknowledge the handing over of the leadership by Terry to others with apostolic ministry. Newfrontiers thus changed from being a family of churches to becoming a family of apostolic spheres each of which included its own family of churches. At that point the churches in India became part of two spheres. Most looked to Guy Miller who was leading the emerging Commission sphere while others reached out to Steve Oliver, leader of Regions Beyond.
Personally I have not visited India since 2011 so I welcomed the opportunity to meet up recently with some of these old friends when they came to Guy’s Bible Weekend. Join me as I talk with Vinu Paul who is now leading the ‘Commission’ team in India. It is an exciting update!
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