Population: 1.2 billion (2011)
Capital: New Delhi
Official language: Hindi, English
Major religion: Hinduism
IFES movement: Union of Evangelical Students of India (UESI)
India is a pluralistic nation where those of other faiths question the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Religious fundamentalists are strong in northern India, whereas Christianity has traditionally had a greater presence in the southern states. UESI was founded in one of these states, three groups uniting together in 1954.
- 30,666 tertiary institutions; UESI groups in 2485
- 101 full-time staff couples, 84 full-time single staff and 3 part-time staff
- 7157 graduates members in 554 graduate groups
- largest group in Nagaland state (350 members)
- smallest group in Jammu Kashmir state (2 members)
UESI is rejoicing in seeing students from other faiths showing keen interest in knowing Christ. However this has been accompanied by growing opposition to the gospel from fundamentalist student organisations. As a result many bible study groups have had to move off-campus. With very limited support from churches, many graduates have opened their homes to receive students and hold bible studies. All across the country Micro Prayer Cells have been formed (one graduate with two students). State leaders say that wherever there are MPCs, the ministry is well-established. The graduate not only prays with the students but mentors them in all aspects of student work.
UESI is exploring ways to reach some of the regions with little or no Christian influence. One example is Maharashtra, where the city of Mumbai is located, which has a tiny Christian population but in recent times has had a major influence on politics, education, industry and culture.
View from the inside
Arul Manohar was appointed General Secretary of UESI in 2011. He says, ‘I am in student ministry because God has given me a passion to reach students with the gospel. Every year seeing new faces in our UESI groups keeps me excited!’
Malachi 2:6 has challenged Arul throughout his ministry: ‘True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin’.
- for students to impact campuses through their involvement in university activities;
- for effective strategies to pioneer ministry in unreached regions;
- for greater partnership with other Christian organisations and with churches.