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  • Writer's pictureBruce Black

Upside-Down Strategy

Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:21

As we think of power and leadership in our world, they are often attained through partnering with powerful people, and assessing the value of relationships based on “what they can do for me.” On the contrary, when we think of the power and leadership of Jesus, he is not a master strategist by worldly standards. He spends the majority of his time with the sick, with women, with foreigners, with lepers, and occasionally with a community leader or two. A snapshot of Jesus’ final days makes it appear that he was a leadership failure! At his crucifixion, none of his following spoke up on his behalf. Only the apostle John, Jesus’ mother, and her female friends are standing by as Jesus hangs on the cross.

Yet, fifty days later, these “absentees” began to interact with thousands of would-be enemies telling them about Jesus’ love, power, and saving grace. Within a generation, these “misfits” defied conventional wisdom and changed lives, families, and communities with the message of Jesus that eventually impacted the entire planet. His power is evident!

Jesus’ “strategy” is being used on the eastern coast of India. Led by the humble Christian leaders Vijay and Sonia Madiki, Christians are sharing and showing Jesus to women, to lepers, to the poor, to abandoned children and to broken families. In small rural communities, rural preachers are leading churches by sharing the message of Jesus with their impoverished neighbors. Women are being taught a trade while also learning about Jesus. Five acres are leased to raise rice to be given to over 200 families a month, and free clean water is made available to five villages. Free legal services are provided to the untouchable caste of people. In fact, by personal choice, the Madiki’s live with the ”untouchables” in their village. The Madiki’s choices don’t make sense, unless you understand how God works.

I just returned from their home in Andra Pradesh, India where I spent time with the SWAN ministry. I heard women give testimony that their family was against them learning a trade, but that it was an answer to THEIR prayers. These women held up their newly sewn garments that they will sell for a profit. This SWAN ministry provides both training and spiritual hope for women in desperate poverty.

I met with rural preachers at three different sites, some of whom traveled over 5o miles each way. They came together with dozens of other rural preachers to be taught and mentored by Vijay. Five of these groups meet each month. In these three different meetings I met over 110 men who live in poverty themselves, yet daily share the riches of Jesus with the poor people with whom they live and minister.

Vijay with rural preachers

I visited the church in Samalkot, a “village” of 77,000. (India, now the most populous country in the world has 1.4 billion people.) This church provides for the physical and spiritual needs of 40 homeless young boys who attend church with them every Sunday.

This ministry which focuses on people living in poverty who are sick, who are women, who are homeless children, and who are of the lowest caste, impacts thousands of people with Jesus’ message each day. In terms of attaining power, this type of leadership doesn’t make sense. But of course, in God’s economy it does.

The needs are great in this part of India. If you feel God leading you to support these Christians, please act now and give. Every dollar you give will go directly to support this “other worldly” ministry.



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