“Unity in Diversity” is a term commonly used to describe India. Amidst a potpourri of faiths and beliefs, Christianity is recorded at approximately two percent, with New Apostolic Christians making up a very small proportion of the Christians in India. Christians in general and New Apostolic Christians in particular are challenged with the constant demand to compromise and adjust to the many beliefs that surround them. However, this is also an opportunity to witness the faith.
The New Apostolic Church in India began around the year 1970. Our membership today consists of people from a myriad of backgrounds. In the early 70s, the pioneers succeeded in gathering a huge number of followers. Growth was rapid with statistics recording a million members under the care of 44 Apostles. However, there were many complex situations spiralling out of control. A realistic look at the statistics had to be taken so that a fresh start could be made.
A rapidly developing IT industry and a youth force of about 65% holds promise for a structured growth of the Church in India. Villages are becoming towns with greater connectivity and infrastructure is developing fast. The focus is largely on the youth force and the children who will soon join them. Hence at present programs to develop an understanding of the tenets of our faith, especially among the sisters who are largely influential on their children, are now being put in place.
Among the ministers, there is a need to balance the experience of the old with the zeal of the youth. It is no longer practical to run the Church with “the old and the wise” unless one can “shift gears” and work with future leaders who would be of a much younger age group comprising a balanced proportion of both genders.
The future for development looks very promising, although much care has to be taken that the right persons are at the right place in all leadership positions in this boiling pot of caste, creed and culture.