Back in 1984-86, when I served as a missionary volunteer on board Operation Mobilization’s ministry ship, MV Doulos, there were several things that deeply impacted my life. One of them was the weekly Thursday nights of prayer, in which we would pray for the needs of countries and ministries around the world. In addition to the blessing of praying so intensely and regularly, I was very impressed by the fact that, on so many occasions, the prayer requests were not just centered on the ministry of Operation Mobilization, but rather, as well, on those of many other sister organizations and ministry efforts.
During my time on the ship, one story was relayed to us that brought home in a very poignant way this significant principle of unselfish cooperation and solidarity in the Body of Christ. Back in the late 60’s, the leaders of both Operation Mobilization (OM) and Youth With A Mission (YWAM) were praying and seeking God’s provision for their first ship to launch in ministry around the world. YWAM had received significant donations, had their eyes on a particular ship, and were involved in initial negotiations to purchase it. When the deal fell through, though, the leaders of YWAM felt led by the Lord to transfer the money they had received to OM, enabling them to buy the MV Logos, the ship that would end up becoming the pioneer vessel of world missions ship ministry. Now, years later, as many of you are aware, both OM and YWAM have several different ministry ships.
As a missionary of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, some might question why I am writing to plug the ministry of another mission organization. However, it is in the spirit of what I learned years ago during my time with OM that I want to share about the strategic ministry of a wonderful organization with which I had the opportunity to partner on my recent trip to India: Reaching Indians Ministries International (RIMI), or Mission India (as it is known within India).
According to RIMI’s web-site:
RIMI is an international, interdenominational, evangelical Christian missions agency, established in 1993, with the compelling vision of glorifying Christ by training national (indigenous) leaders who plant reproducing churches in India and beyond. This is implemented by the PARTNERSHIP of God's people everywhere.
RIMI's India based ministry is called Mission India which is located in Nagpur, Central India. Today we have over 980 church planters with over 4,000 house churches, a leading theological seminary in Nagpur with 22 satellite training centers and many compassion projects including 20 Mercy Homes, which serve over 500 children. This year about 850 students will be trained to become tomorrow's influential leaders for Christ's Kingdom.
Mercy Home Kids
During my time in India, I was able to observe first-hand how RIMI/Mission India is doing everything they say here and more. Many times, it is difficult to know, when dealing with national indigenous ministries, whether the money donated is really being used wisely or not. I am happy to say, though, I was extremely impressed by the servant heart, responsible stewardship, and personal integrity I saw exhibited by the various members of the Mission India leadership team with whom we were privileged to work during our time there. I was able to see first-hand the magnificent seminary and ministry center in Nagpur, as well as the satellite training centers in Warangal and Goa. I was able to fellowship, work, and pray together with a good many of the Mission India national leaders on a close, personal level.
Mission India Leadership Team, Nagpur
The scope of the vision of RIMI Founder and President Saji Lukos, and the rest of the Mission India leadership team, is enormous. They are very close to fulfilling their goal of having a Ministry Training Center in each of India’s 28 states. They are providing valuable training for national pastors and church planters, and preparing them to reach out in obedience and faith to the unreached millions scattered throughout India. They are doing a fantastic job of ministering the love of Christ to the needy by way of their Mercy Homes and many other compassion projects.
I absolutely love RIMI/Mission India’s Core Values Statement, which I found, by experience, to be more than just mere words, and which reads as follows:
- Christ before Career: We have absolute trust and faith in the Word of God, and we are committed to honor Christ by obeying everything that He commands us to do, and living humbly and sacrificially.
- Character before Ministry: We are committed to develop Christ-like leaders through various innovative programs so that the people will see Christ and want to follow him personally.
- Unity before Growth: We are committed to being truly evangelical, inter-denominational and multi-cultural.
- People before Program: We are committed to build people on the basis of their specific call and gifts in order to develop various ministries to meet the needs of people in the community. Disciple making is the number one priority of RIMI churches (Faith Gospel Church).
- Ownership before Organization: We are committed to establish autonomous and self-supporting churches and church-based projects. This is ownership, and avoids long-term dependency.
- Unreached before Reached: We are committed to reach the unreached strategically, region by region with the help of local trained leadership.
- Integrity before Popularity: We are committed to practice absolute integrity and accountability.
Mission India, Warangal