This week, please pray with us for Shaiju Thomas from India.
The second most populous country in the world, India is home to 1.38 billion people. According to a 2011 census, India’s population is around 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2% Christian, 2% Sikh, and 1% Buddhist. India is also a youthful nation, with over 50% of its people under 25 years of age. As of 2020, the average age in India is 29. By comparison, the US average is 38 and the global average is 30. Challenges facing India’s youth include educational inequities, poverty, malnutrition, child labor, child marriage, and child trafficking. Pray for our Indian brothers and sisters in Christ as they respond to these challenges, and as they reach and raise up the next generation of leaders for the Church and for their society.
Shaiju is Secretary for Value Added Services with Asia Theological Association (ATA). Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Educational Studies from Talbot School of Theology at Biola University (California, USA). Through his research, Shaiju seeks to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of Christian institutions by identifying and addressing structural and contextual factors.
Shaiju has also served as Dean of the Global School of Open Learning for the Centre for Global Leadership Development, as well as Associate Pastor at Philadelphia Assemblies of God Church in Bangalore, India. Shaiju is married to Suganthi, who serves in human development and anti-human trafficking ministries. Shaiju and Suganthi have a seven-year-old daughter, Aradhana.
Shaiju shares the following message:
Greetings to you!
Through my work with Asia Theological Association (ATA) and my interactions with spiritual leaders and organizational heads in my region, I have been confronted with the complexity of vision transference in organizations and of developing transformational leaders in theological education.
I am often told that the next generation of leaders cannot catch or do not embody the institutional vision. This led me to think about the need for institutional sustainability and advancement of transformational goals. My intuition, informed by my observations, is that much of the challenge is due to elements in the institutional or organizational environment: systems and processes, governance and leadership styles, psychological and cognitive frameworks, constitution, etc.
My research will identify critical elements of the context and structure of an institution that would require attention in order to facilitate efficient transference of its vision and effective pursuit of its transformational goals. All this will be in the context of the Church in India, which is struggling to find visionary second-tier leaders who can take up senior leadership within five years.
Based on the average age of its population, India is one of the youngest nations on the planet. This is both an advantage and disadvantage. The advantage is that there is newness in everything, including methodology. The disadvantage is that the next generation of leaders wants to cast aside everything that is from the current generation without being adequately prepared for building the vision.
Most often when leadership transition happens within the context of church and parachurch ministries, even when done within the family, the resulting changes made by the next generation of leaders can seem like a hostile takeover. I believe this is a major concern for prayer.
Pray for My Family
As a family, we would appreciate your prayers for a breakthrough for my wife in her career. She has been seeking an opening in her area of passion since 2019. Thank God for His sustaining grace, which preserves her from slipping into severe challenges despite depressive conditions.
Please also pray for a frozen shoulder issue that I have been struggling with for about a year now.
Pray for Christian Leaders in India
Please pray for the churches and Christian organizations in India as they prepare for leadership transitions.
Pray for current institutional leaders to plan for smooth leadership transitions and to raise up the next generation of transformational leaders who can engage their contexts prophetically.
Pray for India’s Political, Economic, and Religious Situation
Politically, the narrative of India as being for Hindus is causing largescale unrest and unease among the general population. Youngsters are leaving the country at an alarming rate, which will drain India’s present advantages as a youthful nation.
Economically, India is going through high inflation, job loss, unemployment, and brain drain.
Religiously, there is widespread persecution, including physical harassment, discriminatory policies, and a fear-inducing and confrontational environment for Christians and other religious minorities. This is causing many young Christians to migrate elsewhere, costing the Church in India both momentum and witnessing opportunities.
Pray for our nation’s political and administrative leaders that they would consider the plight of the poor and elderly, facilitate a just government, provide a growth environment for all forms of businesses, facilitate the creation of a society free from fear, and reduce fear-induced trauma through corruption-free and objective governance.
I thank you for this opportunity to share a few personal and national prayer concerns.