In What Ways can Churches Partner Together?
Harshit Singh: In what ways can Churches partner together as we come together as EIC, Equip India Churches? What are the few practical ways we can partner together, or we have in the past done that, anybody.
Nathan Eda: Well, we’ve, in the past, helped each other with resources. Like the blog is a big resource. We write for the blog to help Indian churches to think through important issues.
Harshit Singh: One thing about the blog, some of us are great writers, some of us aren’t. What is good about the EIC blog, I think we have encouraged writers, who probably might not have had an opportunity in other blogs. We’ve helped them to just put ideas together and even helped them with how to put an article.
Nathan Eda: And then to be honest, like in full disclosure, whenever we get a request for an article, it instills a little bit of fear and trepidation. Because we know that we want to be clear in our thinking and precise with our words. And so even in my own ministry, it has helped me sharpen how I think about things and sharpen how I even preach the Word on a given Sunday. So that’s how it’s helped me, especially writing, which is not usually a forte that we have in our context.
Harshit Singh: So that’s one way. Any other way.
Stephen David: Yeah, the other way that I see is the way we partnered together in doing internships. I remember you sending three interns to us, and a few more to Benjamin, and to Edison, in Mysore. And that was a great encouragement to us. And these guys came, we taught them and we encouraged them and equipped them, but they also contributed to us with what they have learned from Satya Vachan, they’re very much greatly encouraged. And this pastoral internship has been a great blessing. And indirectly, they could also recommend, like Rohit is there right now. He’s from our church, and I’m so glad I never imagined that he would be trained. He was working for Swiggy in Hyderabad, and he became a part of our church. And then due to COVID pandemic, when he moved to Odisha, I encouraged him, why not join Lucknow and get trained? He finished one year and recently sent me a message. He keeps on updating, “Anna, I have learned Hermeneutics and am learning Greek now. It’s unbelievable what he is learning, and how is equipped and my eager longing is to see him becoming a church planter in Orissa. What a beautiful partnership is this!
Harshit Singh: Just one more story about that. Stephen has a friend in Singapore, and Stephen introduced his friend to me, who had a friend in Gujrat, who needed help to be trained. So he’s moving his family to Lucknow this year so that he can spend a year with us so that he can be trained, again in a very practical, tangible way. We are partnering together.
Benjamin George: Yeah! And you know, we received in terms of Lucknow. And people in my former church in Bangalore still talk about the impact that those four young men made. And now they’re in seminary, and we still have a good friendship going on. We call each other regularly. And so that’s been such a joy when we share interns. But we also share people too. And so I think we talked about this before, where if someone moves to another city, I’m excited if one of the members of our church moves to Hyderabad and Mumbai, Lucknow.
Harshit Singh: We have a young girl go to your church and become a member at your church. Benjamin George: That’s right, yeah. And when we have someone from one of your churches come, I have no questions at all, like what, what they’ve been listening to, what they’ve been fed. And it’s been very helpful. And a lot of times, they’re kind of leaders in our church in terms of discipling others. They just take so much initiative. It’s such a huge blessing when we share with people like that.
Nathan Eda: And to add to that, like it’s, it’s a breath of fresh air to meet each other without any suspicious look. We don’t necessarily meet each other saying, “Well, if I partner, I’m going to lose some of my resources.” Instead, we encourage each other and we pray for each other. Now we’ve got to watch our hearts so that we continue to do that. But I think we are excited about growth in Cochin or Lucknow or Hyderabad. We don’t try to do this comparison thing. Like hey, I’m better for this reason. Although that is a clear and present danger in partnerships like this.
Benjamin George: Yeah. And we even raise funds for others. When we send people as interns, we raise money and then send them so that they won’t be a burden, right?
Harshit Singh: This is unprecedented, Very un Indian, Genuinely introducing our partners, and financial supporters to one another. We’ve done it. We’ve enjoyed seeing how God has used it. Just yesterday, I mean, we were talking. Benjamin and I were talking. His church sent a young man to our church a couple of years ago, who has spent two years now, and he’s going out with a new church plant. And, so he came from that church for us last few years, going out. But he is helping, support him. I think it is just beautiful that not one church, one individual, one organization. I think we are hoping that EIC will do more of that in the future, very organic, not a brand, not one person’s ministry. And if just somehow the Lord protects us, that would be beautiful.
Nathan Eda: Yes, and fundamentally, it can be protected if we keep Christ as the main thing.
What he’s done for us is incomparable with what we will ever give in return. And so keeping that in mind that we do this, for the glory of God, as long as he wants it to go on will keep our motivations in check, I think as we move forward.
Stephen David: And I also see that it’s a great encouragement, even to our churches, that we are not alone. As autonomous churches, there are churches that are around us, we network together, and we are accountable to one another. Ultimately, the local church has ultimate authority. But they know that you know, there are brothers and churches that stand with us. And I was very much encouraged when Harshit sent me a picture that said “Hey, brother, we are praying for your church this Sunday.” And it was a good encouragement. But I shared with our church groups, I said “See, other churches are also praying!” And we pray for you guys, every Friday, for Equip Indian Churches. We have all your names there and intercede every Friday.
Nathan Eda: So it’s a joy to do that. It is a joy for us to do that. It’s not our ministry or anything. And yet it is just such a joy to see the Lord is working everywhere. And we’re not the only ones doing good work. We don’t have to brand ourselves that way. There are other good brothers doing good work.
Benjamin George: I think when you understand the Great Commission, it produces this kind of thinking, about how to partner with one another.
Stephen David: I was very much encouraged by reading, Understanding the Great Commission [by Mark Dever]. Whenever challenges [arise], don’t be a closed church. Open yourself to help other churches, share your resources and be a blessing to them. That was a great encouragement to not really be self-centered in the context of the local church, but also be other-centered in helping other churches.
Benjamin George: I think the most powerful line from that book was for me “You should be able to rejoice when growth happens at a church down the street than your own. And that just was a major milestone for me. And it’s one reason why I love doing this.
Harshit Singh: I did just want to add that one thing with EIC, we’re not trying to posture or position ourselves as great Indian leaders. We have no desire for that. I mean, our work is primarily in our local churches. It’s about friendship and any opportunity God gives that’s great. We’re not trying to start a new movement, a new big something that will change the country. We’re very happy to be faithful in our marriages and families, in friendships, in our local churches. And this is a product of friendship, and let God do what he wants to do.
Nathan Eda: Yeah, and one of the applications that organically is, when we do meet each other, we check each other’s motivations by teasing one another. If you can’t take a joke, you probably can’t be a part of EIC. It is one of those things that is actually truly good for our sanctification when brothers point out, “Hey, why are you actually doing it? Do you have the right motivations moving forward?”
Stephen David: And another good thing that I like about EIC is that we hold conferences, we hold seminars, we meet and we do a lot of things. But we exhort one another to stay focused on our own local churches. Local Church is the priority. You cannot neglect your local church and be busy with seminars, and conferences, and try to do something else. That’s what I like about EIC. Stay faithful and committed to your local church and then be involved in the lives of other ministries and churches and be a blessing.
Harshit Singh: What about my dream to be the president of EIC?
Nathan Eda: We’re gonna kill it! We’re going to kill that desire all the time.
Harshit Singh: What about the grand council you’re hoping to make? It’s dead! Thank you brother, thank you very much.