By Sharon Mager
ELLICOTT CITY, Md.—Earlier this year, Bethany Church sent a six-person mission team to Andhra Pradesh, India to minister in remote villages, partnering with an Indian church, Great Commission Baptist Church (GCBC). The team, led by church member Raja Konda, travelled throughout the villages and shared the Gospel, through interpreters, to small congregations gathered in thatched huts with the intention of providing help and encouragement to the local pastors.
At the end of church services people lined up for prayer. At times there were six lines of people, each with a prayer request for a miracle in their lives. Throughout the trip, the team prayed over the sick and led people to Jesus. They ministered alongside the small churches baptizing recent converts in rivers nearby the churches. Though the team knew they would confront darkness they said they were blown away by the numbers of demon-possessed people who came forward for deliverance. (read more about the amazing experience here)
At the end of the trip the group was excited and exhausted. On their journey home, they were unexpectedly able to attend a Chris Tomlin concert in the city of Hyderabad. Kip Smith, senior pastor of Bethany Church, thought at that time, what if we could bring our worship team into the remote villages and present a multi-media worship experience like Tomlin? Smith shared that vision with the mission team and preparations began.
Sherrie McKay, Bethany minister of music, has never been out of the country. She is now preparing to travel into those villages to share Christ through what promises to be a unique, powerful, multimedia production delivering the truth of our one true God.
“I know a lot of Hindu gods have a story. What I wanted to do is tell our God’s story,” she explained.
That story will include music, dance and visual arts. As a team sings and dances, artists will paint large panels depicting creation, the fall of man, Jesus’ birth and death and his resurrection. When the story is complete, the panels will be turned around to show art work previously painted emphasizing Jesus’ return.
“We want to leave the audience asking, ‘are you ready for Christ’s return?’” McKay said.
In the days of preparation for the worship event, McKay intends to ask village children to join them, learn the music, and be part of the presentation.
It is a huge step of faith for McKay. “I do feel this is beyond me, but I feel like I’m on a God-sized adventure. I am trusting Him and looking forward to seeing what He is going to do,” she said.
In addition to the program, the twenty-five member team will be divided into two separate groups and each will visit seven small church plants of Great Commission Baptist Church. Team members will give personal testimonies and messages, lead in prayer teams, worship, and fellowship with the church members.
Smith explained that Great Commission Church is small with about 75 members. The plants are in thatched roof huts and average about 25 members. The pastors are not paid. The only financial support for the pastors comes through designated gifts that are connected to GCBC.
International missions enthusiasm has swept through the church as a result of dynamic testimonies shared after last year’s trip, prompting the huge mission team, quadrupling the numbers from the last trip.
Kip Smith said he is very pleased to hear of positive fruit born from the previous mission trip and he is excited to see how God will move in February 2015.
Church members are now supporting Indian pastors and raising funds to support the mission team. It is a huge task.
The church is seeking prayer and financial support. For more information visit the website and watch the video from the last mission trip.