India is a country where Christians have experienced growing persecution over the past two decades, at the hands of a radical Hindu nationalist movement. The country has a secular constitution which, in theory, grants freedom of worship and witness – but this is not always upheld in practice.
Hindu extremists have been open and violent in opposing the church, particularly in rural areas and where new gospel initiatives are taking place. There have been cases of pastors being murdered, and many more have been beaten up and seen property damaged or destroyed. Pastors are also frequently accused of ‘forcibly’ converting people to Christianity – a tactic intended to intimidate and to hinder gospel work.
Our partner organisation in India runs several one-day conferences throughout the year, for pastors living in sensitive areas where persecution has been rife. These conferences typically draw together 200 to 300 hundred pastors for a day of teaching, fellowship and prayer. The aims of the conference are to encourage, inform, unite and empower the pastors; to help them understand their rights under Indian law and, above all, to give them solid biblical teaching on persecution. Release staff have contributed to the latter and have witnessed first-hand how encouraging these events are to pastors serving the Lord in difficult, and often isolated, situations.
What Your Support Achieves
Hundreds of Indian pastors are receiving invaluable support and training through regular conferences. They also receive help with travel costs and are provided with a midday meal. One pastor who attended an event commented afterwards: ‘I was very encouraged by the teaching from 1 Peter. Whatever happens, we will continue with what we were called to do.’
If you would like to support this project, or others like it, please visit releaseinternational.org/give and select ‘Christians suffering oppression for the sake of the gospel’ from the drop-down menu.