Michael Sove is not a stranger to Joel Comiskey Group. You’ve read his comments on these blogs. I’ve also asked him to be a guest blogger and have often commented on what he’s doing as the cell champion at Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Maryland. Michael recently conducted cell seminars in India. I asked him to share what happened:
Michael, share with us what God did while in India?
I just spent the most amazing two weeks ministering alongside some Indian pastors. I was able to speak 22 times in two weeks including 4 cell seminars where I taught basic cell principles. I had opportunities to share in evangelistic gatherings as well, where up to 100 people responded to the offer of salvation. We were in the State of Andhra Pradesh and were able to experience both the rural tribal regions in the mountain villages as well as the capital city of Hyderabad with 7 million people.
What was the purpose of your trip?
The purpose of this trip was to see what God was doing and to learn first hand how I could partner with these pastors. They asked me to come and teach basic cell principles as well as minister through the Word and prayer. We ministered from early morning to late evening each day and were overwhelmed by the needs we saw. There are so many sick people in need of physical and spiritual healing.
What is God doing over there?
God is working through these ministries even though the circumstances are difficult. In India less than 3% are Christian. But I saw how many are coming to Christ over the years through these ministries. The one pastor has been at it for 25 years and started with one person and now has 500-600 people connected to his church. By the way, the people walk 2 miles to attend worship each Sunday. This pastor also has a believer in over 40 villages which means great opportunity for influence. They have cities they have targeted for planting churches but lack the pastors and the means to support those pastors.
How is God using cell church?
One of the pastors found information on the web about cell ministry and has been influencing other pastors and his satellite churches in that direction. They are asking for training and encouragement to become more effective at cell ministry. The opportunities to partner with them are unlimited. I gave them vision for the two-winged church and taught at a very basic level. The one pastor had someone prophecy over him three months ago and told him foreigners would come and help him to expand his ministry. Then we showed up speaking of the power of the two-winged church! They are very open to growing and learning cell church principles. The main challenge I see is training and coaching across this wide region. In the last few months God has given me contact with four other Indian pastors who are using cells in their ministry strategy. I hope to meet these pastors in the future. It is very obvious to me God is really moving in India and the people are very hungry for effective ministry.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The Indian believers are so passionate in their worship. They understand the power of the Holy Spirit. They are a great example of total dependence on God and many of these pastors work without a salary, depending on God to meet their daily needs.
While I was in the rural setting travelling among the villages around Giddalur, I was told over and over again that we were the first foreigners to come to them in their lifetime. In one tribal village we were mobbed by people who wanted us to lay hands on them and pray a blessing over them. The problem was they rushed us and all wanted to be the first and we had to be taken out of there because they were out of control. We went back the next night and gave an evangelistic message and about 40 people raised their hands expressing desire to be saved.
The people really understand hospitality and desired to serve us wherever we went. Even in the slums they demonstrated hospitality and servanthood. We learned much from these gracious servants of God.
How did JCG help in this process?
This whole adventure began as Pastor Suresh was doing a web search on cell church and was directed to the JCG website. While browsing the site he saw an article that I wrote about Joel coming to our church. He e-mailed me and said that it appeared I had the same heart and passion as he had and asked if I could mentor him in cell church principles. That was seven months ago and now standing on Indian soil with him we are both convinced that this was a divine encounter that God has orchestrated. We are excited about working together for the Glory of God, learning mutually from each other.
I also left all of Joel’s books, including his equipping track booklets with this pastor who has very little access to resources. I am sure those books will be used for the expansion of the kingdom and God’s Glory!
If you would like to see my photo journey, I posted 1347 photos at the following link. I hope you’ll check it out and see what God is doing in India! If you wonder what the purple hippo is about in the photos, here is the story behind it. My wife could not accompany me on this trip so she sent her “Happy Hippo” with me. All throughout the trip I had people pose with “Happy Hippo” who brought a smile to their face.
If you would like more information about my experience or would like to find out how you can help these Indian pastors, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to communicate with you.