“Where the persecution is strongest, the work will be the most. We have seen it before.”– Sanjay, a North Indian movement leader
Disciples of Jesus in India face persecution regularly. Recently, movement leaders sent BEYOND teammates photos of a bruised young man. He’d been beaten by radical Hindus and the police. In another area, police arrested two disciples for studying the Bible and imprisoned them for five days.
The leaders estimate that every day about 50% of the movement faces persecution in some form: verbal abuse, intimidation, being barred from village wells, abuse from unbelieving relatives, house church raids, even martyrdom.
Sadly, it is not uncommon for “traditional institutionally focused” believers to betray house churches to radical Hindu groups, but we shouldn’t be surprised. According to Jesus, disciples aren’t greater than their master. If Jesus suffered a Judas, so could we. (John 15:20)
By the same token, if Jesus taught His followers about persecution early in their walk, so should we. Thus, leaders share biblical examples of persecution with each family who wants to follow Jesus. Then they ask, How will you apply this story when persecution comes?
Leaders also pass on wisdom learned from their own arrests. Call your mentor. Tell the police that no one forced you to follow Jesus, and no one is paying you.
Finally, leaders teach new followers how to stand firm when “traditional” Christians attempt to hinder them. Jesus’ disciples shared the Good News without being ordained. They baptized others and met in their own homes. So can you.
The movement churches are not shrinking back. They’re loving their enemies and praying for their persecutors while boldly obeying Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of the lost. It’s a modern-day echo of Acts chapter four.
And just as God grew His church in the book of Acts, He is growing it today. Last year, there were 60,000 house churches in the movement. This year, there are 120,000!
You can help launch more obedient and fruitful disciples among the unreached.