Who are we? Sometimes we need to be reminded. Keeping our vision and values in front of us is a good way to do that. The following is the first part of a blog series about our Friends Network Vision and Values.
“In Friends Network, our goal it is to start Yeshu Bhakta movements inside Hindu culture and Hindu communities. These movements should grow by themselves without outside help. To complete this goal, we will share about this Hindu work to others, we will train people for this Hindu work, and we will establish Hindu ministries in India and beyond India.”
Our Friends Network Purpose statement says “Our goal is to start Yeshu Bhakta movements inside Hindu Culture and Hindu communities.” I feel we can boil this down to two main points. The first is movements.
We want to see movements of people coming to faith in Jesus! Why movements? Because there are over 1 Billion Hindus in the world! If we want to reach any number of them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are going to have to see movements happening!
The second aspect of our goal is Yeshu Bhaktas who are inside of Hindu Culture and communities. We want to see movements, but they must be movements of Hindus who remain in their own culture and are lights for Jesus in their communities and families. We do not just accept the concept of Hindu Followers of Christ (Hindu Yeshu Bhaktas) as a ‘strategy’ for reaching them, as if it were one option among many. No! To allow Hindus to remain in their Hindu communities as fully committed followers of Christ is to preserve the integrity of the Gospel! If we add other requirements for those coming to Christ such as community change or certain cultural changes we are corrupting the Gospel. And by doing so we would be changing the Gospel from Good News to Bad News for the Hindu.
Therefore, we encourage Hindus to remain in the communities and to follow Christ in the midst of them. This is who we are in Friends Network and this is what we believe. There are many things we are still learning in Friends Network. And we don’t all always agree on exactly how to work. We may not agree on what signs and symbols must be used, what contextual terminology should be used or what festivals or practices can be used by Hindu followers of Christ, but we do believe strongly that Hindus should be allowed and encouraged to remain a part of their families and communities as followers of Christ.
In a recent leadership gathering we asked ourselves the question ‘What would change if we close Friends Network tomorrow? Would it matter?’ The answer is yes! We realized that we are the only people teaching people in YWAM how to minister to Hindus contextually. If we don’t do it no one else will. No one else will work to establish Hindu Yeshu Bhakta Satsangs, or create contextual resources in local languages to disciple Hindus. We are the only ones who will do it. We have to do it! So let’s keep doing it Friends Network!