By Matthew Victor
November 02, 2009 | 03:12:56

HE was born into a Christian family and brought up on good values by his parents, both of whom were in government jobs and were zealo us in the Lord’s ministry. Songs, music and choir played a great role in his family where Alwin Thomas’ early days were spent in the CSI church. That’s where he got the unction to lead the worship. Though as a young boy, he was brought up in the fear of the Lord, he had no salvation experience in his youth. Armed with a post-graduate degree in business management, he came out of college and soon landed a plum post in a multinational company. Success led to a circle of friends who hit the party circuit with amazing regularity. “Money was everything to me then but soon God taught me on whom I should anchor my hopes,” Pastor Alwin Thomas told THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER in an exclusive interview. “I’d invested all my hard-earned money with a friend who turned out to be a cheat.” With all his savings gone, the young man, who’d been married with a 6-month-old baby, was on the verge of ending his life. A chance encounter with the Word of God at the ACA Church in Puraswalkkam Chennai, where he had gone just before deciding to commit suicide, changed his life. “God reminded me about a prophecy that I had received as a 13-year-old. A man of God had laid his hand on me and prophesied that the Lord would use me for His glory,” he added. Excerpts from the interview:

 

How did you get into ministry?

 

After my salvation experience, I wanted to receive baptism. So I went to the spiritual mentor of our family Bro. Sam Jebadurai. I asked him for a convenient date for receiving baptism. In a prophetic way, he asked me to take baptism in June which was six months away. I was totally confused but I still trusted the word of God and waited. After that my job kept me busy. However, there was no joy or happiness in the secular job. Deep down in my heart, I longed to spend more time with God and get into His ministry. It was at a power ministry camp held in Tirupathur in Tamil Nadu in June 1999 that the Lord spoke clearly about my future and the ministry that I was to be involved in. Words of wisdom came from a prophet who’d come down to the camp from Malaysia. Thereafter, the Lord confirmed my calling and set me aside for a period of training under the spiritual leadership of Bro. Jebadurai for fulltime ministry. Those days were challenging but the Lord strengthened me to obey His voice. Finally, on June 6, 1999, I was baptized at 7 am and by 12 noon was dedicated for fulltime ministry. Thus, my ministry journey started. I learned the Word and grew under Bro. Jebadurai’s leadership. Shortly thereafter, I became a worship leader and accompanied him to all his meetings. I was with him for seven years.

 

How did you start your independent ministry?

 

Bro. Sam Jebadurai always used to tell me that when the time comes, he would bless me and release me into God’s calling in my life. In 2006, exactly six months after Elim Revival Church was launched, we both felt the time had come for me to be released into God’s purpose. And thus, Ru-ah Revival Church was born. It was dedicated and blessed by Bro. Jebadurai on Feb 19, 2006.

 

How has the Lord blessed your ministry and the church in these three-and-half years?

 

As a church we have grown from zero to almost 1,000 believers attending five services (including an English service) on any Sunday. As for our ‘Freedom’ concert, we have been successfully staging it for three years in a row with an attendance of over 15,000 people who come from all over Tamil Nadu. We are reaching the whole of Europe and several nations across the Middle East through seven television channels. Till date, we have released 6 video albums and four audio albums through which we have reached scores of people. There have been testimonies of healing, deliverance and salvation from people who came to the Lord after watching the praise and worship video albums.

 

What was the inspiration behind the ‘Freedom’ concert?

 

On a visit to Israel in September, 2006, I was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and God gave me a vision to conduct praise and worship concerts to usher in a revival among the youth. God told me the revival of the country had been pending for a long time and the blood of Apostle Thomas had not been settled for a long time and the time had come for the fulfillment of the same. The Lord revealed to me that there will be a mighty harvest of souls for a period of seven years beginning 2007.

 

Why is worship important?

 

Worship is important because that’s the reason why God created man (Isaiah 43:21).

Even before the world was created, worship was going on. And in Revelation we read that eternity is going to be filled with worship. So, there’s no beginning or end for worship. So it’s better that we practice worship while on earth for we are going to be doing the same in heaven for eternity.

 

What happens inside a man when he worships?

 

Firstly, worship brings the presence of God.  Psalm 22:3 says God resides in the praise of His people. Just as man needs oxygen to survive on earth, God needs worship to exist in any atmosphere. When two or three are gathered in His name, the Lord promises to be in our midst. So when man worships God, he creates an atmosphere for God to move down with all His glory into the earthen vessels that we are. The reason the Lord blew His Ru-ah breath into man in Gen 2:7 was that He expects His creation will be filled with worship to worship Him. So when we worship we get close to the Lord, feel His presence and ultimately fulfill the purpose God has created us for.

