‘Home’ & Missions
- By Dr. Chris Gnanakan
- Published 08/11/2010
Dr. Chris Gnanakan
Revd. Dr. Chris Gnanakan, DMin, PhD. is the Director of Training for Outreach To Asia Nationals. OTAN serves in over nine countries in Asia where traditional missions is ‘restricted’, by equipping and empowering national, pastoral leaders to fulfil the great commission.
Chris, a native of Bangalore, worked as an electrician in MICO factory for 3 years before theological studies at the Word of Life Bible Institute and School of Youth Mission (New York). He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Tennessee Temple University and went on to do a Master’s in Divinity at Temple Baptist Seminary that he completed at the Asia Graduate School of Theology.
Chris was a youth pastor and ordained at Emmanuel Baptist Church. In 1990 he founded Banaswadi Bible Church where he was the pastor-teacher for over 10 years. He is known as a Youth, Bible & Mission conference speaker and for his radio broadcast with FEBA (Transforming Truth) and TWR (Thru the Bible). His passion is for evangelism, whole-life discipleship, mentoring, training leaders & empowering the Church in Mission.
Chris lectures on and produces curriculum for ‘Biblical Mandate for Evangelism’ at the Haggai Institute for Leadership Development (since 1999 at Maui & Singapore). As an evangelical, he has served as a consultant with the Commission on World Mission & Evangelism on-site London, Switzerland, Athens, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Chile and with Urban Missions in Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines and China.
During his stay and PhD research in the UK, Chris was a Teaching Assistance at the University of Leeds in the department of Theology & Religious Studies and also served as a minister at the South Parade Baptist Church, where he developed outreach & care cells. Chris teaches ‘Clinical Pastoral Education’ at the Bangalore Baptist Hospital. He is chairman for the Christian Forum for Child Development & Samaritan Purse’s regional Prescription for Hope program
Since 1995, Chris joined SAIACS as Professor and HoD of Pastoral Theology & Counseling and Dean of Chapel. Here, for 13 years, he trained leaders for ministry and mission in India’s globalising context and is passionate doing ”Evangelism through Local Churches”. He is now appointed to serve as the Director of Training for OTAN (Outreach To Asia Nationals) from June 2009.
Chris is happily married to Dorothy, an IT software educator, and they have two daughters Alethea and Charis. Chris enjoys memorising poems on the Bible and football.
Driving to work, I listened to a song that urged us to ‘live like we are dying’. The truth of that verse hit me when I received news that my father – 84 years old in India and in good health – suddenly passed away. Dad knew the Lord, so his death wasn’t a dead-end but a doorway to a better life. Thanks to all who sympathized with me at my dad’s home-going. We are not just ‘growing old’, but ‘going nearer home’! With this deep sense of urgency, obligation yet gratitude and hope, let me share what God did for us last month:
Hope for Haiti: They call it ‘the world’s worst natural disaster!’ Jan 12th, Haiti’s capital was demolished by an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude instantly killing over 290,000 and leaving a quarter of a million homeless. Maine Haitian Ministries team went to those northern rural regions where people had fled, to re-build lives through medical and educational programs. It was my privilege to Biblically orient the group on cross-cultural missions. Our nurses treated patients at the Labrivere and La Soudrey clinics, teachers equipped school staff in Terrier Rouge and we trained 102 pastors in ‘Crisis Counseling’. A major breakthrough was the partnership initiated between Dr Jules, the University President, Pastor Saintil, Pastor of New Bethlehem Church and Ms. Pam Brochure, our new director. One of the leaders we trained called Jan 12th – ‘the Birthday of a New Haiti’. Now, that’s Hope!
Woman @ Work: They were the 1st preachers of the Gospel while the men hid in the upper room, and the catalyst for social change in Asian homes – women! Roxann Godwin, the wife of OTAN’s founder, assembled 7 ladies for a curriculum and training workshop at our head office in Winchester, VA. Dorothy and I relished our time as we discussed the need, challenges and way forward for a 3-year program for ministry to women. Pray for our ladies as they head into Nepal to expedite this, and for our next workshop on ‘Teaching Methods’.
Cherryfield Globalized! Returning to the glocality of missions, where the global and local inform/shape the other, I was in Cherryfield – ‘the Blueberry Capital of the World’. What an education on how my favorite fruit for pie was pollinated and farmed. I learnt how lobster traps are set and… Okay, I was also there for a Church Mission’s conference at Milbridge and lead a seminar for 12 pastors in Downeast, Maine. As we discussed, had Q&A time, heard stories of God at work in Asia, Macedonia, Haiti… you could sense these ‘neglected’ ministers move from the fringe to be a fulcrum for home mission in their ‘neck of the woods’!
New York, NY: A city so nice, they named it twice! Invited to speak on Children of Divorce at St. John’s Univ. Queens, NY, it was an honor to meet several South Asian professionals. This iCare consultation was held to identify mental health and counseling needs and had the theme: Care As Mission. I will be happy to email you a copy of my paper, which reveals the desperate need to take seriously our children’s development and our ministry to them at home. For what does it profit a missionary if he wins the whole world yet looses his own children?! Pray for my health and mission trips next month to the Philippines, Vietnam & Cambodia. Until we are Home!
– Chris Gnanakan