Since the early days of missions in India (think William Carey sailing for Calcutta in 1793), most Christian evangelism in the country targeted southern India. This is why a stronger Christian presence came to exist in the states of South India—Kerala and Tamil Nadu, for example—while northern India remained largely untouched.
In the 1970s, God sent a missionary revival among believers in South India. Jesus' Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations, fueled the call of those days: "People are perishing in the North—go or send." Numerous mission sending agencies sprang up. And as Bible school students were challenged with the need for evangelism in northern India, thousands of young people dropped everything and answered the call. Among them was Ebenezer Samuel, Serve India's founder and president.
In the following decades, as first-generation believers began to emerge in northern India, the Lord called many of these new Christians to evangelism among their own people. While these indigenous missionaries of the North usually had less formal education than their missionary peers from southern India, they proved to be deeply committed workers for Christ's kingdom. Often hungry and sometimes barefoot, they moved out in faith to serve God—loving souls with a passion borne of much prayer.
Today, national pastors across all of India represent an evangelism workforce of around 400,000. That's about seven times the current number of salaried missionaries (estimated at under 50,000) sent by all mission agencies serving the country.
This large and already on-the-move network of national pastors is central to missions in India today. As we work together to equip these indigenous workers with training, tools, and ministry expansion funds for 5 years—could God transform a nation in a generation?
To get a feel for missions in India, remember that India lies deep inside the 10/40 Window—an invisible rectangle on the map extending from 10 degrees north to 40 degrees north of the equator, from North Africa to East Asia.
Two things about the 10/40 Window stand out. It’s where many of the world’s poorest live. And, it’s where the Christian Gospel is least accessible, overshadowed by several dominant religions. Of the 4 billion people living in the Window, consider who they are:
Many governments in the 10/40 Window crack down on Christian evangelism, and believers often suffer for their faith. It’s no surprise that this part of the world has thousands of unreached people groups, each with its own distinct language and culture, which remain the Great Commission focus for mission organizations around the world.