 

Typically, what should be the qualities of a worship leader?

 

To be a worship leader par excellence, first and foremost, he has to lead a consecrated life because the Bible says ‘without holiness no man can see God’ leave alone worship. He should be a man of humble heart. He must have humility before God and also before man. His soul should be completely sold to the Lord. His ultimate aim and goal should be to magnify the Lord - in other words. ‘He must increase and I must decrease.’ A good worship leader will lead the people from the outer court to the worship feast inside the tabernacles of the Lord.

 

Some of the things that should not be in a worship leader…

 

A worship leader cannot worship God with bitterness or hatred towards anyone. Secondly, pride should not get into him. Pride was the simple reason why Lucifer (Satan) lost his position in heaven and was thrown out. Finally, one should not worship in flesh as the flesh has no business in worship because the Bible says the Lord expects us to worship Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:24).

 

How long do you worship in your own life?

 

Worship must be a part of your lifestyle, it’s not a particular time. Fish has to be in water to survive. A worship leader has to keep worshiping the Lord all through the day. Unless he sees God in worship, he cannot lead others. So I listen to worship songs when I am traveling, praying, going to sleep and when I wake up. Songs will be playing in the background, wherever I exist. You have to simply permeate yourself with worship.  

 

Tell us about some healings that have happened in your worship.

 

Worship brings deliverance, healing and prophetic words. When David played the harp, and worshiped God, the evil spirit in Saul fled. So, whenever I worship in the Spirit, I have seen several people getting delivered from witchcraft and evil strongholds. Drunkards and people with addictions have tearfully submitted their lives to the Lord in worship. A sister who was barren for eight years received the touch of God in worship. Her doctor, a non-Christian, was surprised to find that she was conceived. He told the woman, ‘Your Lord Jesus has created a new womb within you.’

 

When Elisha had to find water for the Israelites, he called for a harp player and under the unction of the Holy Spirit, he prophesied in 2 Kings 2 about how the wilderness would be filled with water. Many people have received prophetic utterances and directions to success and happiness from the Word of God through worship.

 

Worshiping God or preaching, which is more important?

 

Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons yet they are one. Worship, Word and works of the Holy Spirit, though they look different are equally important in the house of God. They ultimately lead people to salvation and spiritual growth. Let me explain: Worship to the Father prepares the ground for the Word which is the seed. Christ is the seed that is sown in the ground (i.e heart) and the Holy Spirit, the Latter Rain, brings the Word of God to sprout out as signs and wonders. All three (WWW – worship, word and the works of the Holy Spirit) are important at the Ru-ah Revival Church.

 

Can you name some of your favorite worship leaders?

 

I like Don Moen, Michael W Smith, Ron Kenoly and Darlene Zschech. In Tamil Nadu, I have been inspired by the songs of Father Berchmans, Pastor Paul Thangiah, Rev. Jacob (Tiruchy) and Bro. Isaac Joe.

 

How do you intend to reach the youth of today?

 

You see youngsters like sports and music and are really into it. It’s difficult to preach the Gospel through sports but you can make use of music to do the same. After all, who doesn’t like good music? The problem is today’s youth are more attracted to film songs and rock music. Did you know music originally belonged to God? Satan was a worshipper in heaven and all the stuff he knew he learned it there. What you listen to in the secular music is simply stolen stuff. If plagiarized music is so captivating, imagine how the original would sound? India has the most number of young people in the world. If I am right, the youth comprise over 60% of the total population. We need to bring them to the Lord. To make it happen, we need to be relevant to today’s Pepsi-guzzling, MTV-viewing generation. The Bible asks us to take the Gospel to all creatures on earth. We need to take the Gospel to the young people.

 

How many fulltime ministers serve in your ministry? How many branch churches do you have?

 

We have 25 fulltime staff working in the ministry office and almost 50 servants of God assisting me as assistant pastors, elders, deacons and in the children’s, youth and adult ministries. We have branch churches in Ooty and Pollachi in Tamil Nadu. By the grace of God, from being an underground church we have moved into a new facility in Kodambakkam.

 

Ru-ah Church now functions out of No.155, Arcot Road (next to old Ram theatre), Kodambakkam, Chennai 24. Phone: 044-2372 8822. Website: www.ruah.in 

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