Last year,I was in India doing some strategy planning with an international ministry. An analyst by profession, I had also taken some extra training with Dr. Aubrey Malphurs at Dallas Theological Seminary in church and ministry strategic planning so that I could help Christian ministries with their analyses and planning. That’s what I was doing when I met Indian itinerant evangelist and pastor Johnson Devakumar.
As we talked, Johnson asked me what ministries I was involved with in my church in the United States, and I told him about our men’s ministry. I idly asked, “What do you do here for men in your churches?”
Johnson looked blank and then said, “Our church in Chenai does not have a men’s ministry, and I don’t know of any men’s ministry in any church in India.”
I was shocked. All I could think to ask was, “Well, how many men are in your churches?” He replied, “I don’t know, but not many.”
I offered that maybe a few of us could return to India and talk to whomever may be interested about reaching and building men (even though I had not done anything formal or organized like that before).
Six weeks later, Johnson called and said that he had contacted the Boro Baptist denomination about my offer. They were immediately interested and asked us to come. We had our very first what became “Men of Valor” men’s conference in 2005! It was held in a pastor’s training school in Assam (northeast India), and Joe Duthie from Ambassadors for Christ International and I spoke to 40 pastors, Bible school students, and Christian leaders in the Boro Baptist denomination. From their reactions, it was clear that this is a very much-needed ministry.
Even via translation, over and over men came to me and said “We have never heard anything like this before.”