Highlights of SAGC 2007 - Mobilizing the Second Generation of South Asians
- By Wilson Matthews
- Published 10/6/2007
Wilson is the youth leader at International Punjabi Masihi Church in Vancouver, Canada. Everyone loves this radical preacher's passion for Christ and His Church. Wilson helped organize the South Asian Global Convention (SAGC 2004) under the leadership of Pastor Pritam Singh. He is as "hairy-as-a-yak," "spits-like-a-camel," and is a F.A.T. (Faithful, Available, and Teachable) Christian. Wilson, a Malayalee Christian holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Trinity Western University and his mission is to make Scripture relevant to today's generation. Famous quote: "Knock it off!"
By Pritam Singh Sandhu
“This day is sacred to our Lord.” Nehemiah 8:10b
The second international gathering of South Asian Christian youth, young adults, and ministry leaders from all around the world took place in London, United Kingdom from August 1st – 5th 2007 at the South Asian Global Convention 2007 (SAGC 2007). The theme chosen for this second Convention was "Thinking Globally, Working Locally” based on Acts 1:8
In July of 2001, God laid a vision in the hearts of various leaders of the South Asian diaspora for a new and relevant work aimed at the present and next generation of young South Asians. With this goal in mind, a core group was formed of South Asian ministry leaders and advisory council members from different countries and denominations. These individuals joined their hearts in fervent prayer for God's wisdom and creativity to turn this vision into a reality. And so was born South Asian Connection and plans for the first South Asian Global Convention.
The objectives of SAGC 2007 were five fold: 1) to celebrate in worship our eternal God, 2) to challenge Christian South Asian youth and young adults to embrace the Great Commission, 3) to equip Christian South Asian youth and young adults to work locally but to think globally in evangelism, 4) to communicate ideas, strategies and resources, and 5) to provide opportunities for relationship building and networking.
There were fifteen different missions organizations and specific South Asian youth ministries represented at SAGC 2007 through informative Exhibit Booths. Each generously made their resources available to interested delegates. Some of these include International Justice Mission, Parivar International, Reaching Indians Ministry International, Youth With A Mission, InterServe and Bollywood Network Ministry.
The SAGC 2007 experience was further enhanced through the "Discover London Tour!"-a half-day sightseeing tour of the major tourist sites of London City including walking tours of Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. At Trafalgar Square, the SAGC 2007 participants worshipped the Lord in the open public square with songs, prayers and prophetic declarations. It was a memorable experience as SAGC blessed London, the United Kingdom and Europe.
SAGC 2007 was experienced by 160 registered delegates and invited guests between the ages of 16 and 40, varying from students to young urban professionals and ministry leaders, representing over fifteen different denominations. The whole convention was not opened to the public, except for the Sunday afternoon session which was open to the public who thoroughly enjoyed the program.
The South Asian Diaspora is spread out in many parts of the world thus making SAGC 2007 a truly global experience. Delegates came from 17 different nations including Canada, Australia, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bolivia, Thailand, Germany, Singapore, Scotland, United Kingdom and the United States. The following South Asian language groups were also represented: Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalee, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Telegu, Tamil, Sinhalese, Bengali and Urdu. SAGC 2007 brought socio-cultural and spiritual unity amidst a great diversity of the South Asian Diaspora to the glory of God.
SAGC 2007 was conducted entirely in the English language with the theme song “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong. The program consisted of seven Plenary Sessions, thirty-two Seminars, four interview sessions, seven different worship bands, a talent night and ten video presentations of God’s work locally and globally among the South Asian Diaspora.
The keynote speaker for the evening plenary sessions were Ram Gidoomal - the Chairman of South Asian Concern (UK), Pall Singh – Director of East-West Ministry Trust (UK), and Johnson Charles – Lead Pastor of Gateway International Church (Canada). There were also four morning keynote speakers: G.I. Ebenezer - the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Christian Fellowship (UK), Bhaktaur Basra – Pastor of All Nations Church (UK), Sungeeta Jain – Founder of The Orphanage Project (USA, India) and Richard William – Founder of HistoryMaker International (Singapore).
Each of the speakers delivered relevant and challenging messages inspiring many of the delegates towards becoming visionary, mission-focused leaders, as they purpose in their hearts to serve their God in this generation.
A large number of young people made public and private commitments to serve God's purposes locally and globally wherever God may take them. Our prayer is that God will birth many more visions, dreams and strategies transforming each SAGC 2007 delegate into world-changers and history-makers for the South Asian community and beyond.
It was unanimously expressed that SAGC 2007 was a blessing from God with inspiring examples to follow, practical ideas to implement, and lasting friendships to develop. Delegates were equally impressed with the organization of SAGC 2007. The organizers are commended for their spirit of professionalism and excellence. Hearts were full of gratitude towards all the pastors, mission agency leaders and brothers and sisters in the worldwide community, who have graciously contributed to see the gospel presented to the South Asian community in a culturally-relevant, Bible-based and Spirit-led way.
The major monetary contributors for SAGC 2007 were Sikh and Hindu friends who gave the bulk of finances to sponsor and undertake the costs of holding a first rate convention. May the Lord bless these Sikh and Hindu partners with favor, finances and a faith revelation of who Jesus is. To those Christian marketplace professionals and individuals who supported SAGC 2007, we extend our gratitude to you. We would also like to record that not a single South Asian church financially supported SAGC 2007.
We put on record our deepest gratitude and thanks to Samuel Boot, the UK SAGC 2007 Coordinator and his London Organizing team for hosting SAGC 2007 in London, UK. They did a phenomenal job of owning the vision of SAGC and going the extra mile to host a quality convention.
