WHY DOESN’T INDIA HAVE MORE CHRISTIANS?
How many people in India are currently being reached with the gospel? India is the second most populated country in the world with a population of 1.387 billion people. The exact percentage of how many Christians there are in India is in debate, however the 2% figure is used by the Pew Research and the government while popular, doesn’t take into account pockets like the south with estimates that 25% or higher are Christians. In the Northeast states, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, the figures are 85-99% Christian.
Christianity is not new to India. In fact, it was the Apostle Thomas who came to Kerala, southern India in A.D. 52 and shared the gospel throughout the region with many coming to Christ. When Thomas led the king of Mylapore’s daughter to Christ, however, the king had Thomas killed, according to tradition.
Through the centuries Christianity has seen advances and formations as millions have shared their faith and thousands of nationals and missionaries through the centuries have given their lives for the cause of Christ.
Fast forward to 2022 and our concern for this enormous Harvest Field. How many people are classified as “unreached” with the gospel? With a vast population to cover, we’re focusing on the people groups in India, which number 2,373, and of these groups, 2,135 (90.0%) are unreached with the gospel. Next we zoom in on the following seven people groups for a special reason. These are some of the people groups our Grace Bible College students and alumni are reaching out to right now with the gospel. Here we go:
The Kond people group is 473,000 souls, they are Hindus, and 7,430, or, 1.7% are reached with the gospel. Needed: 9 workers
The Korku people group is 1.281 million, they are Hindus, and 3,844, or, 0.30% are reached with the gospel. Needed: 27 workers
The Pardhi people group is 423,000, they are Hindus, and 253, or, 0.06% are reached with the gospel. Needed: 8 workers
The Mouchi people group is 2.347 million, Hindus majority, and 4,767, or 0.20% are reached with the gospel. Needed: 48 workers
The Koli people group is 15.854 million, Hindus majority, 60,347, or 0.38% are reached with the gospel. Needed: 319 workers
The Bhil people group is 19.389 million, they are Hindus, and 147,925, or, 0.76% are reached with the gospel. Needed: 388 workers
The Banjara people group is 7.881 million, Hindu majority, and 35,849, or 0.45% are reached with the gospel. Needed: 161 workers
All figures are from the https://joshuaproject.net/countries/IN website. A very special thanks to many who work hard to bring us these vital numbers!
The “workers” figure you see in the illustration means each worker needs to reach 50,000 people which is significant for one person. The time frame Joshua Project gives isn’t clear (in a year, over a lifetime?) so this number is a crude estimate at best, but it is something to use for a point of reference.
With only one people group, the Kond people group having over 1% reached, the need in India is staggering. Persecution which has been a significant element in this story has been part of India’s Christians’ story, continues to this day. For centuries Christians in this region have suffered persecution at the hands of invaders, kings, other religions and even other Christians. This is a dark side of ministry which can either overshadow the purposes for which God has called us or can bring us into a closer focus on trusting in the one thing we know is certain: God is God and he doesn’t need to explain himself to us. He is also sovereign and with a love none of us can understand, wants ALL to hear and have the opportunity to come to a saving knowledge and live a life of relationship with Him.
Indigenous Ministries, in partnership with Grace Bible College in India is training young men and women with a biblical college education for a lifetime of ministry. We’re praying for others who are serious about seeing nationals trained for ministry to join us in this amazing ministry frontier with front row seats to what God the Holy Spirit is doing: Drawing Indian nationals to himself for his purposes! Praise God!
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. II Peter 3:9