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Reaching India

Overhead Transparency Map Set

Leader's Guide

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1. The States of India

With great racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, India is considered by many to be the most complex society on the face of the earth. India has 29 states with six union territories, 593 districts, and 631,149 villages. From Brahmins to Outcastes, Muslims to Christians, there are an estimated 6,400 castes in India. Caste discrimination is forbidden by the constitution, but is socially important for over 80% of the population. Though economic growth accelerated in the 1990's, it has been offset by the high birth rate, illiteracy, prejudice, secession movements, resistance to change, religious beliefs, and bureaucratic inefficiency. Yet there is great beauty, diversity, and uniqueness about the culture and people. God loves all the peoples of India.

2. 2001 Literacy by State

65% of the population can read (male 76%, female 54%), but it is estimated that less than half of the population are functionally literate. With India's complex linguistic diversity, poverty, and the caste system, how can the church motivate and teach the millions of India to read/write? How will we reach the illiterate? (Global Recordings Network has cassette recordings in over 394 Indian languages, the Jesus Film Project has completed over 55 language translations, Christian broadcast ministries beam over 45 languages...)

3. 1991 Population by District

There are over 1 billion people that live in India of which one half live below the poverty line. 26% of the urban population live in slums. How does the church minister to the multitudes that live in the slums when they are literally starving? By the year 2025, India will have over 1.3 billion people. The river valleys of northeastern India are among the most densely populated places in the world. Over 31 cities have a population of over a million. The multitudes are also desperate, confused and hungry for spiritual enlightenment. There is a great spiritual hunger among the women, the "custodians" of Indian culture, who outnumber the men. Will you pray for the billions of India? (Dan 12:2)

4. Percent Hindu & Muslim

India is called the Hindu heartland of the world (representing 79.8% of the population). Hinduism is a religion of mystery and myth, and it fascinates the natives as well as the foreigners. It is filled with idolatry, worshipping 200 million holy cows and a pantheon of 33 million gods. Many of the gods can be devious, destructive, and bring death. Muslims represent 12.5% of the population. There is a Muslim secessionist movement in Kashmir that is in an armed conflict with the government. There is also a rising level of physical violence and persecution by militant Hindus against both Muslims and Christians. Many people live in confusion, poverty and fear. Pray that the strife between Hindus and Muslims would cause disillusionment, leading many to Jesus, the true Prince of Peace. (Acts 4:12)

5. Christian Population by District

Christians represent only 2.4% of the population and are growing at 3% per year. There is a great need for pioneer missionaries in north India. A tremendous pressure exists from family and community for new believers to revert back to Islam or Hinduism. In some places Christians are ill-treated, persecuted, and sometimes killed. It is very difficult for missionaries to obtain visas to enter or re-enter India. And yet behind the scenes, the Spirit of God is moving and a strong church planting movement is growing around the nation. Where are the greatest harvest fields located?

6. 1991 Orissa State Christian Population by District

The state of Orissa has a population of 37,500,000 with approximately 787,5000 believers (2.1%). Oriya is the major language and agriculture the predominant occupation (80% of the work force). Hinduism has captured the lives of 94.7% of the people of Orissa. But the tribal peoples are becoming more and more responsive to the Gospel. The Orissa Congress on Church Development (CONS) has committed to: (1) plant 7200 new churches, (2) target 15,500 unreached villages, (3) place at least one Christian worker in every postal area code (9,398), and (4) mobilize 10,000 people in cell groups to pray daily, all by the year 2000. What districts have the greatest need for evangelization? (Matt. 28:18-20)

7. The Need for Church Planting and Church Workers

Two hundred years ago, William Carey, the father of the modern missionary movement, set his feet on the shore of India, with a heart for the lost. Hindu militant movements and discriminatory legislation against Christians has historically limited the growth and vitality of the church. But today, an explosion led by the Spirit of God, a growing indigenous missionary force and national churches, has blossomed into revival in several states and districts of India. A nationwide "CONS" movement was launched by most of India's Protestant denominations with a vision to plant a church in every one of the 600,000 plus villages. There are currently over 25 million Christians, 67,435 Protestant churches, and a need for 800,000 more churches in India. There is also an average of 8 churches for every pastor--a great need for the multiplication of leadership and church workers. Urbanization will intensify this great need.

8. Bible Translation Status

India has over 1,652 languages, including 18 official languages (Hindi, English, Marathi, Bengali, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, etc...) and 24 languages spoken by a million or more persons. This map identifies 381 major language groups from the Ethnologue that need or have the Bible in their own language. Pray for more Indian Bible translators. (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Heb 4:12)

9. India Gateway Cities

Only through a united effort and the hand of God can we see all nations or peoples discipled in our world. Focusing on the gateway peoples (or cities) can enable a more effective networking and cooperation, and a formation of strategic partnerships comprised of international mission agencies and national church initiatives. Each city is a strategic economic, political, social and spiritual center of its respective nation or state. But cities can also be places of loneliness, suffering, death, and spiritual darkness. Calcutta is India's 2nd largest city (12,800,000) which also has the world's lowest urban living standard. The greatest requirement of effectively reaching unreached peoples in our cities is prayer. In order to facilitate specific corporate global prayer, 11 strategic gateway cites in India have been targeted by AD2000 in the 10 / 40 window. Will you pray for these gateway cities? (Matt. 9:36-38, Ps. 2:8)

10. The Santal People of India

The gospel has not spread evenly in India. We have selected one of many strategic people that have just begun to be responsive to the gospel. The Santal people of east India live in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam. As a tribal people they are caught in the web of Hinduism, poverty, illiteracy, and the discriminating oppressive caste system. Pray for the need of Christian workers, church planting, and revival among the Santal people of India, who will then reach other peoples. (Hab. 1: 5)


10/15/02For comments on this web site, write webmaster@gmi.org. Return to GMI Home Page