Future plans for South Asian Connection include holding local, city-wide or country-wide, South Asian events for youth and young adults in 2008 in the delegates country of origin, followed by an International SAGC 2009 in SINGAPORE.
Please click on the tab menu of Conferences at www.SouthAsianConnection.com to SAGC 2007 London.
Feedback of SAGC 2007, London, UK
“My being at SAGC was not entirely by accident. I believe it is God-incident. SAGC has definitely been a landmark in my spirtual journey (I really mean what every word I say). I am not saying this to sound nice. Few conferences change the way you think and envision a future. SAGC has definitely changed the way I think about missions and how I envision to fulfill God's calling to engage in cultural apologetics. I now think GLOCAL and that's a huge thrust forward. SAGC has made me re-vision my ministry and the SAGC experience has definitely re-energized me for the future. Thanks SAGC, you never know what you have done.”
- Sam Thambusamy. Creative Head - Wisdomtree, Chennai, India.
“SAGC 2007 London was a momentous event. The speakers sparked a powerful vision on having a global impact when Christians work together. Meeting kingdom-minded believers from around the world and hearing the testimonies of God's faithfulness in lives of fellow South Asian Christians was riveting. I'll never forget this event for the rest of my life.”
- Wilson Mathews. Youth Leader, Vancouver, Canada.
"SAGC 2007 was an eye opening experience for me. I was convinced by the end of the convention that God is calling each one of us to be in mission, no matter where you are and what you do. I met some of the boldest people that took a stand for Jesus and I could definitely feel the presence of God. It's amazing to see what He's doing around the world!"
- Sarika Tharakan. Human Resources Manager, Portland, Oregon USA.
“The best part of SAGC 2007 was to find out during the video presentations, interview sessions and speaker’s messages what South Asian Christians were doing to accomplish the Great Commission and Great Commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ. SAGC 2007 highlighted the need for evangelism and discipleship among the South Asian diaspora as this has grown exponentially in all parts of the world.”
- Dr. Balbir Kaur Chaal, Molecular Biologist, Scotland.
“The SAGC conference was an exciting time for me to meet and network with Christian South Asians and those who have a heart for ministry to South Asians in their community. It was truly inspiring to meet many young people from all over the world with the same goal to reach out to those originating from the South Asian diaspora. During the conference, the Lord spoke to me to work with the youth and young adults in our church and community and encouraged me to move in that direction of ministry. Once I reached home, we organized some outreach meetings and so far we've had two successful meetings, with several future meetings planned!”
- Cherry Sheena. Homemaker, Surrey, Canada.
“There were some really neat opportunities to network with other delegates working with South Asians around the world. Along with the diversity of worship, the gathering was truly an awesome opportunity to share resources, and importantly to pray for various ministries. I was particularly impressed by the contributions made towards research and publications in South Asian ministries in Europe, Asia and America.”
- Hash Gudka, Student Services Coordinator and Lecturer, Nairobi International School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya.
“I thank God for giving me the privilege to attend SAGC 2007 against all odds of finances, UK entry visa, work and responsibilities of ministry. I learned a lot about global team work, unity in the spirit, godly humility, love and concern for each other and the importance of upholding each other in prayer. The ties of friendships and commonality of ministry focus has caused me to commit to pray for and to connect with SAGC in the present move of God in our generation towards the South Asian people.”
- Krupa Emmanuel, Church Planter/ Social Worker Director, Mumbai, India
“Every single seminar benefited myself and my ministry tremendously. I’ve gained direction and vision for my service to God through practical guidance and a touch from the Holy Spirit. It was inspiring to meet awesome genuine people of God. I am spiritually blessed and revived to do more for His Kingdom.”
I would like to do short-term mission work and be involved in marketplace ministry. The speakers and resources made available in this area was awesome. So much is being done in different ways by different individuals and organizations. We should pull our resources together for the Kingdom and network locally and globally. I have finally felt that I have a direction to go into. I have full of zeal and passion to do missions.
– United Kingdom
“The plenary sessions and workshops were really inspiring. Great for networking and meeting new people! I also learnt a lot from the seminars. I was especially touched by the presentations about South Asians in Europe and the real need of the hour.”
“Informal times of fellowship and exchange of stories was excellent. Networking with like-minded South Asians believers globally has brought me to a new level in my Christian life and ministry. I learned about the global presence of South Asians and what they are doing to impact society. I need to pray more to see exactly how God wants to use me. This convention has really inspired me to be radical and cutting for Jesus, and not just carry on church as usual.”
“SAGC 2007 - the whole thing was 100% first class.”
- Tom Ward, International Sindhi Partnership, United Kingdom
Last word from Rev. Dr. TV Thomas, Advisor, SAGC 2007 and
Co-Chair International Network of South Asian Diaspora Leaders (INSADL)
“I believe it is kairos time for young South Asian Christian leaders of the Diaspora to intentionally take their place in God’s mission. It is our sincere prayer that each of you will leave SAGC 2007 spiritually refreshed, your vision focused and your network expanded to be a difference-making pebble in the Lord’s mighty hand.”
For more information regarding South Asian Connection and future events, you are encouraged to visit www.SouthAsianConnection.com. To view the SAGC 2007 slideshow and videos capturing the highlights and reflections of this historic event, click here
Click also onto Facebook or Mr.Bilson blogspot http://mrbilson.blogspot.com/ to view hundreds of photos and commentary of SAGC 2007
"Remember us for this, O our God, and do not blot out what we have so faithfully done for the house of our God and its services. Remember us with favor, O my God". Nehemiah 13:14, 31b
Glory to God in the Highest for SAGC 2007.