What Really Matters Is . . . . The Gospel!
- By Dr. Chris Gnanakan
- Published 10/3/2010
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.
‘Sorry to hear about what happened!’ When I hear this, I think of Paul writing to the Philippians. Two years in jail, a long sea voyage as prisoner, now two years in bonds again! This pioneer’s prayers seem unheard and his potential untapped. We would be filled with resentment, regret and remorse. But listen to him: ‘I therein do rejoice… and will rejoice’ (1:18). How could he have this bold, positive attitude?!
Notice how central the Gospel was in Paul’s life! He was so thankful for people’s participation in the Gospel through prayer and financial support (1:5). He realized he was there for the confirmation of the Gospel (7). So, whatever his circumstance his main concern was the advancement of the Gospel (12). He was acutely aware of his divine appointment for the defense of the Gospel (16) and was not ashamed of… contending for the Gospel (20). He was keen that Christians work side by side in the proclamation of and the faith of the Gospel. Above all, no matter what happens, they were to live a life worthy of the Gospel (27). Amidst evangelical scandals and persecution, we need Gospel-driven ministers like Paul to model its saving power!
When bewildered, stressed or disheartened I draw strength from Paul phrase: What does it matter? (18) and then I determine whatever happens (27), because things do happen… disappointments even death! At any rate, we must discern and demonstrate: A) what is best (10) i.e. excellent or Christ-like; B) what is really important (18) viz. sharing Christ and C) what is truly worthy of the Gospel (27). It’s not what happens to me, but what happens to the Gospel because of me!
Dr. Chris Gnanakan