Land & People
India is a land of great diversity in cultures, ethnic groups, languages, and religions.
India is the birthplace of some of the great religions of the world. Hinduism is the largest, with about 650 million followers. Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism also owe their origins to India. India's Muslim population exceeds 100 million, making it one of the four largest Muslim populations in the world.
Year Entered by BMM1935
Baptist Mid-Missions started its ministry in northeast India under the leadership of Dr. and Mrs. Galen Crozier in 1935. As more missionaries came to the field, a Christian hospital and nursing school were established near Alipur and a leprosy colony at Makunda. The ministry expanded to include Baptist churches, a Christian Literature House, translation work, other clinics, and the Northeast India Baptist Bible College and Seminary.
During the 1960s the Indian government implemented its policy of restricting the entry of missionaries. The renewal of visas was also restricted, and the missionary force gradually declined. Ministries were handed over to national Christians. By the early 1980s all our missionaries had been required to leave the Assam region. This opened up the opportunity for outreach through the National Church. Partnership Missions assists the churches with a free Bible Correspondence Course and scholarships for students training for ministry and church planting. The ministry has since expanded to other countries, assisting national believers in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in limited-access and no-access countries. For more information visit www.partnershipmissions.org.
Today, several BMM families serve in South India. A missionary couple began work in 1977 in Thiruvanthapuram (formerly Trivandrum). Their plan for reaching Kerala State for Christ began with a correspondence school, which has grown to service over 80,000 students and includes a free library and reading room, literature work, audio ministry, and church planting. The First Baptist Church of Trivandrum was organized in 1980.
BMM missionaries have organized three Baptist churches in the Bangalore region: Grace Baptist Church, Emmanuel Baptist Church of Kolar Gold Fields, and Bethel Baptist Church. Bethel Baptist Church has launched two other congregations who share their building—these churches conduct services in the Tamil and Nepali languages. A third congregation is being started for the Malayalam language.
Baptist Seminary of South India—a two-year resident course leading to the degree of master of theological studies—is also in Bangalore.
In Madurai, a couple serves in Bible translation and has been instrumental in several tribal language Scripture projects. They are also church planters and have started Hindi- and Bengali-language churches in northern India and are currently planting a church in Madurai with outreach to neighboring villages. They are constructing a multipurpose facility to be used to train national leaders and house a Bible history/artifact center to teach people of all ages about the Bible.
Another couple is reaching the villages around Jonnalagadda in Andhra Pradesh. They are involved in a Bible training institute in the Telegu language.
As great changes take place in India, the policies regarding the issuance of visas to foreigners remains uncertain. It is unlikely that missionary visas will again be granted. Business visas, student visas, and tourist visas, however, do provide other options. Given the temporary nature of a missionary's residential status, consideration must be given to ministries that train nationals to do the work of evangelism and church planting. One other source for missionary personnel is the large number of Indian nationals who have settled in the United States that could be challenged to return to India with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bible college and seminary instructors are needed to help the Indian church with educational needs. Church planters, including national pastors, are also needed to reach Indians for Christ.
Learn more about India here.