We often do things without thinking of another way – perhaps a better way. The author challenges us to rethink ministering to just the individual and consider the whole family.
I would like to discuss a question with those who are against the possibilities of group conversion. Indian families take decisions about major matters after consultation with other family members. In the decision-making process, opinions of other family members are given importance.
What methods are we using to spread the Good News? Examine the methods for a minute. Almost every method that we employ to evangelize either in the urban or rural area is aimed at the conversion of the individual. Our evangelistic methods like tract distribution, evangelistic crusades, seekers’ camp, film ministry and personal evangelism are aimed at converting individuals. Conversion of the individual very often leads to the conversion of the family if the evangelist has enough faith and patience. Many of our evangelists do not have the patience to make this happen.
Violent extraction of individual members out of the family has become the norm and is believed to be true conversion. In the case of college students many become Christians without telling family members and even get baptized without the knowledge of family members. Once the student leaves the college campus he never discloses the secret decision taken while in college. Only a few students have the courage to declare their Christian faith at a later stage in life. The disclosure comes as a great shock to family members. Do those who work among the college students take time to meet the parents of the student to lead them to the Christian faith as a family? Many minister with the assumption that the new convert will separate himself from the family members. In the Early Church, conversions against the immediate sentiments of family members were very rare.
Recently I read an article by a full-time worker who has been in the ministry for the last two decades. He is an example of extraction in the name of conversion. He says that he severed his relationship with his natural family at the time of his conversion, due to the wrong counsel of Christian workers. At the time of his conversion he adopted a spiritual family. Soon he found that this spiritual family did not have the capacity to give him the love and care he needed.
If we are serious about the evangelization of all people groups within India, then we need to consider reaching families and see solid biblical foundations established so these converted families can be a light and a witness among their people.