Room For You In India
By Brad Bailey & Rick Coffin
The India Partnership under the leadership of Brad Bailey of Westside Vineyard (Los Angeles) has just re-solidified the partnership agreement among 7 U.S. Vineyard churches. Last year, three Vineyard churches collaborated on a ministry trip combining lay people and staff members from New York, California, and Alabama to minister to the children of key leaders and pastors at the India National Conference. We can recommend collaboration as a great way to get started in any partnership.
Developing a collaborative team from different partnering churches can overcome the limitations of forming a well-rounded team from any individual partnership church. Even large Vineyards may not have enough members who have the combination of financial resources, ability to travel long distances, and time off work/schedule at an opportune time for their partner nation. By creating a collaborative team, even one or two members from any one church who have a heart for India can actually go to India. In addition, congregation members get to develop relationships with other members of their U.S. Vineyard family which changes how they understand being part of the Vineyard.
Uniting in the Unique Call of a Partnership
One of the challenges we have recently pressed through is clarifying the unique calling and commitment of a national partnership as distinct from a U.S. Vineyard church just being involved with an individual church or ministry in India. We recognize that there may be U.S. Vineyard churches who are already involved in India, including traveling to India to provide ministry or training, as well as financial support of particular pastors or churches. Those churches may not initially feel led toward the nature of a partnership toward something bigger.
While we value all such ministry, we believe we are called to cultivate a national movement which plants what is uniquely Vineyard in nature and ultimately becomes a national Vineyard movement led by a team of Indian leaders. We believe that this is best served by prioritizing working with India’s leaders in developing pastors in India who unite in vision, values, and relationship. We encourage “sister-church” relationships with individual Indian Vineyard churches over time, but find that this best flows out of a primary commitment to the Partnership and its commitment to the national movement within India.
News from the Front
As members of the India Partnership, Rick and Ellen Coffin have been able to provide a fairly unique contribution. For a number of years they were able to live in India assisting with the Indian Vineyard’s church planting efforts. Recently they have relocated back to the U.S., but are still spending extended time traveling to India, visiting each of the Vineyards to provide training and mentoring for pastors and leaders. If anyone is interested in participating in one of these ministry trips, please contact us so we can connect you with Rick Coffin.
Here’s a brief excerpt from one of their recent trips:
“This last week we were excited to visit the Karuna Learning Center and Pastor Mukesh in one of the poorer communities on the north side of Delhi. With some resources from some of the partnership members, Mukesh is starting a toddler’s daycare in the morning, tutoring classes for grade school students in the afternoon, and several music classes in the evening. After just one month, each program is starting to fill up. In this way they are working toward earning a significant portion of the living expenses for Mukesh and his wife, enabling the Karuna Vineyard to move toward become a self-supporting church.”
Whether through ministry-related businesses or secular businesses, the Vineyard pastors of India and future pastors can use self-sustaining business ideas and training to support their huge church-planting goals.
The BBC estimates that by 2022 the population of India will surpass that of China. One in five people in the world will be of Indian descent! By 2025, the India Vineyards’ goal is to see 50 healthy, new, city-centered hub churches which can then plant more rural churches in their region. Such a vital vision calls for more Vineyard churches to join in meeting this moment in India. It is an understatement to declare there is more than enough room for your local church in the India Partnership.