The Church of North India as a United and Uniting together is committed to announce the Good News of the reign of God. We have taken upon ourselves the mission of proclamation of the Gospel of Christ and to restore the integrity of God’s creation. Spread across whole of India barring four southern states, this post denominational indigenous Church, is governed by democratic processes at the Pastorate level, Diocesan level and Synod level. Through its twenty seven dioceses it reaches out to the 80% of the territory in India. The CNI over a long drawn process involving the whole Church – the Bishops, presbyters, deacons the laity, women and youth, during the 14th ordinary meeting of its Synod decided to work for Evangelism and Spiritual revival, Congregational renewal, Restructuring the structure, Education for liberation and social inclusion, Building communities of Healing and reconciliation and Protection of life and livelihood for the fullness of life as its Mission Priorities. We are called not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds as Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2. Our mission is being taken up and fulfilled through our Synod level, Diocese level and Pastorate level initiatives. Both clergy and lay leadership contribute to fulfill the give mission. And hence to do the mission better there is a big need to develop the capacity of all those who are directly or indirectly involved in doing of the Lord’s mission.
Capacity is “the ability of people, organizations and communities as a whole to manage their affairs successfully”, leading to fullness of life for all creation. Capacity Development (CD) is the “process whereby people, organizations and communities as a whole unleash, strengthen, create, adapt and maintain capacity over time”. Capacity Development is sharing of knowledge and experiences among communities to mutually challenge, encourage and equip member churches towards prophetic engagement in God’s Mission.
We need to transform our members, both lay and clergy to become more effective in doing the mission. This role of the Church of North India can be fulfilled only through systematic equipping of the our people. Inaction would cause our extinction and unfit for the current needs with consequences to our effectiveness, credibility, and reputation.
- Mission Evangelism:
The Executive Committee of the Church of North India, by duly taking a resolution has conscientiously identified the first need of the Church which is to focus on doing evangelism, as that is the mission given to the Church when Christ Jesus told his disciples “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey every thing I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” – Matthew 28: 18 – 20. For this, the CNI Synod has taken decisions to organize Diocese level Gospel Conventions, CNI level Gospel conventions, appointment of Evangelism Directors. We further need preparing a cadre of fully trained, motivated and well equipped Evangelists to work in all Dioceses and fulfill the mission of the Lord. In some Dioceses we do have the evangelist in our congregations but in many dioceses we do not have them. In order to fulfill Mission Evangelism, one of the ways is to appoint/ deploy Evangelists as well as to equip them with orientation training to be effective instruments for doing evangelism. The CNI needs to keep Evangelism Directors and Evangelists fully equipped through regular training.
- Theological Education:
Theological education equips pastors to effectively involve themselves in service life of the church and critically respond to the challenges that social-political-religious-cultural-economic order affect people. It provides a platform to engage in dialogue with the society in general, other academic spheres and the rest of the community for effective and transformational learning. Theological education empowers the church by providing conceptual tools and practical skills for ministry. Theological education can thus never occur in a vacuum, it has to creatively interact with church and society. Good theological education is therefore a process. It is an ongoing process which should be continually built up, strengthened and invested in. Theological education is missionary, pastoral and prophetic in the sense that it helps the church through action rooted in reflection and vice versa. Consequently, there is a corresponding need to consciously indentify, train and build a strong base of well qualified and experienced teaching faculty in our theological colleges. Theological education educates not only clergy but also becomes a resource for other members in the church because it is not only concerned with the preparation of ministers but also with ongoing education of other members of the church. It thereby equips the whole people of God for witness and service.
- Professionally Trained Leadership for Diaconal Ministry:
The church has special programme for “Diaconal Ministry” which is challenged today because of lack of professionally trained staff. If we really want to be the “change agent” in this world, we need to orient and reorient our staff who are engaged in Diaconal Ministry. A cursory look at leadership in our Dioceses in their Diocesan Boards of Social Services reveals that we are running this diaconal ministry with people at the helm of affairs, many of whom are not professionally trained. The Church of North India needs at least one Post Graduate in each Diocese in the field of Social Service/ Rural Development/ Community Development/ Rural Management etc. to lead our development initiatives. Though the challenge is big yet we need to work for the next six years and ensure such professionally trained human resource to lead in our dioceses in the diaconal ministry, with the leadership in the Dioceses under the Diocesan Boards of Social Service.
- Clergy’s on the job Training:
Theological degree is a universally acceptable prerequisite to those who commit their life for the ordained ministry in the Church structure. The ordinands across the globe are generally assigned to pursue a residential full time course in theology from a Seminary or College which is affiliated to an accredit University. This provides opportunity to the prospective ministers for critical learning in various fields including biblical studies, theological understanding, history of Christianity, trends in mission emphasis, resources in Christian ministry etc. Though essential and valuable, the systematic theological education is predominantly academic in its orientation and nature. Thus, the theological graduates usually exhibit an inclination for scholarly pursuit but may not necessarily be prepared for the ministry at the local congregational level. The ordained ministers themselves report of the constant struggle to correlate the class room acquired knowledge with the realities at practical front of the ministry. In other words, it has been noted that there is a need for the ministerial formation of those Clergy who are theologically equipped.