The India Pre-conference of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism was held at the CNI Bhavan, New Delhi from 24 -26 January 2018 on the theme: ‘Transforming Discipleship: Mission of the Missions’. There were forty-eight delegates including fourteen women and ten youth from thirteen various ecclesial traditions, seven theologians from various schools of thought, thirteen social and developmental organizations, nine ecumenists and six mission workers, represented also from the ‘so-called’ socially, religiously and culturally excluded communities like, Tribals/Adivasis, Dalits, People With Disabilities, Sexually Diverse Communities, Women, and Youth. The Conference was jointly organized by the Church of North India Synod and NCCI Unity and Mission along with the WCC – Commission on Council for World Mission and Evangelism.
The Most Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh, President, National Council of Churches in India and the Moderator of the Church of North India inaugurated the Conference. In the inaugural address the Most Revered Moderator ‘invited’ the Churches, Mission Movements and Diaconal Organizations to adopt ‘discipleship’ as a strategy to ‘do’ and ‘practice’ mission in India. Further the President observed that, Christian Mission in India has a 2000 years history. Christian Mission has been involving in inculcating the Gospel values of Justice, Peace and Love through its education, health and diaconal interventions in and among all the communities and the societies at large. These interventions have reached millions of people and brought a change in their lives and in the societies at large. These interventions are not basically to convert anyone to Christianity; rather these are engaged in the process of molding good human / citizens. But, today a hate campaign is waged against the Churches and its mission services including diaconal interventions, alleging that these missional interventions are after all for ‘conversion, ‘ even when facts reveal that the Christian population has been constituting 2.5 % of the Indian population for centuries.
It is clearly evident that in all missional and diaconal interventions Indian Christian missions have largely focused on the ‘transformation of lives’ by ‘DOING gospel’ along with ‘preaching’ of the good news. The gospel of Christ has directly confronted injustices in society such as caste discrimination, gender injustice and other social divides, and has identified with the socially, religiously, economically neglected, excluded and discriminated communities who are pushed to the edges of society. So, Indian Christian Mission is ‘FROM’ the Margins, ‘BY’ the Margins and ‘WITH’ the margins. This is the uniqueness of the Indian Christian mission. Further the President said that, the transforming discipleship strives to enhance human values based on the gospel values of justice, peace and love. Therefore, he invited the mission movements and churches to be together in mission, facilitating new disciples to transform the society as God intended, thereby realizing the reign of God: “ I call upon the mission leaders to go into the world, strengthening the process of ‘transforming disciples’ in all nations”.
Shri. Alwan Masih, the General Secretary of the Church of North India, moderated the inaugural sessions and several Church leaders spoke at the inaugural session.
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Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar,
NCCI – Unity and Mission